A big threat to the Great Lakes comes from outdated sewer systems that can carry bacteria into waterways. That can lead to closed beaches and warnings about drinking water. Now, some cities are fighting back – with trees.
“Many cities really like the green approach because it comes with environmental, social, economic, and public health benefits,” said U.S. Forest Service Scientist Michelle Kondo.
Green stormwater infrastructure uses vegetation including patches of trees and shrubs to slow the water as it runs into sewers. She says trees act like giant umbrellas.
Scientists like Kondo say green infrastructure can be more cost efficient for communities, promote more outdoor activity, and increase property values.
13 cities along the shores of the Great Lakes will be able to expand their greening projects through 2 million dollars from the U.S. EPA. The money will go to developing wetlands, creating rain gardens, and planting trees.
Aerial photo of Sandusky, Ohio via Ken Winters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers