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Archive for the ‘Green Infrastructure’ Category

WMSA and a coalition of partners recently announced a project to bring 50 electric vehicle charging stations to West Michigan. Details about the effort  can be read in this news release.

There has also been some good media coverage, including FOX  17 and the Muskegon Chronicle.

Some of the coverage has sparked interesting reader comments and questions. What do you think? Will more charging stations help boost use of electric vehicles in the region? Will an infrastructure of charging stations be an economic benefit for the region?

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WEST MICHIGAN, October 27, 2010—As part of its ongoing Green Infrastructure Initiative, and in collaboration with the Land Information Access Association and the Michigan Association of Planning, the West Michigan Strategic Alliance has launched a ‘Tool Shed’ – an online collection of green infrastructure planning and preservation best practice tools.  The address for the Green Infrastructure Tool Shed is: http://www.greentoolshed.org/

A green infrastructure tool is a resource that informs or helps planning officials make decisions about managing the six types of environments that are the focus of the Green Infrastructure Initiative: shorelines, forests, farmland, watershed, biodiversity, or green urban space. Tools include documents, checklists, model ordinances, booklets, websites, and programs. Users are encouraged to submit tools that they have used or developed, so that best practices may be shared throughout the region. 

“The Tool Shed provides examples of what has worked, challenges faced, sample documents and templates, and general information about the preservation of environmental assets,” says Elaine Sterrett Isely, WMSA Green Infrastructure project manager. “The site will help local and regional decision-makers as well as the general public to preserve, protect, and manage our valued outdoor features in West Michigan.”

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Michigan is now #1 in the U.S. for Rail to Trail miles with  2,478 miles, followed by Minnesota  2,309 miles, and Wisconsin coming in at 3rd with 1,788 miles.

This does not take into consideration the other types of trails and bike paths.

Source: Jeffrey Mitchell, Van Buren County Road Commission

Don’t forget to check out the recently released West Michigan Parks & Recreation Inventory at: www.wm-alliance.org/parks

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A Celebration…

20th Anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990,

5-year Progress Report of the Green Suppliers Network Program,

and the new West Michigan E3 Initiative

Hosted by Steelcase Inc., The Right Place, Inc./MMTC-West and Sustainable Research Group, LLC

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10:00 – 1:00 p.m. (includes lunch)

Followed by plant tours from 1 to 3:30 pm for a limited number of guests.  Please see details on the agenda below.


Steelcase University Learning Center

901 44th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Please join West Michigan manufacturers and energy providers at this event to:

  • Celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Pollution Prevention week.
  • Discuss the accomplishments of West Michigan manufacturers in “lean and green” efforts through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Suppliers Network program.
  • Discuss the intent to launch an E3 (Economy, Energy, and Environment) initiative in West Michigan, a federal, state and local collaboration focusing on manufacturing growth, energy efficiency and environmental performance.

Agenda (10 am – 1 pm):

Integrating Sustainable Principles into West Michigan Manufacturing Greg Northrup, President, West Michigan Strategic Alliance
Pollution Prevention, the Green Suppliers Network and more Jim Jones, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
What is E3 and how does it complement the Green Suppliers Network? What are the Michigan-specific resources to support these efforts? Tom Murray, Senior Scientist and  Chief of the Prevention Analysis Branch, EPA’s Pollution Prevention Division, and Laura Rauwerda, Senior Environmental Analyst, Michigan Department of Natural Resources & Environment

How energy efficiency helps West Michigan

Consumers Energy
Lean and Green Manufacturing and theExtended Value Stream – Waste Reductions and Cost Reductions along the Supply Chain Jack Puricelli, Director, Supply Chain Management, Steelcase
Why Sustainability is important to Steelcase(and how pollution prevention has evolved into new opportunities) Jim Keane, President, Steelcase Group, North America
Lunch (12 – 1 pm)
Optional plant tours (1 to 3:30 pm) – theExtended Value Stream

(limited spots available)

1:15 – 2:15 pm: Steelcase Kentwood East Plant; then

2:30 – 3:30 pm: Magic Steel (with presentations from Mike Welch, VP, Magic Steel, and Bill Small, VP, The Right Place Inc., & Regional Manager, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West)

No cost to attend this event. Seats are limited so please RSVP by Friday, September 24, 2010, and indicate whether you would also like to attend the plant tours.

Please RSVP to:  powersn@rightplace.org or 616-771-0327

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It was nice to read that West Michigan is a national leader on sustainability in a recent column in MiBiz written by Jesse Brimmer, sustainable business consultant.

In “West Michigan sets the national standard” Brimmer recounts the LEED certifications and other activities that set our region apart from others in the country with regard to green building and other sustainable practices. But what most impresses us at WMSA is the noted collaboration between business, government, and educational institutions. Cross-sector collaboration is the core of our mission, and the key to success in our green infrastructure and other initiatives. We applaud those who work together toward common goals that benefit our region.

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For the past two weeks, we have enjoyed the Grand Rapids Press coverage of the Grand River Expedition. As the primary goal of the Expedition is to raise awareness and appreciation of the river, we applaud the breadth of articles and photographs on the topics covered in this series.

The Grand River is an important natural and cultural resource for our region and for our state. It supports a variety of fish and wildlife, and offers us sustenance, recreation, and beauty. Unfortunately, it also continues to suffer from polluted runoff and other water quality problems. The Grand flows through more than 150 communities, and drains more than 5,500 acres of land. The responsibility for cleaning up, and then maintaining a healthy Grand River cannot fall on the one or the few.

The more we know and understand about these and other issues affecting our natural resources, the more likely we are to support efforts and initiatives targeted at protecting and preserving them.

We hope to see additional stories about environmental topics affecting those of us who live, work, and play in West Michigan.

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WMSA has named Elaine Sterrett Isely the new project manager of the Green Infrastructure initiative.

You can read more about Elaine in our news release, or an interview from today’s edition of Business Review.

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