Huron-Clinton Metroparks Announces First Formal Climate Action Plan
In recent years, Michiganders have experienced climate events unlike ever before.
Memorable examples include experiencing flooding and heavy rain events, where 3-5 inches fall across the region in less than 24 hours. In August 2023, more rain fell in the metro Detroit area in one day than what is normally seen throughout the entire month. This concentrated rainfall causes sewer overflows and backups into household basements, and water run-off into streets and parking lots. Shifts in winter weather are also causing unexpected changes and damage. In February 2023, a major ice storm in Southeast Michigan caused infrastructure damage and power outages across the region, while high winds and ice interrupted the winter holiday in 2022. We are experiencing forest fires in the state and also combatting bad air quality concerns from major fires happening across Canada. July 2023 was the hottest July on record. These types of events have become increasingly common across our region.
“While the Huron-Clinton Metroparks does not have all the answers to the challenges posed by climate change in Southeastern Michigan and beyond, we are dedicated to taking every possible action to mitigate its impact on our region.” Says Metroparks Director, Amy McMillan “That is why we are launching our very first formal Climate Action Plan. This plan leverages community members’ and expert consultant’s feedback to set initial goals to help us address some of the concerns and impacts of climate change while protecting our regional natural resources and local communities for years to come.”
As weather events in our corner of the region become more extreme, air and water quality become increasingly worrisome, and the residents of our region become interested in actively combatting the impact of climate change on our daily lives, it’s time for the Metroparks to act with intention and focus. This announcement comes just weeks after EGLE released the 2023 Michigan State of the Great Lakes Report and the state released the Annual MI Healthy Climate Plan Report that both focus on the importance of protecting and improving water and climate.
The Metroparks first formal Climate Action Plan is centered on addressing the needs of the region, both within park boundaries and in the communities they serve. Input was actively sought from residents and partners who shared their concerns, needs, and ideas. Some of those main concerns were:
- concerns of how to plan for the weather uncertainty being experienced
- concerns for the health of themselves and loved ones
- concerns about being unable to enjoy beloved activities regularly such as hiking, cross country skiing, or swimming due to seasonal changes
Over the next five years, the Metroparks will concentrate on five key goals that reflect the region's priorities and leverage organizational strengths:
- Goal 1. Education and Engagement: Increase and embed climate action education across all areas of the Metroparks through sharing of knowledge, engaging with others, collaborating with partners, and forming connections with stakeholders, to make real world difference across the Metroparks and throughout our region.
- Goal 2. Preservation and Conservation of Natural Resources: Protect and enhance natural resources to ensure longevity of important ecosystems in a changing climate, to preserve these resources for the benefit of future generations.
- Goal 3. Water Quality: Enhance built and natural stormwater infrastructure in preparation for increasingly intense storms and support the protection of water quality.
- Goal 4. Transportation: Reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation vehicle miles traveled and provide equitable transportation options to and within the Metroparks to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Goal 5. Waste Management, Recycling, and Composting: Decrease the amount of waste going to landfills by increasing efforts internally and with the public to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle materials.
Learn More at metroparks.com/climate-action-plan/.