Lawrence Technological University has teamed up with the Erb Family Foundation on a campaign to increase awareness of water quality issues affecting the Detroit metropolitan area specifically and the Great Lakes region generally.
Associate Professor Donald Carpenter of the Department of Civil Engineering, who is also director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at LTU, is directing the campaign that includes a series of articles and photo/video essays produced by Issue Media Group through its online publications, metromode.com and modeldmedia.com. In addition, a speaker series on campus is planned.
The underlying premise for the informational campaign is that there is lack of public education about preservation of water resources. “The water cycle and watersheds are covered through seventh grade, but functional knowledge is lost by the time most people are in college,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter assembled a panel of experts on water issues to guide the Issue Media Group journalists in the development of their series of eight articles and four photo/video essays. He is also organizing the series of speakers.
In the past the Detroit region has treated the Great Lakes and their adjoining waterways as assets to be exploited for industrial production. A prime example was the creation of Ford Motor Company’s Rouge complex at the confluence of the Detroit River and the Rouge River in the 1920s. It took advantage of Great Lakes shipping for the delivery of raw materials and also used tremendous amounts for water for its production processes, thereby becoming a major source of water pollution.
In recent years the Rouge complex has undergone a complete transformation and is now a showcase of green infrastructure. It has the world’s largest green roof and many other water management techniques and biodiversity improvements.
Another theme of the series will be the importance of actions taken by individuals. “Cumulatively, individual actions play a huge role in affecting water quality in the Great Lakes Basin. The water flowing off your driveway has far-reaching influence,” Carpenter said.
Read the first three reports in the Model D series at these links: