Land + Water WORKS Coalition

Land + Water WORKS Coalition Summary

The Land + Water WORKS Coalition (LWWC) was formed in 2017 to provide Detroit residents with the resources needed to become better stewards of our own environment, as well as operate as a liaison that engages residents around green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) opportunities and stewardship. The coalition advocates for sustainable land and water use practices to promote healthy and equitable communities and to provide economic benefits through the implementation of GSI.

Our coalition members represent many aspects of water conservation and education, community organizing, community open space planning and vacant land transformation. The coalition is more than a group of passionate and engaged environmentally focused organizations – it’s a bridge that connects Detroiters to our legislators, residents to opportunities, and most importantly, our present to our sustainable future.


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Among Detroit’s most precious assets are its available land, access to fresh water and resilient residents. The city continues to evolve and adapt to a changing environment, including the challenges of aging infrastructure. Of Detroit’s 139 square miles of land, 24 square miles of that land is vacant and has the opportunity to be transformed into an integrated open-space network has the potential to foster a uniquely sustainable city that can create jobs with pathways to prosperity, provide physical and mental health benefits, and improve air and water quality.

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is an alternative approach to wet weather management that uses land and buildings to control stormwater runoff in ways that transform vacant lots into open spaces amenities. GSI can also reduce the occurrence and severity of floods, enhance the attractiveness and value of a property and could decrease the cost of operating the waste water treatment system. When the installation and maintenance of GSI increases in scale, it creates a variety of jobs across several sectors, including jobs for designers, suppliers, and contractors. Through the implementation of GSI to address stormwater overflows into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers that flow into our Great Lakes, Detroiters have the opportunity to lead the green culture shift of the future.


Mission and Vision


The Land + Water WORKS Coalition connects Detroit residents to our water system to help them become a part of a shared sustainable future through innovative engagement strategies that deepen understanding and develop advocates of green stormwater infrastructure and an equitable green infrastructure economy.


Land + Water WORKS coalition supports Detroiters in becoming active and conscious stewards of our land and waterways in order to create a healthy community and improve the quality of life for all Detroiters.

What We Do


Over the course of our first year, the Land + Water WORKS coalition will engage and activate Detroiters in the green culture shift through an educational campaign centered on land and water stewardship and green stormwater infrastructure.

This campaign will reach these goals through educational community outreach, installation of green stormwater infrastructure and advocacy.

Land + Water WORKS Coalition Ambassador Program

The Land + Water WORKS Ambassador program is a dynamic community educational network of 45 neighborhood leaders and local nonprofits that are working to engage our family, friends, neighbors and stakeholders in conversations on land and water stewardship and how they can help make Detroit the greenest city in the nation. Over the course of five months, the ambassadors will receive ongoing training in land and water stewardship, green infrastructure and home water audits.

The ambassadors’ goal is to help residents understand how using innovative GSI approaches can solve our land and water challenges. Through this work, Land + Water WORKS Ambassadors help to lead the way to a more sustainable city.

Land + Water WORKS Coalition Research

The Land + Water WORKS Coalition is working with local green stormwater infrastructure implementers to develop a set of standardized best practices for rain garden and bioretention design to ensure maximum return on investment for implementers and successful installation in Detroit communities. The team will also create a set of best practices for measuring effectiveness and monitoring performance. A report detailing these findings will be released widely in Fall 2018.

Upcoming Events

Land + Water WORKS Coalition Forums

Join us for the Land + Water WORKS Forum, a series of six community conversations and resource fairs. Pick the date, time, and location below, that’s most convenient for you!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

District 6: St. Gabriel Catholic Church

Click here to register.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

District 2: Gesu Gatholic School

Click here to register.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

District 3: Ford Resource & Engagement Center

Click here to register.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

District 5: Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern

Click here to register.


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Fresh water and land are two of the most important natural resources we have on earth. In Detroit, we are taking steps to improve the city’s water quality and transform its open space. Starting Monday, March 26, learn how to become land and water stewards, and to protect our environment for generations to come through the transformative use of green stormwater infrastructure.

Join us for the Land + Water WORKS Forum, a series of six community conversations and resource fairs. Learn from community groups that have installed green stormwater infrastructure projects. Participants will learn about the issues facing Detroit’s waterways and how land-based solutions can positively impact our community from improving water and air quality to increasing economic opportunities.

Participants will meet with organizations including Detroit Future City, The Eastside Community Network, EcoWorks, Friends of the Rouge, Sierra Club Great Lakes, Great Communities, Keep Growing Detroit, Michigan Community Resources, The Greening of Detroit, Detroit Land Bank Authority. This event series is sponsored by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. Free parking is available on site at all locations with refreshments provided. For more information, contact Hannah Colborn at 313.949.6837 or

Learn more about upcoming Land + Water WORKS forums.


Land + Water WORKS Coalition Workshops

Now – June 2018

The “Rain Gardens to the Rescue” workshops are free to the public and presented by Friends of the Rouge and Sierra Club.

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From now until June 2018, the Land and Water WORKS workshops will provide information to residents about how to implement wet weather management project to mitigate stormwater runoff and limit the strain on DWSD’s combined sewage system.

The “Rain Gardens to the Rescue” workshops are free to the public and presented by Friends of the Rouge and Sierra Club. They will focus on the installation of rain gardens with nonprofit partners across the city. Residents will have the opportunity to participate in classes that demonstrate how to build a rain garden at selected nonprofit sites. The application for nonprofits to participate as host sites will open in mid-March 2018. Registration will open in April 2018.

Learn more about upcoming Land + Water WORKS workshops.

Get Involved

Join us!

Stay up-to-date on how to create a greener, healthier and more sustainable Detroit.

Our Resources


The Land + Water WORKS Coalition wants to support you in becoming a land and water steward of Detroit’s natural resources through green stormwater infrastructure!

Resources and Materials

Our Coalition Partners