After 1986 Storm, Green Infrastructure Grew (Photos, Public Event)

For Sept. 9, 2016


1 – This month marks the 30th anniversary of the storm of 1986 — one of the most devastating in Michigan’s history.

Throughout the month, Michigan State University Extension is sharing stories of extreme storms in the Saginaw Bay region, how they impact communities and the natural environment, and what you can do to be better prepared.

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In the years since the 1986 flood devastated 22 counties across the Saginaw Bay and Thumb regions, Michigan has made significant progress in adopting new policies and practices to reduce flood damage. One key area of improvement has been an expansion of green infrastructure projects across the state.

Green infrastructure is an approach to stormwater management that mimics the way rainwater is stored and filtered in nature. Green infrastructure methods slow down, store and filter rain water before it reaches the storm drain or local waterways, resulting in improved flood protection.

Upcoming Public Event – Sept. 15 in Bay City:


2 – Green infrastructure comes in all different shapes and sizes, from large networks of parks and wetlands to smaller projects like bioswales, rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs.

Michigan State University Extension says millions of dollars have been invested in green infrastructure across the state, and hundreds of communities have participated in planning efforts.

In the Saginaw Bay area, the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network established a group to bring together local, state, and federal agencies, nonprofits, and concerned citizens to identify and map important green infrastructure elements across the tri-counties.

The 1986 flood had a direct impact on land use planning and the prevalence of greenspace around the region. Some of the hardest hit cities, such as Midland and Vassar, responded by changing their development practices. Over the past 30 years, these communities have converted river adjacent land from residential and business districts into parks and green space that can more easily withstand and absorb flood waters.

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See also: Remembering the 30th Anniversary of Michigan’s Flood of 1986

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes





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