Green Stormwater Infrastructure: A Natural Response to Climate Risk
CGLR Mar 17 Event Summary

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Green Stormwater Infrastructure: A Natural Response to Climate Risk Across the Great Lakes Region–March 17, 2021 event hosted by the Council of the Great Lake Region

The combination of antiquated approaches to real estate development, loss of forest cover, outdated hydrologic conveyance systems, and increasingly extreme changes in weather patterns in the region, have led to massive flooding issues and declining water quality in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, among others. 

‘Green Streets’ and other similar Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practices are a demonstrable solution to filtering stormwater runoff and increasing water retention in soil and groundwater. Rather than corralling and controlling water through a ‘gray’ system of gutters, sewers, and pipes, GSI relies upon a systemic framework of green spaces, parks, and pervious surfaces and has rapidly emerged as an affordable, effective component of resilient water infrastructure across the Great Lakes.  

Sanjiv Sinha, Ph.D., P.E. outlines myriad options for green stormwater infrastructure.

 On March 17, the Council of the Great Lakes Region hosted a discussion with:

  • Sanjv Sinha, Ph.D. P.E., Sr. VP & Board Member, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT)
  • R. Paul Herman, CEO & Founder HIP Investor
  • Ron Harris, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota

The discussion included a briefing from the newly released report Climate Risks and Opportunities in the Great Lakes Region, a product of Resilient Infrastructure Sustainable Communities (RISC), funded by the Great Lakes Protection Fund. The report provides a clear approach for prioritizing green infrastructure investment and innovative approaches to financing it.

Paul Herman, CEO HIP Investor, provides clear funding options.

Clear financing options and approaches for sustainable communities exist, which Paul Herman clarified with numerous examples.

‘Financing Sustainable Cities Report’ by USDN, HIP Investors, and City of Palo Alto http://www.hipinvestor.com

About the Speakers:

Sanjiv Sinha, Ph.D.

Sanjiv K. Sinha, Ph.D., P.E. is a Senior Vice President & a Board Member at Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT), an employee-owned, multidisciplinary engineering consulting firm based in the United States. A frequent presenter on topics related to climate resilience impacts and economic instruments within the infrastructure market, he aspires to make these ideas mainstream.

Currently, he manages a Great Lakes basin wide resilience initiative called Resilient Infrastructure Sustainability Communities (RISC, www.risc.solutions) and is credited with helping initiate two of the largest green stormwater infrastructure projects across the nation (an upcoming $60 Million environmental impact bond for Buffalo Sewer Authority, and a $20 Million community-based public private partnership for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District).  In 2020-2021, Dr. Sinha served as the vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Delta Institute, a nonprofit based in Chicago; and as an advisor to the WaterWorks Fund, an equity crowdfunding start-up that is focused on meeting water infrastructure/technology financing needs. Previously, he was the chairman of the Board of Directors for Alliance of the Great Lakes. 

R. Paul Herman, CEO and Founder, HIP Investor
is a globally recognized leader and author in sustainable finance, impact, ESG, and SDG measurement — including gender and diversity metrics — and investing to pursue positive impact and profit.

HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Investor produces and licenses 130,000 impact investment ratings of 10,000 global equities, 119,000 muni bonds, and 1,000 mutual funds and ETFs, including for 401(k) plans. HIP also manages diversified, fossil-fuel-free portfolios for investors.  Herman is the author of The HIP Investor book (Wiley, 2010) and co-editor and co-author of the Global Handbook of Impact Investing (Wiley, 2021), both available in print and e-book, and both dedicated to the strong women of the world.Herman is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, advised Boards and executives while with McKinsey and Company, found and funded social entrepreneurs at Ashoka.org, and shaped and measured impact investments at eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Network.  Herman is an advisor to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Net Impact and Sustainable Brands. 

Ron Harris, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis where he leads the development and implementation of the City’s resilience strategy with a

key emphasis on racial equity, economic inclusion, and climate change adaptation. Prior to this role, he served as the Senior Advisor to the City Council President where he was instrumental in researching and negotiating public policy including the city’s first municipal minimum wage increase, it’s innovative plan for economic growth, and efforts to reduce violence in the community. His career has been dedicated to social justice through the lenses of civic engagement, electoral politics, public private partnership, and philanthropy.  In addition, Ron is a sought after public speaker focused on creating inspiring experiences and sparking personal and professional transformation.

To read a summary of the RISC report, click here.