Great Lakes Commission awards green infrastructure grants to five Great Lakes communities
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) has awarded five small grants to promote green infrastructure in communities across the binational Great Lakes region. The grants will help bring resources and expertise to small and medium-sized communities that have not yet tried or have struggled to advance green infrastructure (known as Low Impact Development or LID on the Canadian side of the basin), a cost-effective approach to water management that restores or mimics the natural water cycle. This story map provides more information on green infrastructure and the grant recipients.
Each grant recipient will be paired with a mentor who has successfully implemented green infrastructure in their community. Both the mini-grant program and mentoring network are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program, which aims to catalyze the adoption of green infrastructure practices and policies across the Great Lakes basin by providing mid-sized municipalities with resources they frequently lack. The mentoring network is not limited to grantees – any Great Lakes community with a population under 500,000 can apply to join at www.glc.org/work/champions/network.
“We are excited that these grants will help communities adopt green infrastructure and connect with peers across the basin who can offer guidance,” said Victoria Pebbles, GLC Program Director. “For example, a west Michigan nonprofit will mentor our Indiana recipient, and Credit Valley Conservation based in Mississauga, Ontario will serve as a mentor for the LID project in London, Ontario.”
Robert Fleming, GLC Associate Commissioner and Assistant Deputy Minister of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, noted the importance of improved stormwater management across the basin, “These measures not only help prevent flooding, but they also help improve water quality in urbanized landscapes by avoiding nutrient runoff into sewer systems and lakes. Innovative stormwater management solutions are a key component in Ontario’s commitment to restore the health of the Great Lakes.”
- In Ohio, the Chagrin River Watershed Partners will receive $12,000 USD to review local ordinances in two municipalities to identify barriers to green infrastructure and ways to overcome them.
- In Indiana, the Sanitary District of Michigan City will receive $12,000 USD to adapt an existing Rainwater Rewards stormwater calculator and apply it to calculate the costs and benefits of green infrastructure and associated ecosystem services specific to Michigan City.
- In Wisconsin, the City of Oshkosh will receive $15,000 USD to install a prairie treatment system as a pilot demonstration in a community center. The pilot will address an important technology barrier: the overwhelming reliance one or two technologies (e.g., ponds and bioswales) to address stormwater issues.
- In Michigan, the City of Dearborn will receive $6,000 USD to establish a cost share program that reimburses residents half the cost of for removing hard landscaping and replacing it with rain gardens and rain barrels. Single-family residential is the largest zoning area in Dearborn.
- The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority will receive $15,000 USD to install rain gardens and a bioswale at two schools in London, Ontario. The pilot installations will also be used for educational purposes at the schools.
The Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program is supported with funding from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The pilot program, including the mentoring network, will continue through August 2018. For more information, visit www.glc.org/work/champions.
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.