Forum: Race, Class, Culture, & Diversity in Environmental Organizations

posted Mar 16, 2015, 5:13 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Mar 16, 2015, 5:24 PM ]

Organic Wine Tasting Fundraiser - Monday, October 27

posted Sep 30, 2014, 3:04 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Sep 30, 2014, 3:04 PM ]

Enjoy a fun evening tasting Michigan organic wines paired with Italian delectables and viewing the Art4Detroit exhibition at the Swords into Plowshares Gallery and Peace Center on Monday, October 27. Donations from the event will support Sierra Club's Great Lakes program, which is celebrating its 30th year in protecting an international treasure!

Space is limited so reserve your spot here, ($30 suggested donation per person)

In Detroit, Sierra Club works to protect our community from flooding and climate change while also helping to protect, restore, and preserve the water resources of the Great Lakes. We advocate for the widespread use ofgreen infrastructure solutions, which helps prevent rain water from going down the storm drain. A few examples include rain barrels, rain gardens, trees, and green vegetative roofs. Sierra Club's team of volunteers encourages the use of green infrastructure solutions at the individual, neighborhood, and city levels to prevent sewage and polluted runoff from harming the Rouge and Detroit Rivers and Lake Erie. During the wine tasting, you will learn more about these efforts and have a chance to bid on some silent auction items, including a rain barrel.

If you cannot make this event, we will certainly miss you but please do not let that stop you from making a donation to this great cause.

Schedule for the Evening of Monday, October 27:

6:30 to 7pm Registration (suggested donation of $30 per person)

7pm Welcome and explanation of tasting and silent auction (includes a rain barrel)

7:10pm Let the tasting of Michigan organic wines paired with Italian delectables begin! (Wines include: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Nois, Pinot Gris, and Ciderye)

8:30pm Silent Auction ends

Green Your Neighborhood Forum - October 15, 2014

posted Sep 29, 2014, 10:22 AM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program

Community Meeting: Protect Your Community & Rivers from Pollution!

posted Jan 30, 2013, 12:23 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Jan 30, 2013, 12:26 PM ]

If you're on Facebook, RSVP here.  Find pdfs of the Permit Notice, Fact Sheet, and Draft Permit below.

New Water Agenda Aims to Improve & Protect the Detroit River

posted Jul 31, 2012, 5:21 AM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program

The Detroit Water Agenda 2012 is the result of a community-driven process to create sustainable development policies to improve and protect the quality of the Rouge and Detroit Rivers and Lake Erie.  That process was spearheaded by the Water Sub-committee of the Detroit City Council Green Task Force, which is chaired by Councilmember Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr. and composed of residents, businesses, environmental non-profits, and other community organizations.  A copy of the document can be found below.

Rate Payers Want Incentives for Green Efforts in Detroit

posted Jul 25, 2012, 2:30 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Jul 25, 2012, 3:07 PM ]

Residents Deliver Petition Signatures to DWSD Board of Water Commissioners to Create Incentive Program for Rain Gardens, Green Roofs, Permeable Pavement & Rain Barrels


At today's Detroit Water & Sewerage Department's (DWSD) Board of Water Commissioners meeting, Sierra Club presented 1,000 petition signatures from residents in the city that encourage the department to create a rewards program that offers incentives or credits to residents and businesses that use green water infrastructure techniques to capture stormwater.  Green water infrastructure refers to any technique that allows rainwater to be absorbed into the ground rather than being directed by roofs or pavement into the city’s sewer system.  Examples include planting rain gardens, installing green roofs, using permeable pavement, and much more.

“Unfortunately, it only takes an inch of rainfall to overwhelm Detroit’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, resulting in combined sewage overflows into the Rouge and Detroit Rivers, which then pollutes one of our Great Lakes, Lake Erie,” commented Melissa Damaschke, who is a Community Organizer for Sierra Club’s Great Lakes Program.  “Individuals and businesses know they can protect the quality of Detroit’s rivers by making an investment to plant rain gardens or install green roofs.  However, water rates have more than doubled in the past ten years and assistance is needed.  Residents and businesses want monetary incentives for their efforts similar to credit and incentive programs that exist in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Minneapolis, and other communities across the Great Lakes region.”

