Enhancing Sustainability at Lower Huron Metropark
Urban parks throughout the nati on are recognizing the need to become more sustainable environments, moving beyond their traditi onal roles. The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, which oversees 13 parks spanning 24,000 acres across fi ve counti es in Southeast Michigan, recognizes that its operati ons currently lack a detailed sustainability plan. While the Metroparks are a valuable environmental resource for the surrounding area, current practi ces are impacti ng human and natural systems. With the HCMA’s mission in mind, a sustainability plan for Lower Huron Metropark was developed, detailing sustainability initi ati ves that can be integrated with the park’s natural and built environments. The hope is that this plan can serve as a model for enhancing sustainability at the other Metroparks. This sustainability plan outlines recommendati ons for enhancing the environmental, economic, and social benefi ts provided by the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. Aft er selecti ng Lower Huron as the study park, fi ve issue areas (energy, water, waste management, stormwater management, and educati on) were chosen as the focus of the report. Lower Huron’s baseline was analyzed in each of these areas, followed by the research of precedent studies. The Metroparks of the Toledo Area and Portland Department of Parks and Recreati on are two organizati ons highlighted which have embraced sustainability measures throughout their operati ons. Finally, potenti al opti ons for implementati on were evaluated against specifi c criteria and recommendati ons of the most benefi cial opti ons were made. The criteria used to evaluate each opti on included project cost, site appropriateness, economic benefi ts, social benefi ts, and environmental benefi ts. The recommendati ons made include a system for increased data tracking, the installati on of a solar awning, the expansion of sustainability educati onal programs for children, the development of a waste reducti on policy, the capture and treatment of stormwater on site, and the installati on of water and energy effi ciency measures at park faciliti es.