Using Green Infrastructure to Prevent Sewage Overflows in Detroit


United States
42° 13' 11.4276" N, 83° 40' 18.75" W

In the Great Lakes region, climate change is predicted to bring greater amounts of precipitation falling in shorter periods of time, resulting in increased flooding. For Detroit, flooding brings an extra problem – sewage overflows. This realization inspired the Sierra Club Great Lakes Program to get involved in the sewer overflow issue and begin exploring green infrastructure solutions. Green infrastructure creates rainwater filtration right at the surface, keeping rainwater from entering the combined sewer system and preventing additional sewage pollution in the Great Lakes.

Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Coastal and Inland Wetlands in the State of Michigan

This report was developed for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Wetlands Program and Coastal Management Program. However, the DEQ has only part of the responsibilities and authorities that will be part of any comprehensive approach to implementing a climate change adaptation plan for the state’s wetlands. Carrying out many of the recommendations in this document will require the cooperation, expertise and active engagement of many other state, local, and regional agencies and groups. Collectively this much larger partnership will need to review the recommendations in the report and reach agreement on specific actions that can be taken to ensure that wetland resources are included in broader strategies to address and adapt to climate change.


A Stronger, More Resilient New York

In December 2012, Mayor Bloomberg delivered a speech announcing a major new effort to ready the city for the future. A Stronger, More Resilient New York is the response to the Mayor’s call to action. The nearly $20 billion plan contained in this report (towards which the City will contribute up to $1 billion in new funding) includes over 250 initiatives. Together these initiatives will further protect the coastline—our first defense against storms and rising sea levels—as well as strengthen the buildings in which New Yorkers live and work, and all the vital systems that support the life of the city, including our energy grid, transportation systems, parks, telecommunications networks, healthcare system, and water and food supplies. Meanwhile, for the areas of New York that Sandy hit especially hard, this plan proposes local rebuilding initiatives that will help these communities emerge safer, stronger, and better than ever.The underlying goal of this report is resiliency. That is, to adapt our city to the impacts of climate change and to seek to ensure that, when nature overwhelms our defenses from time to time, we are able to recover more quickly.

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources’ Climate Adaptation Initiatives


United States
46° 22' 9.0084" N, 80° 51' 33.75" W

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is mandated to communicate climate science, facilitate the development and implementation of adaptation strategies, cultivate local and regional partnerships, and support the measures recommended by Ontario’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation.

The President's Climate Action Plan

The President’s comprehensive plan takes action to:

Cuts Carbon Pollution in America. In 2012, U.S. carbon pollution from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades even as the economy continued to grow. To build on this progress, the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution—just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic —so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills. For example, the plan:

  • Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;
  • Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;
  • Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;
  • Expands the President’s Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;
  • Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector – through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;
  • Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and
  • Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.

Prepares the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country. Building on progress over the last four years, the plan:

  • Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient investment by removing barriers or counterproductive policies and modernizing programs; and establishes a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the Federal government can take to help strengthen communities on the ground;
  • Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts; and building on a new, consistent flood risk reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects;
  • Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry;
  • Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and landowners; and helps communities prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership and by expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangeland- restoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to catastrophic fire; and
  • Provides climate preparedness tools and information needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders through a centralized “toolkit” and a new Climate Data Initiative.

Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change. Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations. For example, the plan:

  • Commits to expand major new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives with China, India, and other major emitting countries;
  • Leads global sector public financing towards cleaner energy by calling for the end of U.S. government support for public financing of new coal-fired powers plants overseas, except for the most efficient coal technology available in the world's poorest countries, or facilities deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies; and
  • Strengthens global resilience to climate change by expanding government and local community planning and response capacities.

Rein in the Runoff: Michigan’s Spring Lake Stormwater Management Project


United States
43° 4' 37.0668" N, 86° 11' 49.1892" W

Over the past few decades, stormwater has increased pollutant loads in Spring Lake, Michigan. In 2007, a collaborative team of researchers began working with the community of Spring Lake to develop an integrated assessment of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce local stormwater impacts. The integrated assessment process involved a detailed assessment of natural, economic, and social issues, future population growth scenarios, and an analysis of potential BMPs.

Project Clean Lake: Updating Cleveland’s Sewer Systems to Reduce Stormwater Overflows


United States
41° 29' 57.552" N, 81° 41' 39.6996" W

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District created Project Clean Lake to reduce combined sewer outflow discharge to less than 98% by 2035. The project was formed after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that the sewer district’s discharge rates into Lake Erie were in violation of the Clean Water Act.

New York’s Climate Smart Communities Program


United States
42° 46' 33.78" N, 74° 58' 14.5308" W

The New York Climate Smart Communities program is a partnership between local communities and six state agencies designed to address climate change. Communities voluntarily sign the Climate Smart Communities Pledge and receive technical support and guidance from state agencies. As of April 2013, one hundred and fifteen communities are part of the program; most are located along the Atlantic and Great Lakes coasts.

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

The State of Adaptation in the United States, a synthesis commissioned and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and undertaken by EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University, and the University of California-Davis, provides examples of societal responses to climate change in our planning and management of cities, agriculture and natural resources. These examples include regulatory measures, management strategies and information sharing.

Chapter 1: An Overview of Opportunities
Lara J. Hansen, Ph.D.
Focus: Climate Change Adaptation and the U.S. Military
Rachel M. Gregg, M.M.A.
Chapter 2: Promoting Adaptation through Policy
Vicki Arroyo, J.D.
Chapter 3: Scope of Agricultural Adaptation in the United States: The Need for Agricultural Adaptation
Louise Jackson, Ph.D. and Susan Ellsworth, M.S.
Chapter 4: Preparing Human Communities and the Built Environment for Climate Change
Amy Snover, Ph.D.
Focus: Climate Change and Human Health
Amy Snover, Ph.D.
Chapter 5: How Climate Savvy is Natural Resource Management in the United States?
Lara J. Hansen, Ph.D. and Rachel M. Gregg, M.M.A.