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Climate Fact Sheet - St. Paul, MN
Fact Sheet

The two greatest climate risks Saint Paul (St. Paul) faces are 1) flooding associated with increased mean rainfall and extreme rainfall events, and 2) the impacts of temperature increases. For example, a warmer climate will exacerbate the urban heat island effect, with temperatures in the city significantly hotter than surrounding areas. In 2015, St. Paul secured a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to develop a strategic climate change Resilience Framework. Part of the Framework includes increasing green infrastructure to improve storm water management. Other aspects of the Framework focus on improving communication about how to reduce the effects of climate change on city residents, especially more vulnerable populations.

This fact sheet is part of an urban climate series created to provides an overview of a climate risks. Each fact sheet includes a climate history, key considerations and activities specific to each city.

  • Keywords: St. Paul, MN, flooding, heat, climate change, adaptation, extreme weather.
August 2016
Fact Sheet

Minnesota is the fastest-warming state in the continental U.S. during the winter, with temperatures and overnight low temperatures contributing the most to the rapid warming (1970-2012, NOAA). City leaders are adjusting infrastructure to accommodate a growing population, and more severe temperatures and precipitation events. The climate is not moderated by the Great Lakes as much as lakeside cities, such as Duluth. As a result, area residents experience extreme cold in winter and heat waves in summer. In addition to the city’s reputation for being extremely cold in the winter months, increasing heat waves in the summer are a key risk to residents. Minneapolis is the urban heat island epicenter for the Twin Cities metropolitan region, demonstrating significant differences in surface temperature between the City’s core and surrounding rural areas.

This fact sheet is part of an urban climate series created to provides an overview of a climate risks. Each fact sheet includes a climate history, key considerations and activities specific to each city.

  • Keywords: Minneapolis, MN, flooding, heat, climate change, adaptation, extreme weather, renewable energy.
August 2016
Fact Sheet

Columbus is facing climate-related issues that include increasing heavy precipitation events, possibly leading to greater flood risk and reduced water quality, and drier and hotter summers. Columbus also faces increasingly frequent water issues, including flooding events and drinking water contamination from algae and nitrates. City leaders are actively addressing climate adaptation measures and have charged the Columbus Green Team, Climate and Energy Working Group to develop adaptation and mitigation measures.

This fact sheet is part of an urban climate series created to provides an overview of a climate risks. Each fact sheet includes a climate history, key considerations and activities specific to each city.

  • Keywords: Columbus, OH, flooding, heat, climate change, adaptation, extreme weather, renewable energy.
August 2016
Annual Report/Guide

This report, Creating Global Leaders in Sustainability, highlights activities and impacts of Dow Fellows at the University of Michigan. The program was launched in 2012 with a visionary $10 million gift from The Dow Chemical Company. The goal was ambitious: create interdisciplinary leaders capable of generating innovative, concrete, actionable solutions to the big sustainability challenges of our time.

Major program components include cohorts of fellows at the master’s/ professional degree, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels, as well as a Distinguished Awards for Interdisciplinary Sustainability competition that supports high-potential sustainability projects. Projects focus on compelling and actionable efforts to advance sustainability at the local, national, and global level.

Work on sustainability is, by definition, something that will involve many generations. The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program has trained four cohorts of researchers at all levels, and their work will have a critical impact on the students who follow them into the field. — Martha E. Pollack, University of Michigan Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Program leaders believe that diversity is key to individual empowerment, and the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning and leadership.

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August 2016
Fact Sheet

Hundreds of U.S. cities, with a combined population of about 40 million people, have water infrastructure where stormwater and human sewage mingle in the same network of underground pipes. In a combined sewer system, rainwater typically enters storm drains, mixes with sewage, and is directed to a water treatment plant. The treated water is then discharged into a nearby stream, river, or lake. Occasionally, an influx of snowmelt or heavy rainfall can overwhelm treatment plants. As a result, untreated rainwater and sewage is released, along with a host of industrial pollutants, pathogens, and flushed debris, into the nearest water body. These events are known as combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

Cleveland, OH has long struggled with a number of urban stormwater issues, which directly impact the Lake Erie ecosystem. In 2011, the EPA, the State of Ohio, and the City of Cleveland signed an agreement outlining a plan to bring the City of Cleveland into compliance with federal Clean Water Act standards. Although sustainable energy systems are being installed in the region, there is a severe lack of technical expertise regarding the maintenance and repair of energy systems, resulting in inefficiencies and shortened system lifecycles. Without ensuring the productivity of new sustainable energy systems, the region will likely continue to rely on diesel fuel generators.

This fact sheet is part of the Dow Global Impact Series, which provides a glimpse into the interesting, and often rewarding work of graduate students engaged in the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program. Each summary in the series is based on a report produced by student teams, and highlights key issues, their approach and project outcomes. Videos provide student perspectives about the Fellows Program.

