The City of Sterling Heights and the City of Utica are proud to announce a $4.5 million grant the communities recently received from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a nine-mile restoration project along the Clinton River, known as the Clinton River Corridor Habitat Restoration Project. The $4.5 million grant includes no local match.
According to the grant agreement from the EPA, the project will improve habitat along the designated nine-mile section of the Clinton River upstream from its confluence with the Red Run Drain. Much of the planned work will be done in partnership with the Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC). The engineering firm Hubbell, Roth & Clark will work as the engineering consultant for the project.
“Sterling Heights will use this EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to improve riparian and in-stream habitat in the Clinton River Area of Concern,” said U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman. “This grant will be used to control invasive species on 20 acres along the river and to plant native vegetation in those areas.”
The scope of the Clinton River Corridor Habitat Restoration Project will improve habitat diversity, accommodate a wide range of river flows, and resolve sedimentation, incision, and bank erosion issues impairing habitat by addressing in-stream, riparian, and wetland features. Actions will include channel enhancements, woody debris management, bank stabilization, multi-stage channel development, invasive species control and native species planting.
The stream improvements will undoubtedly improve recreation along the Clinton River, which aligns with the City of Sterling Heights’ placemaking and recreation goals as seen in its 2030 Visioning plan. Following the restoration of the river, Sterling Heights plans to continue to pursue additional development opportunities for canoeing and kayaking, hike and bike trails, zip lining, urban camping and a dog park — all to be anchored around the Clinton River.
“The Clinton River is a wonderful natural asset for the City of Sterling Heights, and this incredible $4.5 million grant will help us to further capitalize on placemaking and recreation opportunities within our city,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the EPA, the City of Utica, the Clinton River Watershed Council and others to see this project through its completion. When finished, this project will enormously benefit not just our environment, but also the residents of this region by increasing access to our natural resources and potential new community gathering places.”
“Having worked in Utica for a better part of three decades, I know the Clinton River is our focal point and most important phenomenon,” said City of Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan. “We believe this grant and the wonderful partnerships will greatly enhance our scenic beauty, recreation and fish habitats. This is what being on plant earth is all about.”
“The EPA is providing $20 million in funding for 11 projects throughout the watershed,” said Anne Vaara, Executive Director of the Clinton River Watershed Council. “Sterling Heights and Utica received $4.5 million in funding for nine miles of restoration on the Clinton River. That is the largest section of river that is being restored, so this project is extremely critical for restoring our fish and wildlife habitat. Sterling Heights and Utica have been great watershed partners and we look forward to working with their team of expert consultants to advance the ecological restoration of our watershed. The Clinton River Watershed Council will be assisting in the monitoring and public education portion of this project.”
In an effort to further improve the Clinton River region of the city, Sterling Heights will also be working with “WaterTowns,” an initiative that uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage storm water and create healthier urban environments. Projects may include changing grassy areas to wildflower gardens, installing rain gardens and using porous pavement in parking lots. This initiative, led by the Clinton River Watershed Council in partnership with Lawrence Technological University, is a result of funding the CRWC received to help local municipalities capitalize on the place making potential of the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.
For more information and a YouTube video explaining the benefits of the Clinton River Restoration Project, go to www.sterling-heights.net/crhabitat. Further questions regarding the grant and the project can be directed to the City of Sterling Heights’ Community Relations Department at (586) 446-2470.