Little Traverse Bay Protection & Restoration Fund

The Little Traverse Bay Protection & Restoration Fund was established in 2010, thanks to a two-year, $750,000 fundraising campaign led by CMS Land Company and the Community Foundation.The goal of this fund is to enhance, restore and protect the waters of Little Traverse Bay for current and future generations. Grants are awarded annually to organizations that address specific objectives in our region’s Little Traverse Bay Watershed Management Plan, which is updated and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every ten years.

Nearly $190,000 has been awarded to-date to organizations controlling and preventing invasive species, managing stormwater runoff, educating our citizens on the importance of Little Traverse Bay protection, and much more.


Little Traverse Bay shoreline Photo by Tracy Wintermeyer

501(c)(3) nonprofits, government agencies and schools that serve the Little Traverse Bay watershed are eligible to apply for a grant.

An applicant’s proposed work must address one or more objectives stated in the current Little Traverse Bay Watershed Management Plan. If you do not have a copy of the Plan for reference, contact the Community Foundation. Additionally, we do not reimburse activities that already occurred. Applications should feature work that will be done in the future.

While most of our grantmaking focuses exclusively on Emmet County, we recognize the Little Traverse Bay watershed extends into Charlevoix County as well. Charlevoix County-based watershed projects are eligible for consideration.

Grants are typically in the $10,000 to $30,000 range, with $13,000 being the average award size. The grant period lasts one year, after which a final report is due to the Community Foundation.


Applications are due by February 1, 2018. Before receiving an application, please call us beforehand to discuss your proposed work.

An advisory committee will review all applications and invite applicants to participate in a brief, 15-minute interview in mid-February. Funding decisions are usually made and communicated to applicants by late February.


Contact Kassia Perpich, Community & Donor Engagement Officer, at kperpich(at) or 231-348-5820.


City of Harbor Springs – $9,000
This grant allowed for the purchase of two storm water separators – one for Zorn Beach and one for the public marina – to prevent pollutants and debris suspended in storm water from entering Little Traverse Bay. Installation of these separators will complete the treatment of all nine of the City’s storm water outflows.

Emmet Conservation District – $21,442
This grant focused on eradication and prevention of invasive knotweeds in the Little Traverse Bay watershed, an aggressive species of growing concern to conservationists. Knotweeds contribute to stream bank erosion and to flooding, when its large, fibrous stems wash into the water during periods of peak flow. Its shoots can penetrate asphalt and concrete. It is most aggressive on sites with natural or human disturbance: streams and riverbanks, roadsides and construction sites. Knowing this, Emmet Conservation District prioritized eradication within local gravel/fill pits and educated local construction and landscape companies on how to identify knotweeds and prevent their development.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council – $33,900
This grant supported construction of 13 rain gardens in the City of Petoskey, to protect Little Traverse Bay from nutrients, sediments and other pollutants that would otherwise flow into the Bay. Rain gardens are an attractive and effective landscape feature, considered a best practice for private property owners and local governments. One rain garden will be installed on City property and the other 12 on private property through a cost-share program. Each rain garden will be approximately 300 square feet, capable of treating 25,000 gallons of rainwater each year.