Green Infrastructure

Project Summary: In Southeast Michigan, green infrastructure includes two broad categories. The first encompasses the natural, undisturbed environment, such as wetlands, trees, prairies, lakes, rivers, and streams. The second category includes constructed or built green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, bioswales, community gardens, and agricultural lands. Michigan Sea Grant staff provided input on a multi-year project spearheaded by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG); the Green Infrastructure Vision for Southeast Michigan completed in 2014.

The vision, for the first time:

  • Benchmarks green infrastructure in Southeast Michigan,
  • Visions where we want to go, and
  • Contains regional policies on how to get there.

In 2015, Michigan Sea Grant partnered with SEMCOG and Wisconsin Sea Grant to conduct a series of GI workshops designed to help communities, watershed groups, and others begin implementation of SEMCOG’s GI Vision. The workshops featured nationally recognized GI experts on topics such as priority setting, implementing GI, and incorporating GI best management practices into local programs. Participant feedback from the workshops had been positive but there was a clear need for a more hands-on approach to helping individual communities actually implement GI in their communities by removing barriers within their existing codes and ordinances.

So in 2016, MISG again partnered with WSG and SEMCOG on a GI codes and ordinances project to allow participants to apply what had been learned. The goal of the project was to increase the implementation of green infrastructure best practices in southeast Michigan communities by identifying and removing barriers to GI implementation in community codes and ordinances. Audits were completed for the cities of Southfield and Canton and Wayne and Oakland counties. Information from the audits was shared at a SEMCOG University workshop attended by nearly 60 people.