City gets grant for river cleanup

Alex Doty • Apr 1, 2017 at 3:00 PM

The Great Lakes Commission and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Friday that Grand Haven is one of eight communities selected to receive funds to help with waterway cleanup.

The city’s seventh annual Ottawa County Grand River Cleanup was selected to receive $3,000 in grant funding from the commission and state agency, which announced nearly $21,000 in grants to fund river, stream and creek clean-up events across the state.

“We unfortunately catch a lot of things that come down the river,” said Vester Davis, assistant to the city manager.

The annual event brings in hundreds of volunteers who meet on Harbor Island and then head out to remove debris and refuse in and around the shores of the lower Grand River.

“It’s pretty much a day of it,” Davis said of the clean-up efforts.

Past Grand River Cleanup events have removed as much as 12 tons of trash from in and around the river.

“We’re trying to do pretty much the same thing (this year),” said Davis, who noted that there’s a desire to also expand the event’s presence over to the east side of town and the parks over there.

Michigan’s Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program provides $500 to $5,000 in grants to clean and improve the state’s waters. Local governments often partner with non-profit organizations or other volunteer groups for the cleanups, which include removal of trash and other debris from streams and stream banks. Removal of natural materials like fallen trees, branches and rocks is not allowed to ensure the continued health of the waterway.

The grant program began in 1998 and is funded by the sale of the state’s water quality protection license plates. Grants are administered by the Great Lakes Commission, under contract with the MDEQ. These grants help foster local stewardship and a sense of community while protecting Michigan’s waters.

The grant will be on the agenda for City Council’s April 10 meeting for approval, Davis said.

Davis noted that the funds are used to support the event via supplies and other needed items.

“There are some limitations to what you can purchase, but it’s all (in the grant agreement),” he said.

Other organizations and communities selected to receive grant funds in 2017 include:

— Macomb County Public Works Office, $4,917

— Huron River Watershed Council, $4,310

— Grand Traverse Conservation District, $2,050

— Shiawassee County Health Department, $1,900

— St. Joseph County Conservation District, $1,775

— Barry Conservation District, $1,525

— Calhoun Conservation District, $1,210

For more information, visit www.glc.org/work/VRSCCP.

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