Accomplishments: Northwest Indiana Urban Waters Location
- CommuniTree partners planted over 2,000 trees and engaged 500+ volunteers.
- More than 6,000 students and residents learned about local waterways and natural resources as part of partners’ watershed education programs, which featured paddling with Canoemobile.
- Local partners secured nearly $3 million in grants to advance green infrastructure and streambank stabilization projects that will restore urban waters and revitalize communities.
- The Septic System Coordinated Working Group helped train residents to be septic system ambassadors in their neighborhoods and began sampling for a microbial source tracking study.
- Urban Waters partners offered hands-on workshops on paddling safety, tree pruning, and tree care and helped to pilot the Master Watershed Steward Program.
2015 Most Successful Year for Grant Funding Yet
One of the Urban Waters priorities in northwest Indiana is to help partners find and apply for grants to fund water-related projects. 2015 was the most successful year since the partnership started in terms of securring grant funds. Seven grants totally approximately $575,000 were awarded to Urban Waters partners through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program, the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program, and several state and local funding programs.
First in the state! Michigan City, IN open first accessible boat launch
“Water is the great equalizer –if you’re someone with some kind of limitation, when you’re out on the water you’re the same height, eye-level as everyone else around you.” This was the resonating statement made at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Indiana’s first handicap accessible canoe and kayak launch in Michigan City’s Hansen Park on October 3, 2015. After nearly three years of planning, Michigan City, IN will now host paddlers of all abilities on a wilder portion of Trail Creek “you wouldn’t recognize was there” before the launch opened. Partnering groups, such as Team River Runner and the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, plan to use the launch give disabled veterans access to nature and healing.
Training Partner Organizations
The Partnership assisted various organizations with improving their grant- writing skills, which empowers organizations to advocate on their own behalf more effectively. Additionally, the Partnership has assisted organizations to develop robust, thoughtfully-conceived projects.
Jeorse Park Beach
A long-awaited project to reduce E. coli at Jeorse Park Beach in East Chicago is up and running, because the Partnerships’ combined resources which helped the project team move forward more quickly and efficiently, surmounting hurdles along the way that would have previously stalled the project. Likewise, an environmental assessment to update the National Park Service (NPS) management plan for the East Branch of the Little Calumet River is humming along smoothly thanks to the combined efforts of the Partnership.