Few outcomes are more satisfying than when a big-time polluter is caught in its tracks. This summer, one such polluter was brought to justice by the U.S Attorney’s Office when a whistleblower reported a ship was illegally dumping dirty bilge water into the Great Lakes. Part of the punishment included a $200,000 criminal sanction against the company that will be used to protect Lake Superior and its watershed. This fall, Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, along with three other environmental nonprofits were awarded grants from this settlement.
The grant awardees were selected by Minnesota Environmental Fund (MEF), a nonprofit that engages workplaces in fundraising on behalf of 21 environmental nonprofits. “When the US Attorney’s Office needed an experienced partner to distribute these funds to strong environmental nonprofits working within the Lake Superior watershed, MEF was ready with effective member groups and great projects,” said Cordelia Pierson, Executive Director of MEF.
Each of the four recipients, North American Water Office, Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy, and The Trust for Public Land, will be working over the next year on their identified land restoration projects. These projects include planting more than 2,500 wild fruit plants in collaboration with local Native American tribes, acquiring and restoring high priority land for Minnesota State Parks, restoring the ecological balance of 250 acres of forests along key rivers, and protecting priority land in the Lake Superior watershed.
“We are grateful to MEF for helping to connect us with the great opportunity to continue building on our past successes in adding valuable land to Minnesota’s North Shore State Parks,” said Brett Feldman, executive director of Parks & Trails Council. “Our work here will hopefully result in a treasured place for generations to appreciate Lake Superior and protect its watershed that was so egregiously polluted in this case of illegal dumping.”
P&TC has been a member of MEF for more than two decades. The groups within MEF cover a wide spectrum of issues related to protecting Minnesota’s environment. “These grants showcase the power of our vision – working together to shape a sustainable and just future for Minnesota’s environment,” Christina Hausman, President of MEF.
To see if your workplace is one of the more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, schools, or government agencies that offers its employees the opportunity to donate to Minnesota Environmental Fund, visit www.MNEnviroFund.org