Michigan’s Water Strategy and Clean Water By Design Focus of Upcoming Event

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and Berrien County Drain Commission will host an event intended to educate local decision makers on strategies to protect Michigan’s water resources.

Municipal staff and officials, professional engineers/planners, representatives from watershed groups, leaders from local businesses and institutions, and citizen stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The Great Southwest Clean Water Summit will feature a workshop format with leading experts from across the state, including a luncheon keynote presentation from Jon Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, who will speak on water conservation in the region and Michigan’s Water Strategy. Full-day summit attendees will learn about the community and economic benefits of employing low impact development techniques and green stormwater infrastructure.

Luncheon and full-day options are available for the event at Weko Beach House on Wednesday, May 9. The full-day summit is 10:30 am to 4 pm, with the luncheon session from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

The Water Strategy is a 30-year plan for Michiganders to protect, manage, and enhance Michigan’s water resources for current and future generations. It identifies key actions for actors at many levels to promote healthy water resources, organized to ensure the viability and sustainability of Michigan’s water resources over time, placing Michigan on a path to achieving its water vision in a way the that builds economic capacity while sustaining ecological integrity of this globally-significant resource.

Green stormwater infrastructure and related practices are proven strategies for managing wet weather impacts more cost effectively and sustainably than traditional, single-purpose stormwater infrastructure (conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems). These practices reduce and treat stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits. Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution and erosion in Southwest Michigan.

Jon Allan became Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes in 2012, contributing his considerable aquatic sciences experience to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes watershed. With nearly three decades of experience in environmental and energy policy, he has professionally applied his understanding of ecological management in a variety of academic, corporate, and public occupations. Other featured speakers include Don Carpenter, Vice President of Drummond Carpenter, Claire Schwartz, senior civil engineer with FTCH, and Elaine Sterrett Isely, Director of Water Programs for West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

The Great Southwest Clean Water Summit is presented by Spicer Group, Inc. and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber.

Learn more and RSVP here.

MGSSBF Hosts 8th Annual Sustainability Legislative Forum

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted the 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum, an Earth Day discussion on how sustainability improvements can be used to leverage social, economic and environmental benefits for local communities.

Photos are available on Facebook here.

Ritchie Harrison, co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy​ and former community planner for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, presented a vision for Michigan’s Great Southwest based on leadership and collaboration for the common good, and highlighted the unique value of natural resources in promoting economic development and community prosperity.

A panel of Southwest Michigan leaders introduced their visions for sustainability in the community. Panelists included:

– Fred Upton, U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District
– Michael Garey, Mayor of St. Joseph
– Marcus Muhammad, Mayor of Benton Harbor
– Kim Lasata, Michigan House of Representatives 79th District
– Matthew Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist at Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

The 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum was presented by Wightman.

Forum to Discuss Future of Sustainability in Michigan’s Great Southwest

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a special Earth Day discussion next Friday, April 20 inviting local leaders to share their visions for sustainability in the region at the 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum.

Hosted by Wightman Associates at its Benton Harbor headquarters, St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad, and State Rep. Kim Lasata will be joined by Ritchie Harrison, co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy and former community planner for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Harrison will present a vision for Michigan’s Great Southwest based on leadership and collaboration for the common good, drawing on his experiences working in the City of Detroit. He will also highlight the unique value of natural resources in promoting economic development and community prosperity.

“The City of Detroit transformed its image through collaboration and working together, leveraging that for programs and initiatives such as the project that revitatlized the waterfront,” said Harrison. “We’re going to talk about how leaders can create a vision that brings people and resources together fot the common good.”

Doors open at 11:30 am for lunch, with the program from 12:10 to 1:30. Lunch is $15 for MGSSBF members, $20 for non-members. Learn more and register for the event here.