NFWF Announces $1.7 Million in Conservation Grants in Southeast Michigan

 Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund partners announced $1.7 million in grant funding to six projects that will benefit communities and wildlife habitats in southeast Michigan. The grants awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will leverage $3.5 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $5.2 million. This program receives significant support through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). 

These investments will strengthen regional resilience and improve water quality for communities by installing green infrastructure, increasing urban tree canopy and restoring riparian and floodplain habitat. The projects selected for funding will provide critical habitat for wildlife such as monarch butterflies and migratory birds, while also creating and enhancing public access.

“The grants awarded today will create public greenspace and improve water quality and urban tree canopy. These investments will enhance the quality and connectivity of habitat and make it more accessible for people and increase community resilience by creating and improving green infrastructure,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.

“Leveraging Great Lakes Restoration Initiative dollars through the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund exemplifies the strength of public-private partnerships,” said Chris Korleski, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office. “We will continue to invest in Southeast Michigan communities, especially historically disadvantaged communities, delivering on-the-ground projects where they make a difference.” 

“The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is proud to team up with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support improved resiliency and stormwater capture in Southeast Michigan,” said JJ Tighe, Director, Parks & Trails Initiative. “This partnership is a great example of how collaboration between public and private partners can advance innovative solutions to address the many challenges posed by climate change.”

“Addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation is critical to Kresge’s mission,” said Yeou-Rong Jih, program officer for The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program. “The equitable deployment of green stormwater infrastructure and flood control go hand-in-hand with the need to advance climate-resilient approaches to urban stormwater and wastewater management in southeast Michigan. These investments will not only enhance natural public spaces, but they also address the deep needs to control stormwater runoff made worse by climate change.”

The projects supported by these grants will:

  • Add 4.4 million gallons of stormwater storage
  • Plant more than 60,300 trees for increased stormwater storage and habitat
  • Restore 65 acres through invasive species control 
  • Help restore the quality and connectivity of the region’s unique habitats 
  • Improve quality of life by increasing public access to natural areas and parks through five new access points

“We are honored to support these amazing organizations through an effective and collaborative funding effort,” said Dr. Neil Hawkins, president of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. “The diverse projects backed by the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund partners focus on protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, as well as help strengthen quality of life and pride of place in our local communities.”

Seven corporate, foundation and government funding partners have joined NFWF to support the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund:

  • Cleveland-Cliffs
  • Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The U.S. Forest Service

Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund 2023 grant recipients include:

  • National Wildlife Federation, to expand a network of green stormwater infrastructure demonstration sites aimed to increase pervious acreage and develop a self-sustaining network of engaged stewards through programing in Detroit. 
  • Reroot Pontiac, to repurpose urban lots for green stormwater infrastructure pocket forests and larger urban forest installations in Pontiac. 
  • Friends of the Rouge, to enhance existing public spaces in underserved communities using placemaking strategies including bioretention features to create habitat and control stormwater runoff, while building capacity for municipalities to expand green stormwater infrastructure in public spaces. 
  • Legacy Land Conservancy, to remove invasive species and prepare a management plan to restore habitat and open public access to the Kolon-Baki Nature Preserve, a rolling oak-hickory forested property featuring intermittent wetlands and remnant fen habitat. 
  • Monroe Public Schools, to restore critical ecosystem function of upland, wetland, and riparian areas and enhance visitor infrastructure and educational resources at Knabusch Math & Science Center at Lake Erie in Monroe. 
  • St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center, to support a network of churches in northwest Detroit to maintain existing bioretention practices, install new green stormwater infrastructure, and provide training programs. 

Since 2018, the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund has awarded 34 grants totaling more than $7.7 million, leveraging an additional $10.6 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation investment of more than $18.3 million.

For additional information on the grants awarded today, please click here, and to learn more about the Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund, please visit