The Great Lakes region may not be known as a hot bed of extreme weather events like those that buffet the Plains or swamp the coasts. But the Midwest is girding for climate change.
From Milwaukee to Cleveland, cities are figuring out how to absorb and otherwise minimize the “billion dollar storm event” damage that has become a fact of life across the U.S.
“Since 1980, we’ve seen a 5% increase in one-billion-dollar disasters nationwide,” Katy Lackey of the Water Environment Research Foundation noted at Cleveland State University’s Water Resilient Cities event this week.
The opportunity to do something about it drew hundreds of government and private sector leaders.
They discussed what insiders call the “blue economy.” What’s that? In part, it’s adaptation strategies to help anticipate how massive storms will contaminate and overwhelm coastlines, backyards, rivers and lakes. There’s also an interesting debate whether “green infrastructure”—engineered wetlands and rain gardens—can reach significant scale to replace “gray”—the big, expensive underground pipes being build by sewer districts.
Here are images of some cool green infrastructure presented at CSU. The kind that even those who don’t wonk out on this stuff can appreciate and want to grow more of in Northeast Ohio.