The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region celebrated Earth Day on April 22 by announcing two grants from its Environmental Sustainability Partnership grant program totaling nearly $50,000 to improve water quality in the lower Fox River and build an amphitheater at Waupaca’s Eco Park.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance received $23,900 to develop a database to keep track of what works in reducing the runoff of phosphorus and suspended solids into Plum-Kankapot Creek near Kaukauna. The Fox River tributary was previously identified as the largest contributor of agricultural runoff in the lower Fox watershed. The money will be used to hire a consultant to guide Fox-Wolf in creating the database, which it will share with area county soil conservation officials. The information will contribute toward research work for a major Great Lakes Regional Initiative grant Fox-Wolf received to find ways for wastewater treatment plants to meet tougher pollution regulations, possibly including by paying farmers to engage in conservation practices that can achieve better results at lower cost than technical improvements at the treatment plants. Fox-Wolf is partnering with Outagamie, Calumet, Winnebago and Brown counties.
“This innovative data-storing system will increase the likelihood for future (runoff) reductions in the Lower Fox River watershed and the opportunity to impact nearly 500,000 people living in this watershed,” Jessica Schultz, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance executive director, said.
CAP Services received the maximum $25,000 grant for construction of an amphitheater in the Eco Park on the city’s southeast side. Its partners are the City of Waupaca and Waupaca Foundry.
The 250-seat natural amphitheater will be built using locally sourced, natural materials by teens enrolled in the nonprofit’s Fresh Start program. The program offers an alternative route to a high school degree for students who have been in trouble at school or with the law. As many as 6,000 students per year from Waupaca schools will hear environmental presentations there, and it will be available for other public uses.
“With the help of this grant, CAP Services Fresh Start participants will have opportunities to learn about environmentally sustainable practices related to constructing and using a natural amphitheater,” Mary Patoka, president/CEO of CAP Services said.
The Environmental Sustainability grants come from unrestricted endowment funds donors have established to address community needs as determined by the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors.