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Local News

Macomb County Presented with $250,000 Grant From the Consumers Energy Foundation

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According to a county press release,

Officials from Macomb County and its Planning and Economic Development Department (MCPED) were presented with a $250,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation as part of the foundation’s Planet Awards initiative. The funds will assist the County’s Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership with efforts to double local tree canopy.

“This is one of the largest philanthropic grants ever awarded to the County, and that speaks to the vision and ability of our Planning and Economic Development team,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “I am so proud of that department and the continued work they are doing to increase native trees and plants in our community, and I am grateful to the Consumers Energy Foundation for recognizing us and our commitment to the environment through the generous Planet Awards.”

Macomb County Planning and Economic Development was the top recipient of the foundation’s 2022 Planet Award grant funding, which saw a collective $500,000 distributed to three different programs and initiatives making a significant impact on Michigan’s environment.

“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring Michigan has world-class natural resources. Our Planet Awards represent that commitment in action,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We’re excited to support Macomb County’s urban canopy project and confident it will significantly help preserve Michigan’s natural beauty.”

Using the grant dollars, MCPED’s Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership will plant 1,000 trees, 1,500 native shrubs and 40 acres of pollinator habitat, which will help the County capture and treat nearly 450,000 gallons of stormwater and more than 3,000 tons of carbon each year.

“Macomb’s tree cover is 26 percent, which falls short of the USDA recommendation of a 40 percent cover or better in urban areas,” said Gerard Santoro, program director for parks and natural resources at MCPED. “ This grant funding will help us make a significant impact and get us closer to reaching our goal of doubling our number of trees.”

Current plans for tree plantings include projects in Mount Clemens, Harrison Township and Clinton Township. Additional planting opportunities will be offered to Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Roseville, Eastpointe, Warren, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Utica and Center Line.

“The benefits of this work are very clear,” Santoro said. “Not only will we beautify local areas, we will enhance natural habitat for a variety of native species. And this results in better home values, lower energy costs, better health outcomes for residents and a stronger, more resilient environment that is well equipped to handle big weather events and other climate issues.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation has distributed $1.5 million to 10 organizations over the three years of the Planet Awards. In addition to the Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership, 2022 grantees include Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County, which will restore the ecological health of a two-mile section of the Fruit Belt Rail Corridor, and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority’s “Healing the Huron River Headwaters” project, which will restore the forested wetland and floodplain habitats that make up the headwater area of the Huron River.

Green Macomb was founded in 2016 by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development to support green infrastructure efforts that strengthen economic vitality, quality of life and environmental well-being. Program leaders have established diverse partnerships since its creation, working with local municipalities, businesses, private residents and nonprofit organizations to advance its mission. The foundation’s Planet Awards grant funding is an additional example of its innovative approach to enhancing the region’s land and water resources.