Engaging Private Capital for Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Financing

2016 - 2020
Team Leader
Jeff Odefey
American Rivers

A team led by American Rivers will test two new financing approaches available to Great Lakes municipalities to facilitate the installation of green stormwater infrastructure on both private and public property. Currently, Great Lakes communities have largely focused on implementing green infrastructure on public properties and with public financing. Yet, considerable opportunities exist to augment the public funds with private investment to reduce the environmental impacts of storm events in urban areas.

The team will focus in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) service area in greater Cleveland and the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan – two cities with distinctly different existing conditions and opportunity sets that represent a large cross-section of Great Lakes communities.

In Grand Rapids, the team will build and deploy a public-private stormwater credit trading program that will provide a market-based exchange for green infrastructure. Such a program will allow private property owners to meet stormwater requirements more cost-effectively, and achieve benefits beyond just volume retention. This program would be the first of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

In greater Cleveland, the team will optimize the NEORSD’s significant public expenditures on green infrastructure by aggregating projects and leveraging private and additional public sector investment through their existing grant programs.

This pilot project is the result of a design grant where the team explored different financing options that would facilitate private investment in the installation and operation of green infrastructure on both public and private property in the Great Lakes region.

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