Grand Valley's Annis Water Resources Institute awarded blue economy grant

Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation to support efforts to grow the ‘blue economy’ through economic development efforts, water technology business, and water education, research, and stewardship. 

The one-year grant will help AWRI, in partnership with John Austin from the Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas Foundation, connect communities that are building on their natural water assets to make their communities attractive places to live and work as part of the “Growing Michigan’s Blue Economy Initiative.” The grant will also support entrepreneurs and institutions like AWRI participate in the fast-growing global water technology sector, while providing research and talent to solve freshwater sustainability issues. 

“We are showing through our work at the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon and West Michigan, the economic power of cleaning up our waters and waterfronts,” said Alan Steinman, AWRI director and principal investigator on the grant. “We are producing new talent and ideas that can manage our water sustainably. This project will allow us to inventory the blue economy initiatives throughout the state, and use that information to incentivize additional economic growth based on sustainable fresh water principles.” 

The project will profile the way many Michigan communities, educational institutions, and private firms are already growing their ‘blue economy’ efforts, and facilitate networking among Michigan practitioners. The goal is to encourage sharing promising practices, identify challenges, and better understand how public-private leaders, the state, philanthropic and other stakeholders can support effective efforts. The project will profile successful water-based community development and innovation models in Michigan and elsewhere to inspire more communities, firms, and institutions to develop their own ‘blue economy’ strategies. 

The project will also collaborate with and inform the governor’s administration’s Office of Great Lakes and Director Jon Allan, who is developing an overall water strategy for Michigan. An initial product of the Blue Economy-Growing Initiative is a white paper commissioned by the office that will help outline Michigan’s ‘blue economy’ opportunities.

For more information about the Annis Water Resources Institute, visit