Oakland County - Green Infrastructure Scorecard
||Is Oakland County working to conserve natural landscape function and integrity?|
Oakland County has completed a nationally-recognized Green Infrastructure Initiative which identifies critical, sensitive natural areas in the County and puts forth a vision for how these areas interrelate and function. The plan can be used as a conservation map as well as a tool to guide future development so that it will have minimal impact on sensitive woodlands, wetlands, trails, and parks. The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to conservation, selected Oakland County’s vision for its National Green Infrastructure Implementation Award in February, 2011.
An important facet of green infrastructure stewardship is the restoration of natural landscape function. Oakland County has received a $100,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Grant to “green” the Oakland County Campus grounds. This money will enable the restoration of native landscapes on County grounds by planting trees, prairie grasses and perennials along waterways and lawn areas. The project will increase habitat, improve water quality, and decrease lawn maintenance needs, thereby saving energy and money. A second $100,000 GLRI grant obtained by the County will improve green infrastructure in local communities through planting trees in areas with degraded tree canopies. Trees absorb air pollutants and provide habitat for wildlife, supporting the function of a healthy green infrastructure system.
The County’s trails and recreation lands provide anchors to Oakland’s green infrastructure vision. Oakland County leads the way in trails development, recreation, and natural area stewardship. No matter where you are in Oakland County, you are never very far from a trail, park, waterway, or natural area. By setting a vision and supporting local communities in implementation, Oakland County is leading the way in stewardship of these resources, creating a world-class green infrastructure asset that transcends Oakland County’s diverse living environments.
||Is Oakland County working to support conservation and reduction of energy use?|
Oakland County is leading the way in energy conservation and efficiency. The County has saved or avoided over $4 million in utility bills since 2005 by implementing energy-saving measures. The County’s Executive Office Building has attained the EPA Energy Star Building label. The County has set a further goal of 15% reduction in energy in the next two years.
Inspired by this success, in 2010 L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive, issued an OakGreen Challenge to County businesses, residents, local governments and schools, asking them to reduce their energy use by 10% by the end of 2012.
In support of the initiative, the County is offering educational resources and an OakGreen website which serves as a central clearinghouse for information on energy efficiency. The County is convening representatives from Cities, Villages and Townships (CVTs) to help identify where the County and the CVTs can best coordinate and leverage resources to advance energy efficiency.
Oakland County has also made use of its Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program to construct a green airport terminal at the Oakland County Airport. The new terminal will feature wind power, geothermal power and rainwater reuse for irrigation.
Alternative Energy is Oakland County’s second-fastest growing Emerging Sector (after Medical Main Street). A total of $345 million has been invested in the County, creating and retaining over 3500 jobs in companies such as Altair Engineering, Ovonic Battery Company, and Windstar Power Company. Oakland County will work to expand this sector in 2011 by partnering with the new Southeast Michigan Advanced Energy Efficiency Center for Excellence (also known as Cleantech), an alternative energy incubator launching soon in Troy.
Obtaining food from local sources is a great way to save energy and support local farmers. In 2010, Oakland County completed a Local Food Resources of Oakland County map which identifies farmer’s markets, orchards, cider mills, honey producers, U-pick spots, dairies, meat distributors, community gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) in the County. In October of 2010, Oakland County hosted a harvest festival to celebrate local food initiatives in the County, and began offering community gardening classes. The County is planning to convene meetings of local food entrepreneurs in 2011 to share resources and support the development of the local food sector.
On our County campus, in the community, and through our economic development efforts, Oakland County is leading the way towards a brighter, cleaner and more energy-efficient future.