Waterways at Risk: How Low-Impact Development Can Reduce Runoff Pollution in Michigan


The Public Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM), in coordination with American Rivers, released a report documenting the risks that development poses to Michigan’s water quality. The way we currently build our developments, maximizes surfaces that are impervious to water, such as roads, roofs, and parking lots. This type of development treats stormwater like a waste product, channeling high volumes of water and pollution into rivers and streams.

The pressures that development is putting on waterways in Michigan are significant, but they are not without solutions. Properly managed development, that maximizes both the use of building space and the preservation of critical watershed areas, is vital to preserving and improving the water quality of Michigan’s rivers and lakes. Additionally, innovative new methods of stormwater management, using more natural methods, are currently available. These methods collect water, filtering it into the soil, rather than channeling it straight into our rivers and streams. This reduces the impact that both new and old developments have on water quality.

In order to keep our rivers and streams healthy in Michigan, and across the nation, we need to start treating stormwater like a resource, not a waste product.

Read the full report (PDF)