Great Lakes Protection Fund Grant

Great Lakes Region

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Corvias’ expertise in developing innovative public-private partnerships (P3s) that address stormwater challenges was recognized in the Great Lakes area. Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT), an environmental consulting group with strong relationships in EPA Region 5, asked Corvias to join their team in implementing an $886,000 grant program within the Great Lakes region. The grant is designed to identify, develop, structure, and implement P3 programs in the Great Lakes area that address stormwater compliance through green infrastructure (GI). The goal of this project is to attract large sums of private funding for GI that result in measurable reductions in peak flows, reduced combined sewer overflows (CSOs), nutrient loading reduction, and increased groundwater recharge. Specifically, this project seeks to execute large-scale ($50+ million), privately-financed programs, and distribute GI in two to four municipalities/regions within the Great Lakes. Through the significant scale of the proposed GI program, the project will facilitate a measurable improvement in the underlying stormwater quantity/quality with a sustainable, long-term solution via consistent and reliable funding sources.

The implementation team, along with Corvias and ECT, includes representatives from Encourage Capital (formerly EKO), an environmental equity fund that is attempting to identify “green” projects for some of their equity placements, Greenleaf Advisors, and Seth Brown, Principal and Founder, of Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC.

In Phase I of the program, which runs through 2016, the implementation team will assess interested communities in the Great Lakes area and identify communities that could best benefit from a P3 framework. Part of the focus of Phase I will be educating public officials on the advantages of a community-based public-private partnership (CBP3) model. The effort includes clarifying public policy objectives, undertaking financial analysis to determine the relative value of GI, and developing a financing structure to leverage private capital to expedite project delivery. The team will develop conceptual, large-scale P3 programs and develop performance metrics and ecological benefits that would contribute to the entities’ regulatory needs. From that effort, at least two communities will be identified as being capable of supporting a P3 structure for stormwater remediation.

During Phase II of the grant program, which runs through 2017, legal and partnership frameworks will be negotiated for at least two communities interested in partnering. Recognizing the early success demonstrated by these P3’s, the team anticipates strong interest in the region and the combined efforts of these communities will make the Great Lakes region a model for innovative, effective, and sustainable urban stormwater management.

Corvias’ main role in the program included assessing the P3 capability of the communities and determining ways communities can structure partnerships to provide long-term solution with multiple benefits including significant savings, increased local economic development, and improved regulatory compliance.