This factsheet presents data collected during a 2013-2014 survey of city administrators, managers commissioners, directors of departments, and other key decision-maker throughout the Great Lakes Region. The survey aimed to better understand how, if it all, climate influences the decisions they are making and if so, what they are doing to addressclimate impacts.
The City of Detroit has over 80,000 vacant residential properties and is demolishing thousands of vacant houses each year. This project uses Detroit’s vacant property demolition process as an opportunity to design and assess green infrastructure innovations that aim to make rivers cleaner and neighborhoods more attractive as a result of the demolition process. It will also identify governance processes that support the long term success of Green Infrastructure. Vegetation and soils are used to soak up and store storm water. Project partners have constructed high efficiency storm water storage, filling former sites of abandoned houses with beautiful flower gardens called bioretention gardens.
Improving the process of de-silting can play a key role in the local agriculture. There are more than 45,000 irrigation ponds in the Telangana region that need to be periodically de-silted in dry seasons to maintain their water storage capacity. Better management of the de-silting process can provide rural employment, and improve storage of rainwater for use during the dry season. Also, silt can be used as a fertilizer to improve land productivity and reduce the environmental footprint of farming in the region. An interdisciplinary student project team of Dow Sustainability Fellows at the University of Michigan (U-M) identified a need for systematic planning to include de-silting best practices into mainstream agriculture.
Beginning in the fall of 2014 and coming to a close in the summer of 2015, the Graham Institute conducted an internal evaluation of the Great Lakes Assessment Adaptation Assessment for Cities (GLAA-C’s) Integrated Assessment (IA) process. This effort served two primary purposes: 1) to evaluate how well the IA process helped GLAA-C meet its project goals (goals that were put forth in the original funding proposal submitted to the Kresge Foundation), and 2) to help Graham continue to reflect upon and learn from its IA projects in order to improve future IA projects. The evaluation focused on the perspectives of all key stakeholders directly involved in the project, including University of Michigan faculty researchers, city practitioners in the project’s six partner cities, and Graham staff members who contributed to the project.
GLOBAL IMPACT ARTICLE SERIES
Many organizations create social impact through their actions, such as creating jobs, supporting local farmers, and supporting people from diverse backgrounds. However, one of the main challenges these organizations face is expanding in a sustainable manner. Recommendations for organizational leaders include ensuring that social impact increases as the business grows, carefully monitoring the quality of products or services, and identifying methods to reduce costs.
The Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities project increased understanding about the challenges and opportunities municipalities face when adapting to climate change. This work was supported by the Kresge Foundation and the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, which fosters sustainability through knowledge, learning, and leadership. Partners include natural resource managers, watershed councils, municipal governments, state and regional governments, and federal agencies. See: Series of case studies and fact sheets focusing on urban cities
When we consider household budgets, we think of money that flows in and out. The Great Lakes water budget takes into account all of the water that flows in and out of the basin. The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River system spans an area of nearly 300,000 square miles (750,000 square km). Freshwater flows from the highest elevation in northwest Ontario, Canada, through the Great Lakes basin, to the lowest elevation in Quebec, Canada, and to the Atlantic Ocean. The components of the water budget between these two ends of the system are monitored at key points. This publication includes a diagram showing the inputs and outputs of the Great Lakes system, including all connecting channels.
If you live or vacation along the Great Lakes, you have likely become accustomed to shifting sands along the region’s coastline. Shifting sands are one of many changing components of the dynamic Great Lakes system. Considering the relationships between components of a complex system may help us understand why changes occur, and allow us to predict what might change over time.
The University of Michigan Water Center addresses critical and emerging water resource challenges. We are driven by the desire to ensure management of our water resources is informed by the best possible science. Our mission is to improve the policy and management decisions that affect our waters by integrating decision makers and other end users into collaborative research projects. This integration fosters learning by all participants and the co-production of high-quality, usable, science-based information that can lead to innovative solutions. We also design and implement innovative grant-making processes that support collaborative research.