Like many post-industrial cities, Detroit has an outdated and overburdened combined sewer system. In a combined sewer system, heavy rains overwhelm the city’s water treatment system, resulting in increased flooding and discharges of both sewage and stormwater into local rivers. In order to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO), stormwater must enter the sewer system at a slower and steadier pace without high peaks caused by heavy rain events. In addition, Detroit has vast amounts of impervious surface, much of which is abandoned or underused, further contributing to stormwater runoff concerns.
This project, in collaboration with Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and Eastside Community Network (ECN), explores whether a collective, place-based approach to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) installations can result in joint stormwater credits toward fees in residential neighborhoods.
Over the course of 2017, a team of University of Michigan (U-M) Dow Sustainability Fellows partnered with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin to assess NELD impacts experienced by their community. Students collaborated with the tribe to document and illuminate the potential adverse health, cultural, and psychological impacts stemming from biodiversity losses and destruction or alteration of landscapes. Their research highlights the interconnected relationship between the environment and tribal members’ identity, spirituality, and culture. Moreover, it demonstrates how dedicated the community is to being environmental stewards.
Keywords: Non-economic losses and damages (NELD), Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, emotional, health, psychological impacts stemming, climate and environmental change, Wisconsin
Coastal cities around the country are exploring structural engineering options for defending against extreme storms and the resulting surges of ocean water that cause massive flooding. Storm surge barriers or tide gates can effectively protect harbors and minimize flooding, property damage, and loss of life during large storms. These barriers typically span the opening to a harbor or river mouth and include gates that are only closed when storm surges are expected. However, even when gates are open, the barriers reduce water flow and tidal exchange, which in turn affects water quality and ecological processes. Scientists and engineers are increasingly recognizing the need for broad research initiatives to more fully explore the advantages and disadvantages of large surge barriers.
Leading public health organizations, including the American Public Health Association (APHA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, all consider climate change among the most significant contemporary threats to public health. Longtime efforts of environmental justice (EJ) leaders and scholars clearly document patterns of cumulative environmental exposure and adverse health outcomes by race and income that are exacerbated by climate change. Given public health’s commitment to health equity and social justice, attention to EJ must be central in public health’s climate-related work.
Measuring sustainability awareness and behaviors at the University of Michigan (U-M). Each ring represents a top cultural indicator score of 10 for a range of sustainability knowledge, behavior, and disposition items at U-M. The number inside the ring represents how the campus community did in reaching those goals and changes since 2012. Can you see where YOU helped to close the gap in campus sustainability progress on campus?
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System has identified a need to increase its collective capacity to process and synthesize Surface Elevation Table data and to create visualizations and educational tools for scientists, managers, and the public. This project addresses these needs by developing standardized tools to quality-check Surface Elevation Table data, perform trend analyses, and generate informative visualizations for a variety of technical and non-technical audiences. The team’s collaborative approach to developing statistical methods and outreach products will build both technical expertise and broader understanding of how the data can be used to better understand how sea level rise is impacting marshes.
In recent years, seagrass and mangrove deaths have accelerated in the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other parts of southern Florida. Sea level rise, climate change, and severe weather (such as hurricanes) place significant stress on these habitats, which are already under pressure from urban development, road construction, boating, and pollution. The loss of these habitats poses a threat to the local economy, as they support the tourism and fishing industries, which drive economic development in local communities. In order to mitigate and reverse the damage to these habitats, Rookery Bay reserve staff are looking for new ways to measure which pressure has the most impact and determine the location and extent of damages. In this project, staff from Rookery Bay Reserve are partnering with researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science to study the degradation of underwater habitats and coastal wetlands.
Tidal wetlands play an important role in carbon sequestration by capturing a substantial amount of carbon—termed “blue carbon”—and storing it below ground. Since the Verified Carbon Standard first released a draft “Methodology for Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration” in 2013, members of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Blue Carbon Working Group have been working to fill blue carbon data gaps to facilitate the application of this methodology to the conservation and restoration of Pacific Northwest tidal wetlands. This includes data collection and database development efforts, such as the Pacific Northwest blue carbon stocks and database project supported by the Science Collaborative.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative is an important mechanism to support competitive, end user-focused research in the reserve system. The Science Collaborative funds user-driven collaborative research, assessment, and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by the reserves and has been managed by the University of Michigan (U-M) Water Center since 2015 through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Margaret Dewar, Grace Cho, Rebecca Labov, Moira Egler, & Alicia Alvarez.
Research on how seven US cities with post-industrial population loss have navigated governance challenges to implement GSI on vacant land.