CLINTON — Iowa American Water has announced that it is now accepting applications for its 2018 Environmental Grant Program to support innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds and community drinking water supplies.

The program is designed to support diverse types of activities, such as watershed cleanups, reforestation efforts, biodiversity projects, streamside buffer restoration projects, wellhead protection initiatives and hazardous waste collection efforts.

"Our Environmental Grant Program has been very successful in helping local organizations carry out meaningful, sustainable initiatives that benefit our watersheds,” said Randy Moore, president of Iowa American Water, "We encourage municipalities, schools, environmental organizations and civic groups to apply for a grant to support projects that will benefit a watershed in their community."

To qualify, proposed projects must be located in an Iowa American Water service area, which includes Bettendorf, Blue Grass, Clinton, Davenport, LeClaire, Dixon, Panorama Park and Riverdale, Iowa and:

– address a source water or watershed protection need in the community.

– be completed between May 1, 2018 and Nov. 30, 2018.

– be a new or innovative program for the community, or serve as a significant expansion to an existing program.

– be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations.

– provide evidence of sustainability (continued existence after the Iowa American Water grant monies are utilized).

Grant awards will be judged on the program’s innovation for the community, the partnership with other organizations and program sustainability.

Grant information and application forms can be found online at www.iowaamwater.com. Applications should be postmarked by March 26 and mailed to Lisa Reisen, external affairs manager at Iowa American Water, 5201 Grand Ave., Davenport, IA 52807. Applications can also be emailed to Lisa.Reisen@amwater.com.

In 2017, Iowa American Water issued five grants totaling almost $8,500 as follows:

– The city of Davenport Parks & Recreation Department was awarded $2,500 for its Water Quality Improvement Project in VanderVeer Botanical Park’s Lagoon. The project will decrease the level of nitrates, nitrites and phosphates with the installation of BioHaven floating islands.

– The Scott Community College Environmental Club was awarded $2,000 for its Crow Creek Watershed Protection and Biodiversity Project. The project will restore 6 acres of tallgrass prairie in the Crow Creek drainage basin. Erosion and runoff to the creek will be reduced resulting in better water quality. Biodiversity will be increased on the site as native species of grasses and forbs will be restored.

– Nahant Marsh Education Center was awarded $1,875 for its Sedge Meadow Restoration and Enhancement project, Phase II. Nahant Marsh staff and volunteers will expand prairie and sedge meadow restoration efforts to include an additional 8 acres for a total of 15.5 acres. Success will be measured by reducing invasive species and increasing native plants and animals.

– River Action, Inc. was awarded a $1,200 grant for its Retain the Rain Interactive Display project. The project will update an interactive Retain the Rain kiosk to increase kiosk visibility and usership. The kiosk will be upgraded from a 250-pound unit to a light 55-pound unit with a touchscreen display.

– Prince of Peace Catholic School A.P. Environment Class in Clinton was awarded $850 for its Watershed Restoration Project. Students have begun a labor-intensive restoration of a small marsh, invaded by Phragmites reeds. Over the next decade, the class will continue removing this invasive plant and publicize progress in restoring the watershed and encouraging other landowners' restoration efforts.

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