To better understand the socioeconomic, environmental, and political dynamics that impact the success of agricultural conservation programs in Southeast Michigan, Delta Institute compiled and summarized data on producer demographics, land use, cropping area, tenure status, conservation practices, and conservation program participation and outcomes.
This project aims to reduce excessive phosphorus loading in the Kalamazoo River Watershed associated with agricultural sources through a market and performance-based agricultural incentive program. Performance-based programs can provide a more targeted approach to investing in conservation when program funding is limited.
This project addressed sediment loading associated with agricultural sources, such as cropland erosion, livestock access, and road/bridge crossings that impacts habitat and water quality in the Rabbit River through a performance-based program for implementing agricultural best management practices. In addition to targeting sedimentation, the project also provided co-benefits of addressing other pollutants such as nutrients and pathogens, largely stemming from livestock access, and pesticides/chemicals, resulting from cropland erosion.
Through a robust partnership between the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Delta Institute, our initiative will create a new community hub, called the Centro de Solidaridad Mi Villita, to provide 100,000+ Chicagoans with the means to create a robust local economy based on solidarity and equity. This project was a Finalist for the first Chicago Prize, the $10M award competition held in 2020 by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. Although we did not win the competition, we remain committed to a sustainable future for Little Village.
Recreational beaches around the Great Lakes have experienced significant erosion due to high water levels, more intense storms, and other conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently selected six sites within four municipalities to be eligible for pilot participation and receiving sand for restoring beaches. Under this federal pilot project, each of the municipal park districts must decide whether they wish to receive the dredged sand from outside Waukegan Harbor. To support these communities, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program provided funding to Delta Institute and GEI Consultants.
Delta Institute has worked within Gary for years—decades even—with dozens of local community partners who are essential to our collaborative efforts’ success. Many of our supporters are familiar with Delta’s efforts to create Steel City Salvage , our deconstruction project that saves reclaimed materials from vacant buildings going to landfill—instead selling them to spur economic development within the City of Gary. Specifically, Delta has worked to establish a sustainable marketplace for these salvaged items–which includes everything from old growth lumber to wall sconces to church pews. We are committed to ensuring that materials from Gary benefit Gary, and that operations remain within the City to provide another route for ongoing economic development.
Delta Institute released our Toolkit for Using StoryWood on December 12th ahead of the holiday season. We encourage you to use its release as a reminder to appreciate all material gifts – big and small – as every material has a story, and wood is no different.
Stormwater runoff from parking lots, roadways, buildings, and other impervious surfaces carries oils, grease, pesticides, sediment, and excess nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen into groundwater and nearby natural bodies of water–including to Lake MIchigan through watershed tributaries. Due to the increased frequency and severity of storms as a result of global climate change, volumes of stormwater runoff continue to increase.
Roughly 50,000 acres of the 1.5 million total acres of conserved land in Illinois are owned by non-governmental conservation groups, also known as conservation land trusts. Traditionally, conservation land trusts have protected land, often restored it, and later transferred it to government entities for long-term ownership, which effectively transfers the responsibility of land stewardship to those governmental entities.
Delta Institute—with partners including the Croatan Institute—released Soil Wealth: Investing in Regenerative Agriculture across Asset Classes, the most comprehensive look to date at investment opportunities in regenerative agriculture.