Yesterday morning in Aurora, as storm clouds threatened overhead, the Ill. Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) formally launched the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program for Stormwater Management (IGIG) and made the Request for Proposals available online.
With an initial allocation of $5 million, IGIG will spur a range of innovative projects throughout the state, from separation of combined sewers to installation of permeable paving. Streambank restoration, rainwater harvesting systems, pocket wetlands… the list of eligible project types goes on and on. Perhaps as significantly, IEPA will be evaluating applications against criteria beyond stormwater management. For instance, if the project reduces potable water consumption or heat island effects, that’s good. If the project is consistent with a local comprehensive plan or a regional water supply plan, even better. The use of this fund to reward coordination of stormwater management with other policy goals, even some typically managed by other state agencies (e.g. water supply issues have historically been the domain of Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources), is really great to see.
Eligible applicants range from units to government to nonprofits, and even individuals and private businesses can apply for funding. At the end of the day, rain falls where it wants, and stormwater management policy needs to respond in a similarly decentralized way.