Latest Recipients of Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund Announced

Grant funding from Nestlé Waters North America benefits the Muskegon River Watershed

Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), in partnership with Fremont Area Community Foundation (FACF), is pleased to announce the most recent recipients of grants awarded through the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund (IMESF). The IMESF supports the long-term sustainability of the Muskegon River and its ecosystems by funding environmental conservation projects and programs throughout the watershed.

The recipients selected for 2019 grants include: the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation; Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, a regional education service agency that serves the public schools of Muskegon and parts of Oceana, Ottawa, and Newaygo counties; Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, which is dedicated to the preservation, protection, restoration and sustainable use of the Muskegon River; and Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited. Trout Unlimited is America’s leading conservation organization for coldwater fisheries.

In 2019, NWNA committed an additional $2 million investment into the IMESF fund to support conservation projects for the next 20+ years. Since its inception in 2002, the IMESF has awarded nearly $625,000 in grants to a number of local organizations that are committed to improving, enhancing, protecting or preserving the Muskegon River. Funds from the IMESF support projects located anywhere along the 2,700-square-mile watershed stretching across 12 counties from near Houghton Lake to the City of Muskegon. Projects have included erosion control, rain gardens, restoration to creeks and nature areas, site clean-ups and improvements, among many others. All of this has been made possible over the past 17 years by IMESF grants.

“Nestlé Waters North America is committed to sustainably managing our natural resources, and the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is just one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to help protect the natural resources of Michigan,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Natural Resource Manager in the Midwest for Nestlé Waters. “We are honored to support Michigan organizations that share our collective goal to help preserve the Muskegon River Watershed, and look forward to seeing the results of the projects led by our 2019 grant recipients.”

The IMESF is managed by Fremont Area Community Foundation, located in Newaygo County within the heart of the Muskegon River Watershed. The Community Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for residents in the area by connecting community needs with the collective passion of families, businesses, and individuals.

“An endowed fund is similar to the watershed itself,” said Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO. “It is a renewable asset and resource and, if preserved carefully, will continue in perpetuity. Fremont Area Community Foundation is proud to work with Nestlé Waters to steward these funds and enhance the Muskegon River Watershed through dynamic projects carried out by organizations in our communities who know the watershed best.”

The 2019 IMESF grant recipients’ projects include:

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) Project Name: On the Water-Muskegon River This program will actively engage participants through water/shore clean-ups, habitat restoration, and fish and wildlife education. Through this vested partnership, MUCC will help citizens understand the value of the water that surrounds them, how it can be utilized for recreation, what the monetary and ecological value of the combined waterways are and why there is an overwhelming need to protect our water bodies. In turn, participants will leave the program with a greater understanding of access, recreational opportunities and importance, helping to greatly increase their sense of ownership of our natural resources. Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Project Name: The Power of Place: Connecting Students to the Muskegon River Watershed The students and teachers involved with this project will be working directly within the Muskegon River Watershed, promoting interest among students in researching, planning, designing, and the implementation of the stewardship action projects. There are two critical needs this project will address in relation to the environment and education: 1) funding to support teachers and schools in completing place-based stewardship projects; and 2) educational resources to support teachers working to implement the work and allowing students to take action. The five school districts involved are directly connected to the Muskegon River Watershed. Muskegon River Watershed Assembly Project Name: Comprehensive Approach to Dam Removal in the Muskegon River Watershed There are more than 100 small dams on tributary streams that flow into the Muskegon River Watershed, most of which provide no economic, recreational or ecological value. In most cases, they negatively impact the health of the watershed and restoration of natural habitats. The focus of the project is to create and pilot a general framework intended to guide dam removal projects throughout the Muskegon River Watershed in the future. The specific outcome of the project will be the selection of two dams recommended for removal following a deliberative process. Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited Project Name: Muskegon River Temperature Study The goal for this project is to obtain critical data to help regulatory agencies and other stakeholders better understand the Muskegon River’s coldwater resources. The data should lead to better-informed decisions about managing the coldwater resources throughout the
study’s geographic area that includes Croton Dam to the M-37 bridge, and ultimately undertake measures to improve conditions for coldwater species. “We congratulate the recipients of the IMESF grants and very much look forward to seeing the outcome of their projects, and the positive impact they will have on the Muskegon River Watershed,” said Roberts. “We would also like to thank Nestlé Waters North America for their generous contribution toward the IMESF and continued partnership, as well as their support of conservation efforts to maintain and enhance the beauty of our watershed and surrounding environment.”

The 2020 IMESF grant application period is June 1, 2020 – July 15, 2020. For more information and to apply for consideration for a 2020 IMESF grant, please visit: https://facommunityfoundation.org/grants/types-of-grants/ice-mountain/

About Nestlé Waters North America Nestlé Waters North America offers an unrivaled portfolio of bottled water brands for healthy hydration, including Ice Mountain® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Nestlé® Pure Life®, Perrier® and S. Pellegrino®. The company also owns and operates ReadyRefresh® by Nestlé®, a customizable water and beverage delivery service. Just Click and QuenchSM.

Based in Stamford, Connecticut with more than 7,000 associates in the United States, we manage natural resources for long-term sustainability, and we conserve nearly 21,000 acres of natural watershed area. We currently source water for our six regional spring water brands from 47 springs across North America. We are also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where we operate in the U.S. For more information, visit us at https://www.nestle-watersna.com/en and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @NestleWatersNA.

About Fremont Area Community Foundation Fremont Area Community Foundation exists to improve the quality of life for Newaygo County residents by connecting community needs with the passions of families, businesses, and individuals. Through strategic and responsive grant making, we support programs and organizations that create long-term solutions to the most pressing needs in our community. For more information about Fremont Area Community Foundation, call 231.924.5350 or visit facommunityfoundation.org.