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Increase Under-Resourced Municipalities’ Access to Green Infrastructure

Year Awarded: 2023
Awarded: $1,400,000
Team Leader:  Delta Institute

Decades of underinvestment in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure have degraded Great Lakes water quality and increased ecosystem and community vulnerability to the impacts of severe flooding. Many large municipalities can pay for these services or have experts on staff. However, in small to mid-sized cities, the work is often done only as staff time and budgets allow. As a result, planning and implementing green infrastructure projects remains out of reach for many municipalities that could benefit from it.  

This team will improve Great Lakes water quality by reducing stormwater runoff and flooding in smaller communities. They will establish an integrated design, build, finance, and maintain service for green infrastructure that will primarily focus on disadvantaged and under-resourced municipalities that don’t implement green infrastructure projects independently. The team will work with at least ten municipalities, as well as community members and community-based organizations to design the service program so that it is an integrated approach to planning, implementing, maintaining, and monitoring green infrastructure projects across many municipalities. The team will assess alternative funding sources for these projects, including federal and state financing programs and philanthropy. They will also explore the potential of a new low-cost micro-bond product explicitly designed for small communities to implement and maintain green infrastructure.  The team will pilot the program in Lansing, MI and a second smaller municipality.   

This project will demonstrate a new water infrastructure business model for the region, improving Great Lakes water quality and increasing resilience to climate change.