Huge Demand to Fund Green Stormwater Projects from New IEPA Grant Program
This past September the Illinois EPA kicked off its first Green Infrastructure Grant Program, offering $5 million to pay for worthy stormwater green infrastructure projects. By the December 15, 2010 deadline, IEPA had received 155 applications seeking about $50 million in funding, ten times the amount offered!
The response to the IEPA offer from government entities, non-profit organizations and businesses was overwhelming and puts to rest any notion that there is only limited interest in using sustainable, green infrastructure stormwater practices to address flooding and water quality issues in Illinois.
“We’re thrilled at the volume and quality of requests from all over Illinois,” said Amy Walkenbach of IEPA. “This shows that communities are eager to pursue sustainable solutions given some help with financing”. The outpouring of interest was all the more impressive considering the 25% funding match required of the applicants in most cases.
This small investment in our water infrastructure will pay substantial benefits as successful applicants demonstrate how green infrastructure can create jobs and save money at the outset, and keep giving for years in the form of cleaner water, less flooding, energy savings, better air quality, more groundwater recharge, more open space for wildlife and recreation and higher property values, among other things.
The nature and extent of the benefits from green infrastructure make it a very attractive way to spend public funds, and with more time and experience, many more local and regional governments and organizations will be using green infrastructure strategies and practices whether or not there is grant money available.
As for more funding, “The number and quality of applications certainly helps the IEPA justify a next round of funding. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer the grant program again next year at a similar level of funding,” said Walkenbach.
For more information, please contact Hal Sprague, Senior Policy Associate, 773-269-4046, firstname.lastname@example.org.