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Jennifer Birchfield, Water Program Director with Save the Dunes, will update the group on several news items and initiatives.
Save the Dunes in partnership with the city of Valparaiso, was recently awarded a $607,000 EPA grant to improve a large detention area located at Evans & Roosevelt in Valparaiso. The basin feeds into the Salt Creek watershed and eventually into Lake Michigan.
Birchfield said more than 500 acres of developed land drains into the 2-acre Thorgren basin after a storm. That water contains pollutants, such as lawn chemicals, oil and animal feces. The grant money will spur efforts to naturalize the basin to mimic a wetland surrounding to filter pollutants. Concrete will be replaced by a meandering waterway. Turfgrass will be replaced with native plantings that have deep roots that absorb water and pollutants.
Save the Dunes officials hope the Thorgren basin will become a model for other basins in the Lake Michigan watershed.