Keywords: Cleveland, OH, stormwater, combined sewer overflows

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July 2016
Fact Sheet

Living shorelines show great promise in coastal South Carolina as a tool to control erosion, increase habitat, and protect coastal areas from hazards both short-term (e.g., storms) and long-term (e.g., sea level rise). The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto (ACE) Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve have constructed oyster-reef-based living shorelines adjacent to public land for 15 years, and private property owners are also showing interest in using living shorelines to prevent erosion. Current South Carolina permitting processes, however, do not address this emerging strategy, which serves as a barrier for private property owners wishing to pursue this approach. 

This project responds to the state’s desire to develop a comprehensive, science-based regulatory process to address the design and permitting of living shorelines. The researchers will analyze a suite of living shoreline possibilities specifically suited to South Carolina, noting their performance under varying physical and environmental conditions. Using a stakeholder-driven process, case study assessments, experimental research sites, and monitoring, the project team will generate the information needed to develop a statewide living shoreline policy. Ultimately, this project will help remove a critical barrier to living shoreline implementation.

Keywords: shoreline, erosion, habitat, sea level rise, oyster reef

July 2016
Fact Sheet
To support creative redevelopment efforts in Detroit, the Graham Sustainability Institute partnered with the Detroit-based nonprofit civil and human rights organization Focus: HOPE to conduct the Sustainability and the HOPE Village Initiative (HVI) Integrated Assessment (IA). The HVI is Focus: HOPE’s comprehensive effort to better the education, economic self-sufficiency, and living environment for residents within the 100 blocks surrounding its campus in Detroit by 2031. Through collaboration among U-M researchers, Focus: HOPE staff, and residents around key sustainability issues, the IA project developed analyses and recommendations to help Focus: HOPE advance the HVI and revitalize the neighborhood
 
U-M Faculty Leads: Alicia Alvarez, María Arquero de Alarcón, Priya Baskaran, Craig Borum, John C. Burkhardt, Aline Cotel, Margi Dewar, Eric Dueweke, Robert Grese, Jen Maigret, Lorelle Meadows, Betty Overton-Adkins, Bruce Pietrykowski, Roland Zullo, Paul Draus, and Juliette Roddy.
 
Keywords:  Detroit, economic development, housing, vacant space, abandoned land, neighborhood revitalization, Hope Village
 
July 2016
Fact Sheet

Approximately 30% of land in the City of Detroit is vacant, and infrastructure was built for a population nearly three times its current size. As a result, numerous sustainable redevelopment ideas have been proposed to address these challenges. The University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute partnered with Data Driven Detroit on the Detroit Sustainability Indicators Project. This fact sheet provides a summary of the data, tools, and analysis developed to help decision makers in Detroit consider sustainability in their planning efforts.

Investigators: Joan Nassauer, Margeret Dewar, Eric Dueweke, Jen Maigret, Maria Arquero de Alarcon, NicoleScholtz, Stuart Batterman,  Brian Min, Jowei Chen, David Bieri

Keywords: D3, Detroit, Sustianability Indicators 

July 2016
Publication Cover
Fact Sheet

Blue carbon storage—carbon sequestration in coastal wetlands—can help coastal managers and policymakers achieve broader wetlands management, restoration, and conservation goals, in part by securing payment for carbon credits. The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has been at the forefront of blue carbon research, working with end users to provide the information and tools needed to bring blue carbon projects to the carbon market. While end users are becoming more interested in the opportunities that carbon markets present, they are limited by uncertainties, particularly the potential transaction costs associated with bringing a wetland restoration project to market. 

Through this project, the Waquoit Bay Reserve and its partners are building on efforts from Phase 1 of the “Bringing Wetlands to Market in Massachusetts” project. The team is working with end users to test the broader applicability of a previously developed model to accurately predict greenhouse gas fluxes across a wide range of coastal wetlands using a few environmental and ecological variables. The team is exploring, and working to fill, the blue carbon-related information needs of end users. One effort involves conducting a first-of-its-kind carbon market feasibility study for a wetland restoration project. The team is also developing targeted tools and education programs for coastal managers, decision makers, and teachers. These efforts will build an understanding of blue carbon and the capacity to integrate blue carbon considerations into restoration and management decisions.

June 2016
Publication Cover
Fact Sheet

Nature-based, ecologically enhanced, or soft shoreline stabilization techniques have the potential to maintain and enhance important ecological services, provide greater resilience to physical forces, and be cost-competitive with traditional approaches. In order for these techniques to be used more widely in the Hudson River Estuary, their performance must be demonstrated and evaluated locally. Landowners, site designers, and decision makers have expressed this need to enhance their confidence in proposing innovative designs to clients, investing in sustainable shoreline construction, and steering permit applications toward these less traditional options.

Over the past eight years, the Science Collaborative has supported the Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project, which engages a regional research team to quantify the ecological functions and physical stresses on the full range of Hudson River shorelines. This research is the basis for development of information and tools needed by regulators, engineers, and resource managers to identify the best settings and approaches for sustainable shoreline protection in the Hudson River Estuary. The current project expands that work by 1) developing and fieldvalidating rapid assessment protocols for physical and ecological functions of ecologically enhanced shorelines; and 2) training local land managers in these protocols. This work will solidify confidence in the suitability of novel shoreline techniques in the Hudson River Estuary and enable local managers to track performance.

May 2016

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