The prospect of more frequent and severe storms due to climate change could lead to increased runoff and pollution in bodies of water.
That’s especially concerning in the Great Lakes region, where our waterways are particularly vital to the health of our cities and infrastructure.
The city of Grand Rapids has been one of the most proactive municipalities in Michigan when it comes to preparing for climate change.
Click here to see Grand Rapids’ 2013 climate resiliency report.
Michael Lunn is the city’s utilities and environmental services director. He tells WDET’s Jake Neher Michigan’s second largest city has been working on the issue for about a decade.
“We started really looking at what Grand Rapids was going to look like in the future,” says Lunn. “We’re a city of 200,000 trying to be a city of 300,000. And so, we decided to grow if you’ve got the changing climate to look forward to.”
Lunn says Grand Rapids is working on restoring the rapids to the Grand River, which runs through the city’s downtown area. He says it’s important to make sure that water is clean as people begin to interact more with the river. Increased water runoff during storms and the pollution it brings could make that a challenge.
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.