Environmental Sustainability Information

The City of East Grand Rapids has a history of commitment to environmental sustainability with a more recent goal of achieving carbon neutrality for city operations by 2040. Environmental stewardship and sustainability are present in the city’s mission and guide its current strategic goals. Various initiatives and programs that are active or in-progress within the City of East Grand Rapids recognize the importance of prioritizing sustainability and address these community goals. The City of East Grand Rapids is taking action towards carbon neutrality through the following programs:

 

DTE and City of East Grand Rapids Clean Vision Partnership: Active/Current Program

Goal: To offset 100% of City of East Grand Rapids natural gas carbon emissions 

 

Through entering a partnership with DTE, The City of East Grand Rapids became the first municipality in Michigan to participate in DTE’s Clean Vision Natural Gas Balance voluntary program. This program involves purchasing Renewable Natural Gas-Environmental Attributes (RNG-EA) and Nature-Based Carbon Offset Credits (COCs). In order to create a greater impact on the local level, the RNG-EA component is obtained from the City of Grand Rapids Biodigester (which the City of East Grand Rapids partners with) and COCs are sourced from the Pigeon River forest near Gaylord, MI. The City of East Grand Rapids opted for 95% carbon offsets and 5% renewable natural gas which together create a 100% offset of natural gas carbon emissions. Estimates before program implementation concluded that the City of East Grand Rapids consumes 14,092 MCF of natural gas which is 776 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. As a result of this program, 100% of the emissions generated by the City of East Grand Rapids will be offset. This will cost the city an additional $21,151 annually; however, the positive environmental impacts offer a much greater reward. 

 

Equivalent: (Insert EPA equivalency chart)

 

Evaluation is conducted by Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) Thermal Tracking System verifies the RNG-EA component of the program and the American Carbon Registry (ACR) tracks the nature based COCs. This evaluation process ensures that DTE and the City of East Grand Rapids adhere to the program goals of 100% carbon offsetting. 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Facility On-Site Solar Array: Partnership with BluePath Solar/ Harvest Solar: In-progress 

 

Goal: Generate electricity to reduce carbon emissions impact and reduce electric utility costs

 

The City of East Grand Rapids is currently in the process of installing a solar array for city-owned facilities in coordination with roof replacements. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been established between the City of East Grand Rapids and BluePath Solar. Harvest Solar, a vendor within BluePath Solar, will install and manage the solar systems. BluePath Solar will remain the owner of the solar array under the PPA. The term of the PPA is 25 years, with the potential for renewal for two, 5-year extensions. Under the PPA, there is no direct cost to the City of East Grand Rapids during the initial 25-year term ; however, it is estimated that the savings for the City of East Grand Rapids will be approximately $241,000. The solar array is estimated to generate 24% of the current electricity usage annually for the Community Center/Municipal Complex, Library, Public Safety Building, (Department of Public Works Complex?)facilities. The solar array system for the Department of Public Works Complex is estimated to generate 100% or more of the current electricity usage annually. 

 

Equivalent: (Insert EPA equivalency chart)

 

Evaluation: The electricity output during the 25-year initial term will be measured by Harvest Solar’s meter which must be a revenue grade meter that meets ANSI-C12.20 standards for accuracy. The City of East Grand Rapids will have access to the metered energy output data. 

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Food Scraps Composting Pilot Program: Active/Current Program

 

Goal: To reduce the amount of food scraps that are disposed of through traditional methods such as incineration or a landfill.

 

The City of East Grand Rapids currently offers residents a food scrap compost drop-off site located at the East Grand Rapids Department of Public Works Complex. This program is provided by the city and is offered at no cost to residents. Participants in this program are provided with 24/7 access to the site via a third-party smartphone app Teleporte. The unique lock-access system, security cameras, and LED lighting ensure the safety of the site and eliminate possible contamination. At the site, there are six 96-gallon composting carts. Composting services are provided by an independent contractor, Organicycle LLC. Currently, there are approximately 160 participants in this drop-off program.

