GLISA awarded grants to two sustainability-oriented organizations in the Great Lakes focusing on businesses and institutions, and residential landowners. The Western Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will facilitate knowledge sharing of climate resilience strategies between businesses and institutions, beginning with four organizations in West Michigan. The Alliance for the Great Lakes will work to engage residential landowners and local decision makers in Illinois to implement better upstream stormwater management practices aimed at protecting coastal ravines.

LogoDevelopment of an Adaptation Toolkit for Resiliency Champions at Businesses and Institutions in the West Michigan Region

The Western Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is beginning a yearlong project to facilitate knowledge-sharing of climate resiliency strategies between businesses and institutions. They will develop resources targeted for resiliency champions. These champions will lead organizations through vulnerability assessments, informed by predicted industry impacts, and historical climate data and projections. They will open lines of communication between internal and external partners, and set in motion the development of monitoring systems to identify threats and opportunities. Four organizations in West Michigan will be guided through this process. Project case studies will serve as examples for businesses and institutions, encouraging the use of an adaptation toolkit, and increasing awareness of climate risk among relevant decision-makers.

LogoResilient Coastal Communities: Growing the Network and Building the Capacity of Local Leaders

In their previously GLISA-funded work, from 2013-14, the Alliance for the Great Lakes facilitated the development of an adaptation plan to bridge the climate change knowledge gap as it applies to the conservation of Illinois’ coastal ravines. A key impact of this plan is the shift of local stakeholders’ focus from stormwater impacts of ravines through more expensive end-of-pipe or engineering solutions, to addressing alternative solutions. For example, rather than installing larger pipes and erosion control structures, stormwater can be managed by increasing the amount pervious surfaces. Due to climate change, coastal communities in Illinois will likely continue to experience increased and extreme storm events, resulting in higher volumes of stormwater. As a result, ravine erosion will impact habitat restoration efforts, coastal property, and infrastructure, such as roadways.

The Alliance will continue implementing a stormwater adaptation strategy with new support from GLISA. Their next step is to engage private landowners, and local decision makers managing how land is used. Organizing and motivating these key audiences, articulated in the adaptation plan, is critical to achieving community-wide implementation of upstream stormwater management practices, like green infrastructure. A few communities have taken initial steps to implement green infrastructure plans. Leaders from these communities are building their stormwater capacity and sharing their success and lessons learned with their neighboring communities.