LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Green Communities (MGC) program has released a template sustainability plan for Michigan local governments.
This suite of template resources was designed for municipalities and counties to evaluate their local operations, ordinances and policies and create a plan for advancing environmental sustainability in their communities. It is a product of the MGC program, was developed with the Michigan Municipal League and is designed to serve the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Catalyst Communities program.
The template resources were funded by a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and developed by the Great Plains Institute. The suite of sustainability plan template resources includes an internal-facing sustainability workplan; a public-facing sustainability plan template; a one-page progress report template; and a user guide. A focus group of Michigan cities, villages, townships, and counties provided input on the development of the suite of template resources.
The template resources align with the MGC’s annual sustainability benchmarking program the MGC Challenge. It offers three levels of certification: Bronze, Silver and Gold, which are awarded based on progress towards action items across nine categories.
By using the template, communities can create a sustainability workplan across the nine MGC Challenge categories: Planning for Inclusive and Lasting Impacts; Climate Resilience and Adaptation; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Responsibly Managing Materials; Sustainable Land Use and Economic Development; Improving Health Outcomes; Protecting and Conserving Water Resources; Support Clean and Inclusive Mobility; and Inspire and Mobilize Residents, with options to customize the template depending on the needs and preferences of communities.
The internal-facing sustainability workplan will be useful for local government staff and/or sustainability committees to track and plan their sustainability actions, while the accompanying public-facing templates will allow municipalities and counties to better communicate their sustainability progress with community members, partners, funders and neighboring communities.
The template also includes instructions and guidance to help communities create a community profile that compiles data about residents and geographic areas that may be more vulnerable to environmental hazards.
“In the moment we are in, with numerous federal and state climate and infrastructure funding opportunities, participating in the MGC Challenge in combination with sustainability planning will be tremendously helpful for local governments in Michigan to more easily identify and apply to the right funding programs for them,” says Danielle Beard, Michigan Green Communities Program Coordinator.
The next reporting period for the MGC Challenge will be open from January 1–May 1, 2024. The template resources are available for anyone to download on the Michigan Green Communities website at: www.migreencommunities.com/plan.
EGLE will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, December 13 from 11–12 p.m. for all local governments in Michigan to hear from MGC Program staff to learn more about the MGC Challenge, program basics and a tutorial on using the template resources. Click here to register for the webinar.
Michigan Green Communities is a sustainability networking, benchmarking and technical assistance program. All aspects of the program are available to all Michigan local governments at no cost. The program guides and supports municipalities and counties in adapting to a changing climate, protecting infrastructure, improving the quality of life for residents and creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable future for the state of Michigan.
Michigan Green Communities is supported by EGLE, MEDC, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Association of Counties, the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Townships Association.
More details can be found at www.migreencommunities.com. Questions regarding the Michigan Green Communities program and the Sustainability Plan Resource Kit can be directed to Danielle Beard, Michigan Green Communities Program Coordinator at [email protected]. Media inquiries can be directed to Morgan Schwanky, Content Developer, Marketing and Communications at the Michigan Municipal League at [email protected].