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Macomb Community College awarded state environmental grant to reduce stormwater runoff into Clinton River watershed

– Wednesday, October 5, 2016 12:00AM

Green roof, tree grove and rain gardens to be installed at its Warren M-TEC

A nearly $66,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will fund a greening project at Macomb Community College’s Michigan Technical Educational Center (M-TEC) in Warren to improve water quality in the Red Run tributary of the Clinton River watershed. The initiative consists of four projects that include two rain gardens, a green roof and a tree grove.

The initiative includes educational components, with Macomb using the project areas as hands-on learning laboratories for its academic programs in civil technology, geology, architectural design and green building construction, as well as in its College for Kids, which offers engaging, short-term learning opportunities for those 3 to 17. The Clinton River Watershed Council will create community outreach and educational opportunities.

“Obviously, the initiative has a positive environmental impact, but perhaps equally as important are the educational opportunities these projects provide,” said Randy Young, associate dean of Arts & Sciences, Macomb Community College. “Not only will our professors incorporate these hands-on laboratories into their curriculum, but community members also have the opportunity to see what they can do to address stormwater runoff as well.”

Working with a consulting civil engineer, Macomb will design the projects to capture rainwater and to provide natural filtration before the water enters the watershed. Two rain gardens – planted with drought-resistant native plants that are also water absorbent – will effectively capture and filtrate stormwater from most rainfalls. They have the capacity to capture stormwater from a storm that drops as much as three inches of rain, thus eliminating as much as 12,000 gallons of water from entering the stormwater system. The rooftop garden should capture at least one inch of rainfall – which represents approximately 75 percent of all rain events. The tree grove will covert compacted turf grass to drought-resistant native trees and plants, which will result in a 50 percent reduction of runoff from that area.

“Stormwater runoff is the greatest source of water pollution in the Clinton River and its tributaries,” Young said. “These projects are a modest beginning, but they emphasize the college’s efforts to mitigate stormwater runoff into the Red Run subwatershed and the Clinton River Watershed.” 

On installation, the two rain gardens and the green roof will produce immediate impact, while the tree grove’s impact will increase as the root systems spread and deepen.

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College (www.macomb.edu) is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 44,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: Tish Wirth, 586.445.7560, wirthp@macomb.edu