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EGLE and Benton Harbor community highlight $1.05 million EPA grant for Ox Creek green infrastructure

On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will join Benton Harbor’s “All Things Wellness Celebration” to highlight a $1,059,022 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant, which will fund stormwater projects in the city’s Ox Creek watershed.

“The problem of excessive stormwater entering the Ox Creek watershed and, ultimately, the Great Lakes has detracted from the health and vitality of the watershed for too long,” said EPA Region 5 administrator and Great Lakes National Program manager Debra Shore. “Through this grant, made possible by the Investing in America agenda, EPA is working with our partners to protect and restore the Great Lakes, while uplifting the communities that call this region home.”

The grant will provide funding for two projects, both of which will improve stormwater management in critical areas of the Ox Creek watershed and help foster climate resiliency. For the first project, a contractor will install green infrastructure to capture and treat stormwater in Hall Park. A new parking area will also be added to improve access to Hall Park and Ox Creek. These parking spaces will be surrounded by vegetated retention areas which will catch and filter stormwater runoff. The second project will create rain gardens for stormwater retention in Benton Charter Township, which will reduce urban runoff and improve water quality in Ox Creek. EGLE will sub-award a grant to the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC), one of 14 planning and development organizations created by the State of Michigan in 1968. SWMPC serves Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties and will administer the projects.

“The EGLE team has enjoyed collaborating with the city, EPA, and many local partners. We are excited about the on-the-ground work in the city that will be funded by the GLRI,” said EGLE Director Phil Roos. “This is happening through the efforts of a lot of people at the local, regional, state, and federal levels, and those efforts are going to continue.”

“The City of Benton Harbor is very pleased to have EGLE, EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Township Supervisor Cathy Yates, and many other partners join us for our wellness celebration,” said Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “Revitalization of Hall Park and Ox Creek is extremely important to city and township residents, and the two projects will contribute to the wellness of residents in a number of ways, including making Hall Park more accessible to those residents and improving the water quality of Ox Creek.” 

Funding for the projects is provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which directed $1 billion toward the GLRI.

Event details:

  • When: Saturday, Sept. 30
  • Time: Announcement noon-12:30 p.m., Wellness Celebration 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Location: Hall Park, Benton Harbor, Michigan. Parking is along Highland Avenue or behind the Bobo Brazil Armory Building, 472 Cass Street, Benton Harbor. 

The GLRI accelerates efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world – the Great Lakes. Since 2010, the multi-agency GLRI has provided funding to 16 federal organizations to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. Learn more about the GLRI.

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