 

In addition to the drop-off site, Organicycle offers curbside/ home pick-up composting services to residents of the City of East Grand Rapids. Curbside composting services, however; do have an associated cost for service. The City of East Grand Rapids encourages composting through participation in the food scrap drop-off site or curbside composting services, in an effort to reduce food waste and materials that would contribute to carbon upon incineration or other traditional disposal methods. Material that is composted by Organicycle is currently supplied to local farmers to enrich soil as an alternative to synthetic fertilizer products. 

 

 

Equivalent: (Insert EPA equivalency chart or other visual that provides a comparison of carbon reduction etc. as a result of program).

 

Evaluation: The City of East Grand Rapids evaluates the success of the program through information regarding site access provided by Teleporte. This information includes the number of households who dropped off compost and the total drops during a given time period. 

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Partnership With Hage Automotive, of Detroit, MI: Active/Current

 

Goal: To provide four Level 2 Electric Vehicle charging stations in the City of East Grand Rapids. 

 

Through entering a partnership with Hage Automotive, of Detroit, MI, the City of East Grand Rapids is able to provide four Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in two locations within the city, at no cost to the city. Two charging stations are located at the Community Center (by Mehney Field) and two are located at the City parking lot on Croswell in Gaslight Village. Residents and visitors alike are able to utilize these charging stations. Electric vehicles provide an environmentally-sustainable alternative to gasoline-powered cars because EVs have zero tailpipe emissions. In addition, the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with an electric vehicle (including manufacturing) are typically lower than those associated with a gasoline-powered vehicle (EPA). By providing four electric vehicle charging stations in various locations, the City of East Grand Rapids is working to reduce carbon emissions and noise levels within the city. This initiative will likely have positive economic benefits as well because EV owners will have an incentive to stay and explore the restaurants, shops etc. that East Grand Rapids offers while their vehicles are charging. 

 

Equivalent: (Insert visual highlighting differences in EV and gasoline-powered vehicles).

 

Evaluation: The City will maintain parking spaces through snow removal and pavement markings. In addition, the City will receive revenue sharing from charging stations. This will indicate the extent of charging station use.

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Environmental Initiatives: Impact ReductionActive/Current

 

Goal: To reduce the environmental impact of city buildings and processes.

 

The City of East Grand Rapids practices environmental sustainability in both substantial and small ways. Regardless of the scope of the project, the City of East Grand Rapids is committed to reducing the environmental impact of city buildings and processes. This includes the installation of storm sewer separators at John Collins Park in Gaslight Village, the Community Center/Municipal Complex, and the Wealthy Street- Blodgett Hospital. Storm Separators remove sediment, oil, refuse, and debris from Reeds Lake, Fisk Lake, and the Silver Creek Drain System. Specifically, the installation of a Vortechs stormwater treatment system removes sediment, oil, and debris from stormwater runoff prior to outfall into Reeds Lake. In the winter, sensors determine the need for salt on the roads which has the potential to pollute the local water systems. If the temperature indicates that the use of salt on roads would be ineffective, it is not used. In addition, public food composting and recycling at Gaslight Village and parks encourages alternative methods of waste disposal.  

 

East Grand Rapids Community Center LEED Silver Certification: Active/Current

 

Goal: To ensure that the community center has a low environmental impact.

 

The City of East Grand Rapids has implemented various initiatives and procedures that reduce environmental impact as a result of city buildings and processes. One indication that the city is committed to impact reduction is the East Grand Rapids Community Center LEED Silver Certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system that provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. To achieve certification, a project is assessed and scored on a point system regarding adherence to carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, and health and indoor environmental quality standards. The East Grand Rapids Community Center Received LEED Silver Certification demonstrating that the aforementioned topics are prioritized. To be awarded with a LEED Silver Certification, 50-59 points must be earned upon assessment. 

 

Evaluation: Projects are evaluated by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) to achieve LEED certification.  

