For immediate release: October 26, 2016
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) will lead two projects to spark the adoption of green infrastructure across the Great Lakes region.
With support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the GLC is working with Lawrence Technological University through the Great Lakes Stormwater Technology Transfer project to advance adoption of stormwater management best practices and technologies across all sectors in the basin. An advisory group comprised of stormwater and green infrastructure experts met for the first time Thursday, Sept. 29 in Ann Arbor to launch the effort.
The GLC is also launching the Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program, to create a peer-to-peer mentoring network that will engage experienced green infrastructure practitioners as “champions” to share successes and mentor emerging practitioners in communities that would like to use green infrastructure, but lack the capacity to do so. Workshops and small grants to selected emerging communities will be used to build the mentoring network. The project will also examine green infrastructure policy barriers and opportunities and share the findings with its membership and key regional stakeholders.
“We’ve fractured the water cycle with pavement and our heavily engineered water systems,” said Jon Allan, director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes and chair of the Great Lakes Commission. Through both projects, he said, “We’ll be accelerating technologies and practices that re-create what nature does – slowly filter the bad stuff out of water that’s going to go into the Great Lakes, rivers and streams, while also helping to prevent flooding and reduce risks to property.”
“We need to be smarter about how we manage water, and the Tech Transfer Collaborative aims to do just that,” said Donald Carpenter, professor at Lawrence Technological University. “Lawrence Tech and our partners at the Great Lakes Commission will work on technologies and techniques that will lead to cleaner water in our streams, our rivers, and the Great Lakes.”
Green infrastructure uses natural stormwater runoff treatment technologies like “bioswales” – essentially, man-made wetlands – green roofs, permeable pavements, and more, to reduce the amount of runoff going to storm sewer systems. Green infrastructure is also a way to make existing storm sewer systems stretch farther in an era of heavier rainfall events brought on by climate change.
The GLC recently adopted a resolution calling on both the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to increase funding to complement funding from states, provinces and local governments to maintain and improve aging water infrastructure – including by supporting green infrastructure and similar technologies. The GLC also committed itself to preparing a comprehensive report on the state of wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin.
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The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, 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.