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The Great Lakes Clean Communities Network

Year Awarded: 2012
Awarded: $690,000
Team Leader:  Michigan State University
Tel: 517-432-5586
Email: asherjer@msu.edu

This team will develop a new collaborative approach to stormwater management in this region that will accelerate the local initiatives currently being implemented by single communities. By building Networked Neighborhoods for Eco-conservation (NECO), the team found that there is considerable local activity around the basin to promote and build decentralized stormwater solutions, but no collaborative network in place to allow for larger scale programs and results.

For this project, the team will create a community of practitioners who will work together to implement stormwater projects at a larger scale than would be possible if working alone, and who will be supported by online resources. The team will pilot this approach in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Niagara Falls, New York; and in the Flint River watershed.

In addition to linking communities together, the project team will provide online information and guidance, as well as environmental tools and models to help communities target effective types and placement of stormwater runoff practices, estimate pollutant reductions, and map and track positive environmental impacts. The team will examine the impact of social media tools on increasing the adoption of stormwater practices, and the results will be incorporated into the project. The team will work closely with each pilot community during program design and development and later will monitor how well these communities interact with each other and implement urban runoff practices/programs as a result of using the system.

The team will use a combination of marketing and rollout strategies to build a community of practitioners that will support and use the system. Ultimately, the project will create a vibrant learning community that will change the way stormwater is managed in the region.