 

Lower Grand River Watershed Adopt-a-Drain program: Active/Current

 

Goal: To protect watershed from pollutants, manage stormwater, and minimize flooding

 

There are over 50,000 storm drains that are a part of the Grand River Watershed. Many of these storm drains are located in the City of East Grand Rapids. Stormwater from rain, snowmelt etc. flows into drains that deliver it to nearby lakes, rivers, or streams. The Adopt-a-Drain program encourages residents to positively impact their community. Participation in the Adopt-a-Drain program involves keeping your drain free of leaves or other debris. Participants will ensure that their drain is free of trash, leaves, or other debris and that approximately 10 feet on both sides of the drain is clear. 

 

Evaluation: The number of drains available in the Adopt-a-Drain program, along with the water quality of nearby lakes, rivers, or streams will determine the success of the program. 

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Yard Waste Collection ServicesActive/Current

 

Goal: To collect materials for composting and to ensure visually appealing properties.

 

The City of East Grand Rapids offers yard waste collection services to all East Grand Rapids residents from the Monday of the first full week of April, through Friday of the first full week of December. The Public Works Department provides this service on a weekly basis. A detailed map regarding the collection schedule can be found here. Additional seasonal services such as autumn leaf pickup and Christmas tree pickup are provided as well. All material that is collected through these programs is sent to a composter. The city purchases back this composted material for construction and other maintenance restoration uses. The circularity demonstrated in this process, due to the city being involved in both the initial material collection and the final compost product, contributes to the environmental and sustainability goals of East Grand Rapids. The compost material is collected from the city and the final product is used for various purposes within the city, therefore the impact is at a local level. 

 

Evaluation: The number of residents participating in this program and the amount of composted material that the city purchases back will demonstrate how successful this program is. 

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Urban Forestry ManagementActive/Current

 

Goal: To ensure the proper maintenance and management of trees in the public right-of-way area.

The City of East Grand Rapids prioritizes tree maintenance and management practices in the public right-of-way area. Proper management strategies and programs can improve both public health and environmental quality. A tree inventory conducted by the Davey Resource Group in 2016 indicated that there were a total of 7,113 urban forest sites (including trees and stumps). This quantity of trees is responsible for improving air quality by removing 15,245.3 pounds of pollutants and managing 9,975,209 gallons of stormwater. In addition, the net total carbon sequestered and avoided is 4,410,593 pounds and 1,251.2 megawatt-hours of energy saved. To ensure that the tree population located in the public right-of-way is in good condition, the City of East Grand Rapids has implemented a right-of-way tree pruning maintenance program, and a right-of-way tree planting program.

 

Tree Pruning and Maintenance Program: The City of East Grand Rapids has awarded a contract to Good Earth Tree Care, LLC of Grand Rapids to complete the tree maintenance for right of way trees during winter and early spring months. The cost to the city will not exceed $20,000 and the contract can be renewed for up to three years (this is currently the second year). This program ensures that the tree population is in good condition and can continue to fulfill associated benefits such as visual appeal and pollution reduction.

 

Tree Planting Program: The City of East Grand Rapids has awarded a contract to Harder and Warner of Caledonia, MI for fiscal years 21/22 through 23/24. Interested residents are offered the opportunity to participate in this program which is based on a 50/50 cost share between the requesting property owner and the City. This program allows residents to have a new tree planted in the public right-of-way area (which is defined as the area between the sidewalk and curb) in front of their home. The trees are typically planted in the fall, between October and December. A variety of tree planting options are offered to promote a healthy and diverse tree canopy. These options include red horse chestnut, juneberry, thornless cockspur hawthorn, Japanese tree lilac, greenspire little leaf linden, gingko, tulip tree, zelkova, skyline locust). The program includes trees that are 2” in diameter and are between 12-14 feet tall. The program costs vary and are typically $16,000 to $28,000 depending on the number of participants. The trees include a 2-year warranty; however, there are exceptions including trees that die as a result of not being properly watered, or damaged by lawn equipment etc. Residents who participate in this program are required to care for the newly planted tree, which includes watering etc. 

 

Evaluation: The success of the urban forest management strategies are evaluated by determining the total number of trees planted and removed from the population. This provides information regarding the total tree population and the net change. If the total number of trees being removed are less than or approximately equal to the total number of trees planted in the public right-of-way areas, the management strategies are relatively successful. In addition, the success of the tree planting program will be evaluated according to the number of residents that participate in the program each year. The City of East Grand Rapids will conduct the evaluation on the urban forest maintenance and management strategies. 

