Phytoremediation in Muskegon, MI

Brief Overview of What We’re Doing

Delta Institute established a hybrid poplar tree farm on brownfield sites in Muskegon, Michigan which integrated environmental improvement with community economic development. In 2013, Delta planted 3,000 hybrid poplar trees which are able to take up or stabilize environmental contaminants, like heavy metals, chlorinated solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can find their way into a community’s drinking water. Even to this day, these trees are reducing stormwater runoff, which the EPA identified as the most important remaining uncontrolled source of water pollution.

Once the poplar farm is mature, the trees can be harvested and sold locally, creating economic opportunity within the local community. This project supports Delta’s ecosystem stewardship objective and demonstrates how green infrastructure strategies can yield both environmental and economic benefits to communities and regions.


Delta Institute is grateful to the U.S. Forest Service for supporting these efforts.

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