Posts Tagged ‘great lakes’

Green Infrastructure Grants Available for Small Communities


Green infrastructure grants available for small communities

Jun 1, 2017 | News and Announcements

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is pleased to announce the request for proposals (RFP) for the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant Program. The Mini-Grant Program will provide funding to help small and medium sized communities improve water quality, manage stormwater, and enhance community well-being. Grants of up to $20,000 USD will support green infrastructure (GI) implementation in U.S. or Canadian municipalities with fewer than 500,000 people. Eligible projects include GI pilot installations, removing institutional or policy barriers, educational programming, developing partnerships with other agencies, or community GI planning efforts. Applicants are restricted to municipal government agencies, regional authorities, or registered nonprofit organizations serving eligible communities.

Mini-grant recipients will join the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Network and be paired with a mentor who has successfully implemented GI in their community. Both the mini-grant program and mentoring network are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program, led by the GLC with support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The goal of this program is to catalyze the adoption of GI practices and policies across the Great Lakes basin by providing mid-sized municipalities with resources they frequently lack.

For more information about the RFP and Mentorship Network, please go to our website. The Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program will also hold webinars to discuss the RFP and Mentorship Network on June 13, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and July 10, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (register for these webinars here). The deadline to submit proposals is July 31, 2017.


The Wonderful World of Water

What are trees without water? Well, most of them would probably be dead. Trees rely on water and at the same time water relies on trees. Trees serve as natural filters, cleaning our groundwater before it runs into our lakes, rivers and streams. Their root systems also hold dirt together, keeping in where it belongs instead of running into our waterways during major rainstorms or flooding events. The bottom line? Trees and water are interconnected.

Yet there are all kinds of ways WE can help our water. Just like we can help our forests by looking out for pest insects, not moving wood around, or planting and caring for trees, there are lots of simple things we can do every day to help our water. Water is precious and needs to be protected just as much. Like the trees, we are also dependent on clean water to live, grow and prosper.

There is a great resource out there to get all the water-related information you could need. The Michigan Water Stewardship program encourages individuals to take proactive, voluntary steps to protect our water quality while also protecting other valuable natural resources and caring for our family’s health.

This website offers all of its resources for free. For the adults there are articles, informational bulletins and tip sheets, a whole host of environment-themed “courses” to take to test your knowledge, a Green News section that will keep you up to date on what’s going on around the Great Lakes, and a list of helpful local organizations if you need help. And since children don’t really want to read a lengthy article or care about homeownership tips, there are fun videos, songs, activities, and online games that both entertain and educate (who says education has to be boring?).

MWSP Home Screen

So take a moment and check out the website. No matter how much you know about our water, there always new things to discover!

Teaching Great Lakes Science: Tools for Educators

Teaching Great Lakes Science

Learn about food webs, invasive species, microclimates, dead zones, water quality and more.


The Teaching Great Lakes Science (TGLS) website features a suite of lessons, activities and data sets focused on Great Lakes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). All of these resources may be easily incorporated into formal and informal educational settings, and many are multidisciplinary. All the lessons, activities, teacherTeaching Great Lakes Science logo image. tools and data sets are free, and you don’t have to be a teacher to find them interesting and useful.

There are three main components to the TGLS website:

  • The Lessons and Activities section features fully developed and ready-to-use STEM lessons and activities designed to make it easier to teach not just Great Lakes science, but also broader concepts like earth and life sciences.
  • The Data Sets section offers spreadsheets with data sets optimized for use in the classroom, and includes information about the technology used to collect the data. We know that when students use real data, they show an increased interest, are more engaged in learning and develop better math and science skills.
  • The Guided Inquiry section describes guided inquiry methods to assist educators in targeting higher-level thinking and science process skills with their students.


The TGLS website is part Great Lakes Depth System graphic.of a research and education effort supported by Michigan Sea Grant (University of Michigan and Michigan State University), Eastern Michigan University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Great Lakes Observing System, the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence-Great Lakes and the NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

We are beginning a series of Michigan State University Extension articles highlighting a number of topics found on the Teaching Great Lakes Science website that are of interest to all—whether you’re an educator or life-long learner. Given the effect of the Polar Vortex on our current weather, it only makes sense for us to begin with Lake Effect Snow – look for it soon!


myBeachCast: Real-time beach data now available via smartphones

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission, in partnership with LimnoTech and the Great Lakes states, has developed a smartphone application that provides more options and opportunities for public access to beach advisories and other environmental information.

Funded by the U.S. EPA-led Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the myBeachCast application (app) provides the public with real-time information on beach water quality advisories, weather and water conditions in a form that is location-aware and easy to access. The app allows users to discover local beaches based on the user’s location, save favorite beaches, and quickly locate other nearby beaches in the case of a water quality advisory at their favorite beach.

To download the myBeachCast app, go to Currently in the beta testing phase, the app retrieves advisory and closure data from the states of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, all of which utilize BeachGuard, a centralized reporting database for monitoring data collected by health departments across each state. Data from the other Great Lakes states will be incorporated in time for the app’s full launch in May 2012.

Ohio Beach Coordinator Corey Schwab, with the Ohio Department of Health, is excited about the new app and sees it as a welcome complement to his state’s existing beach information resources, which include a website and Facebook page. “I am anxious to promote the app to our constituents,” Schwab says. “Offering beach advisory and closure notifications in a mobile platform is a tremendous resource for the Great Lakes region.”

The app was designed for the Android platform by LimnoTech, a water resources and engineering company based in Ann Arbor, Mich., in partnership with the Great Lakes Commission and the states. A mobile-enhanced website available on the Great Lakes Information Network will offer complementary information for other mobile devices. Funding is being sought to develop a corresponding native app for the iPhone.

“The Great Lakes Commission is pleased to provide this new service for the beachgoing public and as a tool for the states to better promote our Great Lakes beaches and protect human health,” says Great Lakes Commission Executive Director Tim Eder. “We hope it’s beneficial not only for the beach management community but also for the business and tourism sectors in our region.”

Comments and feedback on the beta app can be sent via email to The development team encourages the Great Lakes community to download and use the app through conclusion of the 2011 beach season and provide input and suggestions.

Data providers who are contributing to the beta version of the myBeachCast app include the states of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, BeachGuard, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by James Tierney, assistant commissioner for water resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at