 

 

Green Infrastructure Programs: Active/Current

 

Goal: To minimize risk of flooding and contamination of local waterways. To increase wildlife habitat in the City.

 

Locations of stormwater detention sites: Breton Downs Elementary School, Kreiser Detention Basin, Boston, Elinor Lane

 

The stormwater detention sites in the City of East Grand Rapids are located throughout the city and minimize the risk of flooding and contamination of local waterways. The stormwater detention sites collect and store water, often filtering it through soil layers, before releasing it into local waterways. The detention sites have a high capacity and therefore do not overwhelm the storm drains etc. which could lead to flooding. By allowing natural elements, such as soil, to filter the stormwater, there is a reduction in the amount of sediments that enter local waterways such as Reeds Lake. In addition, many of the stormwater detention sites serve multiple purposes within the City. The Breton Downs Elementary School location acts as both a playground and a stormwater detention site. The sloped land grading at this site accommodates the stormwater detention system and storm drains located on the street ensure that if the stormwater detention system reaches capacity, flooding would be minimal. Other stormwater detention sites such as the Kreiser Detention Basin, a partnership with the City of Grand Rapids,   serve as wildlife habitat. This type of stormwater detention site is protected from development and preserved mostly in its natural state. Therefore, local flora and fauna are protected and undisturbed at these sites. The stormwater detention sites within the City of East Grand Rapids minimize flooding risk and contamination of local waterways and increase wildlife habitat in the City as well as the lakes, rivers, and streams. 

 

Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts: Art Projects in the City of East Grand Rapids:

The City of East Grand Rapids has partnered with the Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts nonprofit in Grand Rapids to bring awareness to water quality issues and management practices in the City of East Grand Rapids. Various art projects are conducted in the City of East Grand Rapids around storm drains to create both a visually appealing sidewalk or street and raise awareness for water and sustainability issues. In addition to accomplishing these two goals, the artists that create these murals receive appropriate monetary compensation for their work. 

 

Evaluation: The City of East Grand Rapids conducts inspections to ensure the quality of the stormwater detention sites.

 

Electric Vehicles for Municipal/Government OperationsIn-Progress

 

Goal: To transition the city motor vehicle fleet to electric vehicles 

 

The City of East Grand Rapids is currently in the process of transitioning the city motor vehicle fleet to electric vehicles. The city has purchased three F-150 Lightning Supercrew Electric Vehicles that are expected to arrive in 2024. The Department of Public Works, the Department of Public Safety, and the Parks and Recreation Department for Grounds Maintenance will each receive one of the new electric vehicles. These vehicles will be tested in various city operations and will provide necessary feedback regarding the overall experience and effectiveness of the electric vehicles. This will help determine the need for electric vehicle fleet purchases in the future. The total cost of these vehicles is $223,500 through the MiDeal purchasing program. Electric vehicles have many advantages in comparison to a traditional gasoline powered vehicle. These advantages include lower costs for fueling and maintenance over time (typically over 50% lower costs), reduced vehicle emissions which improve local air quality and health, opportunities for economic development, improved resiliency and emergency preparedness, and an overall reduction in the carbon footprint of the City of East Grand Rapids. 

 

Evaluation: The evaluation of the effectiveness of the F-150 Lightning Supercrew Electric Vehicles will be conducted largely by the Department of Public Works, the Department of Public Safety, and the Parks and Recreation Department. This will indicate the need for electric vehicle fleet purchases in the future. 

 

 

City of East Grand Rapids Rain Gardens: Active/Current and In-Progress

 

Goal: To minimize stormwater runoff, improve water and environmental quality, and increase the native plant population in the City of East Grand Rapids 

                                                

The City of East Grand Rapids is in the process of creating additional rain gardens in the city. Currently, a rain garden is located in John Collins Park, outside of Rose’s. The rain garden primarily consists of native plants and works to improve both water and environmental quality. The rain garden acts as a filter for runoff and potential contaminants that would otherwise enter Reeds Lake and reduce the water quality. In addition, the rain garden protects the shoreline from erosion and degradation by increasing its riparian buffer zone (the natural area on the edge of a body of water). The City of East Grand Rapids is in the process of developing additional rain gardens surrounding storm drains in the residential areas of the city which will accomplish these same goals. 

