City of Toledo, OH

Toledo, OH

Geographic Location

West Shore Lake Erie

Population

287,208

Government Structure

Council - manager

Adaptation Status

Early stages, highly invested

Per Capita Income (USD)

$18,758

The City of Toledo, which is located on the Western shore of Lake Erie, is a historical hub for manufacturing and shipping. Over the last half century Toledo struggled to maintain a robust manufacturing industry. However, innovations in both technology and private-public funding mechanisms is leading to new economic opportunities. In terms of natural systems, flooding is a prevalent problem throughout Toledo. The city is built over a wetland area and ground saturation and stormwater overflow pose threats to city infrastructure and health.

Opportunities

Toledo is building relationships with stakeholders from the region and beyond to begin tackling climate related issues. Toledo has recently worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better understand how to use green infrastructure to alleviate the impacts of climate change, especially among vulnerable populations, and the associated costs for doing so. The city has also worked with several University of Michigan graduate teams to better understand its adaptive capacity and update its stormwater credit program. Toledo is also working with two regional groups, Toledo Lucas County Sustainability Commission and the Rain Garden Initiative, both of which are comprised of various community leaders and stakeholders, in order to address the region's water quality issues. 

Challenges

While city staff members are energetic about moving forward with actions and policies to better prepare Toledo for the impacts of climate change, education and awareness among residents are still important tasks for building community support and buy-in. Toledo's water quality issues have been an ongoing battle and have recently garnered national attention when in August 2014, the city had to temporarily place a ban on tap water due to an algae toxin outbreak near the city's intake pipe. 

Potential Climate Impacts

Flooding from extreme storms is a major concern for the City of Toledo, as is improving water quality. Situated at the mouth of the Maumee River, Toledo's downstream location mean that dealing with water quality issues not only entails addressing urban runoff issues but must also include addressing runoff from the upstream agricultural communities as well. Toledo is also a city that is dependent on its port and shipping industry making lake level variability another key concern for city staff.