News Release

US Forest Service Spurs Environmental Investments in Great Lakes Region

November 28, 2011 -

The U.S. Forest Service announced today it will award 22 grants to organizations in seven states to help restore urban and community forests, reduce toxic substances and prevent emerald ash borer as part of the multi-year, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

"Strong land management practices keep the Great Lakes great," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This funding will help communities from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin make investments that will protect and preserve these American treasures."

During the past two years, more than $10 million have been distributed by the initiative to clean up toxic waste, combat invasive species, protect watersheds from polluted run-off, restore wetlands and other habitats, and track progress with strategic partners. This year’s grants total $3.7 million, and were awarded to organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.

The initiative’s overall goals are to improve water quality and ecosystems. Examples of funded projects include:

  • A toxic substance removal project to restore fish and wildlife habitat in the industrial heartland of the Detroit metropolitan area.
  • Removal of toxins from a 24-acre site in the Milwaukee estuary. The site will be cleaned up and transformed into part of Wisconsin’s trail system.
  • The use of remote sensing to identify areas to increase tree canopy and provide wildlife habitat.
  • Storm water projects in Chicago and Green Bay.
  • Projects to restore trees lost to the emerald ash borer throughout the Midwest.

Here is a state-by-state summary of the 22 projects awarded funding in 2011: 


  • Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources for the expansion of First Down for Trees Program: $31,627
  • City of Milwaukee to assess the city’s urban forest: $100,000:
  • Menomonee Valley Partners for stormwater treatment: $74,875
  • Landen Consulting Turnkey Green Infrastructure project: $220,000
  • Door County SWC Dept. for non-native invasive plant species control: $24,500
  • Southeast Wisconsin for non-native invasive plant species control: $48,871


  • Genesee Conservation District for restoration of Flint’s urban forest and street trees: $60,658
  • Downriver Community Conference for forest restoration at the Detroit Refuge Gateway: $113,700
  • Greening of Detroit for the city’s model project using trees to clean up toxins in soil and water: $473,020
  • Delta Institute for its project to use hybrid poplar tree farms to reduce toxics in the environment: $203,733
  • City of Grand Rapids for emerald ash borer recovery project: $210,000
  • Calhoun Conservation District for forest restoration: $99,960
  • Alliance of Rouge Communities to restore trees in the urban watershed: $374,980


  • Openlands for habitat tree planting in Chicago parks: $50,000
  • Metropolitan Mayors Caucus for Illinois urban forest restoration projects: $500,000
  • City of Chicago to help restore urban forests impacted by the emerald ash borer: $72,020


  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources to help clean up brownfields in Toledo: $498,276
  • Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to restore forest habitats impacted by the emerald ash borer: $73,040


  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources for its use of existing urban forestry tools: $50,000

New York:

  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to reforest parts of Riverbend and Griffon Park:$397,396
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation to help control non-native invasive plant species: $24,500


  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to help control non-native invasive plant species: $48,900