 

Evaluation: The success of the rain gardens will be evaluated through water quality testing programs at the City of East Grand Rapids and the amount of stormwater runoff present. 

 

 

  What can you do?- Individual Action

 

The City of East Grand Rapids is committed to environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality initiatives. Although the city designs and provides programs that align with these goals, these programs are somewhat limited to city buildings and functions. The City of East Grand Rapids encourages residents to participate in the environmental sustainability programs that are offered; however, there are many sustainability measures that require individual action.

 

  • Participate in city composting and yard waste collection programs.
  • Participate in the Adopt–a-Drain program.
  • Plant native plants/gardens
  • Use phosphorus free fertilizer on lawns and gardens.
  • Wash your  car at a car wash facility or over your lawn/permeable surface.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste properly
  • Recycle 
  • Choose reusable options over single-use plastic when possible.
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store/shopping.
  • Reduce energy consumption (switch to LED bulbs, lower the thermostat if possible or when you are not home, reduce “phantom load” by making sure that appliances are off when you turn them off. Plug devices into a power strip and turn off the power strip before you go to bed. Unplug electronic device chargers or small appliances such as toasters and coffee makers when not in use). Reducing energy consumption helps to reduce environmental pollution and it has cost saving benefits. 

Reeds Lake Monitoring

The city conducts water sampling and analysis of the water quality of Reeds Lake each year. The samples are taken both in the winter and summer seasons at various locations and depths of the lake. The results are reviewed by an Environmental Scientist to evaluate the lake conditions.

For up-to-date water temperature for Reeds Lake, click here and see temperature listed next to "2nd Temp."

Foam on Lakes-A Naturally Occurring Phenomenon-EGLE

Reeds Lake Treatment

The city continually monitors and treats Reeds Lake to control algae and the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil, curly pondweed, purple loosestrife, and European frog-bit.

2023 European frog-bit update:  Efforts towards eradicating European frog-bit (EFB) in Reeds and Fisk Lakes have been underway since 2016 and will continue in 2023. This is a joint response effort between the City of East Grand Rapids, Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division, PLM Lake and Land Management, and the West MI Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA). To date, response efforts have been able to remove all EFB from Fisk Lake and have seen minimal regrowth within the channel between Reeds and Fisk Lakes which were heavily infested previously. In 2023, response efforts will be similar to 2022 and include using a combination of hand removals and herbicide treatments focused on the remaining patches of EFB within Reeds Lake. These target areas include portions of the lake front around Waterfront/Gilmore Park and John H Bonnell Park. Both regions have dense wetland vegetation and are acting as nursery habitat for EFB plants. Crews will be frequently monitoring and conducting treatments of EFB throughout the growing season (May-October). You may observe staff wading, kayaking, or boating around the shoreline and wetland areas.  If you would like more information, please contact Bill Keiper, EGLE keiperw@michigan.gov.

Flood Plain Map

Flood Plain maps are available from the Federal Emergency Management Association's website, or can be viewed the in the Public Works Department office 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW)

The City of East Grand Rapids is a partner with LGROW.  Educational and best practice information is available at www.lgrow.org

Information about LGROW's regional lakes and stream data repository can be found here.

Additional Resources:

LGROW Landscaping Brochure

How to Report Water Pollution

More Information

Detailed information concerning these programs is available by contacting the Public Works Department.

Recycling and Hazardous Waste Disposal 

For information on recycling and hazardous waste disposal in Kent County, please visit: www.recyclekent.org 

State Laws and Regulations on Reeds Lake

For information on your public rights on Michigan Waters, click here.

To view "The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities", click here.

To view the State of Michigan approved special inland lake regulations by county in Michigan, click here.