Bridges report outlines strategies

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Dr. Michael J. Donahue, President/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission, has been appointed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Advisory Board. This prestigious panel of environmental experts advises the Corps’ Chief of Engineers (Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers) on national policy directions and on environmentally sustainable solutions to engineering and economic challenges.

That’s the guiding premise behind a recently completed project titledBridges: Linking Brownfields Redevelopment and Greenfields Protection for Sustainable Development. The project — a collaborative effort by the Great Lakes Commission, the National Wildlife Federation and the Council of Great Lakes Industries — outlines a series of coordinated strategies to encourage urban renewal and reduce development pressures on farmlands, woods and other open spaces. The initiative was funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation.

“This report responds directly to the Great Lakes Commission’s goal of promoting responsible land use through brownfields redevelopment and greenfields preservation,” said Nat Robinson, Chairman of the Great Lakes Commission’s Board of Directors. “It gives our member jurisdictions a tool to evaluate current policies and offers fresh ideas for more efficient and sustainable land development and protection.”

More than two years of effort went into the Bridges project, so named because it was designed to build links between greenfields protection and brownfields redevelopment efforts among the public, private and non-profit sectors in the eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces of the Great Lakes region. The final report is an in-depth examination of the issues involved and outlines a series of tools that governments and private entities can choose from in devising their own protection and redevelopment strategies.

“There are few sets of issues of more import to the health of the Great Lakes than the protection of our land,” said Guy Williams, urban ecosystem manager for the National Wildlife Federation. “This report is especially well-suited for policymakers who are looking for field-tested recommendations that are supported by a broad base of constituents.”

Numerous strategies have been developed for brownfields redevelopment and greenfields protection, but their implementation throughout the Great Lakes region has been uneven. Efforts are often fragmented, with business, policy and community leaders focusing either on preserving agricultural lands and open space or redeveloping urban areas, but rarely coordinating the two.

The Bridges project identified, researched and analyzed policies for brownfields redevelopment and greenfields protection in place throughout the United States and Canada, including many in the Great Lakes region. Its centerpiece is a set of 32 strategic actions that are considered to be effective tools for preserving open space and redeveloping urban land.

“The Council of Great Lakes Industries was pleased to have been a part of this constructive, multi-stakeholder effort to identify policy opportunities to link brownfields redevelopment and greenfields protection in the Great Lakes,” said George Kuper, CGLI president and CEO. “The Great Lakes Commission and the financial underwriters deserve great credit for the vision and work necessary to produce this challenging and thought-provoking report.”

A web site on sustainable land use issues ( was developed as part of the project and is integrated with online clearinghouses of information on greenfields redevelopment and brownfields protection.

The Bridges project was initiated in 1998, building upon recommendations issued by the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and earlier work by the Great Lakes Commission. Copies of the report are available through the Commission.

For immediate release: November 9, 2001
Contact: Kirk Haverkamp,, office: 734-665-9135


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by 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 state legislators, agency officials, and governors’ appointees 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.

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