A short list of credit and incentive programs can be found in the document below.

Find Native Plants at Eastern Market & Protect the Great Lakes

posted May 18, 2012, 6:56 AM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated May 18, 2012, 7:07 AM ]

Sierra Club teamed up with Eastern Market and Friends of the Rouge to identify and label native plants sold at the market with stickers that say, "native plants improve water quality."  Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to identify which plants are native to southeast Michigan for your gardens.  Generous support for this program is provided by the Erb Family Foundation.

You can visit Eastern Market this Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 from 7am to 5pm to find the stickers on plants. See an example of how the plants will be labeled to the right.

Why native plants? Native plants are recommended because they are adapted to the wet springs and dry summers of the region.  The root systems of most native plants are deep and help to loosen the soil which improves the ability of water to filter into the ground.  This makes native plants perfect for rain gardens and for absorbing rainwater, which helps prevents stormwater pollution into our rivers and lakes.

We encourage you to take Sierra Club's Green Garden Pledge to show your support for protecting our water.  Take the pledge here.

If you need more information about native plants or how to plant rain gardens, join us for one of our upcoming workshops.  You can also download Sierra Club's rain garden guide here.

Earth Day Bike Ride Brings Over 30 Participants to Tour Detroit's Green Water Infrastructure

posted Apr 23, 2012, 8:51 AM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Apr 23, 2012, 9:29 AM ]

Pictures can be found at this link

News story in The Huffington Post found at this link


Sierra Club teamed up with the Detroit Branch of the NAACP to host an Earth Day bike tour of green water infrastructure examples in Detroit.  The bike ride began with U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke and Simone Lightfoot from the NAACP addressing over thirty participants about the importance of restoring and protecting our Great Lakes while also working to secure jobs for our community.  Sierra Club’s Southeast Michigan Group Outings Leaders Cindy Gunnip and Douglas Christie led the bike ride while Great Lakes Program Organizer Melissa Damaschke narrated the tour.  It was a bit windy but a lot of fun!


When’s the next bike tour?  Sierra Club's Outings Program and Great Lakes Program are partnering to host the same 12-mile bike ride on Saturday, May 12 at 1pm.  Sign up here.

Success on the Riverfront!!!

posted Apr 16, 2012, 4:17 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Apr 17, 2012, 11:18 AM ]

Rain Barrels on the Riverfront (April 14, 2012)

Sierra Club teamed up with the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and Maxi Container to host a rain 
barrel workshop and sale.  Detroit City Councilman Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. kicked off the event by sharing his efforts through his Green Task Force to protect the Detroit and Rouge Rivers.  After that, about 100 participants were broken up into five smaller groups with five volunteer trainers, where they learned how to reuse old pepper barrels into rain barrels.  After participants learned how to make rain barrels, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy disconnected one of Rivard Plaza's downspouts from the sewer system to their rain barrels.  (BTW - We did the math and we figured out that they will prevent over 15,000 gallons of rainwater from entering the sewer system with their two barrels!  This means that they will help protect water quality AND it will also save them money on their water bills for all the flowers they need to water.  It's win, win!)  Participants that attended also took Sierra Club's Great Lakes Pledge to connect their rain barrels when they got home. Overall, it was a fun morning and a great event.


Residential Rain Garden in Detroit

posted Nov 9, 2011, 5:41 PM by Sierra Club Great Lakes Program   [ updated Aug 18, 2013, 8:44 AM ]

It's a residential rain garden in Detroit!!! Sierra Club recently partnered with Friends of the Rouge and the Burris family to plant this rain garden.  You can find more pictures at Sierra Club's Great Lakes Program Facebook Page.

Rain gardens help protect our Great Lakes. This rain garden takes rainwater from the home's downspout preventing it from going into the stormdrain. In a community, such as Detroit, with combined sewers, rain that goes into the stormdrains frequently causes combined sewage overflows. This rain garden will absorb the rainwater and prevent it from going into the stormdrain.

You can find a draft of our new rain garden guide here.

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