Agricultural land management decisions are situated within a complex and interconnected system, influenced by a suite of social and economic factors, many of which are difficult to control. Landowners can, but often don’t, take it upon themselves to drive stewardship of their land. This report focuses on land ownership and tenure as levers to increase conservation and rebuild soil health in the Midwest, where over 50% of the agricultural land is leased.
Delta’s Gary Green Infrastructure Plan is a two-year project focused on assisting the City of Gary with planning and implementing Green Infrastructure designs, identifying 61 Priority Projects to install 26 acres of rain gardens, permeable pavements, street planters, and other GI designs, collectively reducing the negative impacts of 132 million gallons of stormwater annually.
Delta is designing new soil-health loan vehicles to allow farmers to more easily transition to regenerative agricultural practices. We have 5 loans underway in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, and are seeking to scale in the year(s) ahead. Our project is enabling investments in—and therefore increasing the scale of—regenerative agriculture.
Delta Institute secured funding from Cook County to perform an energy audit and LEED assessment of the Museum. As a non-standard building type, the Museum was one of the most challenging LEED projects Delta Institute has pursued. It achieved LEED Gold certification and received the Governor’s Sustainability Award in 2015.
Collaborating with Midwest communities to aid in their waste reduction efforts is one of Delta’s core initiatives. That is why we are pleased to have released our Demystifying Waste report with support from the EPA and the Building Material Reuse Association.
Delta Institute is an expert with construction and demolition waste reduction, recycling, reuse, policy and economic development. The City of St. Louis, St. Louis Development Corporation, the Missouri Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority, and Region 7 EPA selected Delta Institute to revise its demolition handbook, develop specifications for deconstruction, train contractors around building material reuse, and plan a deconstruction pilot program.
Delta has enjoyed a long-term partnership with the Sanitary District of Michigan City and the Alliance for the Great Lakes to fund stormwater, ecological restoration, and recreation improvements at Michigan City’s Cheney Run. A 40-acre site surrounded by wetlands, Cheney Run is a primary source of stormwater-related pollution that ends up in Trail Creek, a major tributary that feeds into Lake Michigan.
With our partners, Delta Institute is planting hybrid poplar trees on the former Bear Brand Hosiery Plant, a five-acre brownfield site with petroleum contamination that lies within the Grand Calumet Area of Concern in Gary, Indiana. The hybrid poplars are expected to grow rapidly and absorb and break-down the petroleum contamination within the soil. The planted trees will take up significant amounts of water, reducing stormwater run-off into Lake Michigan and returning this vacant industrial site to productive use.
Delta and the City of Hobart have implemented GI installations throughout the city, including a courtyard rain garden at Hobart Middle School, a parking lot rain garden and permeable pavement in the front and backsides of Hobart City Hall, and a large bioswale in the city’s Hillman Park.