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. We advocate 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 LWWC is more than a group of passionate and engaged environmentally focused organizations – we are a bridge that connects Detroiters to legislators, residents to opportunities, and most importantly, the present to a sustainable future.


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Detroit’s available land, access to fresh water and its resilient residents are among its most precious assets. 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, the 24 miles that are vacant have the opportunity to be transformed into an integrated, open-space network that can foster a uniquely sustainable city that creates jobs with pathways to prosperity, provides physical and mental health benefits, and improves 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 wastewater treatment system.

When GSI installation and maintenance increases in scale, it creates a variety of jobs across several sectors, including designing, supplying and contracting. Through GSI implementation to address stormwater overflow into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers that connect to 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.



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

Over the course of our first year, the Land + Water WORKS Coalition (LWWC) engaged and activated Detroiters in the Green Culture Shift through an educational campaign centered on land and water stewardship and green stormwater infrastructure (GSI).

This campaign will reach these goals through educational community outreach and GSI installation and advocacy.


Land + Water WORKS Coalition Research

The LWWC is working with local GSI implementers to develop a set of standardized best practices for rain garden and bioretention design to ensure maximum return on investment for implementing successful installation in Detroit communities. We are creating a set of best practices for measuring effectiveness and monitoring performance. A report detailing these findings will be released widely in Fall 2018.


Click here to access Resources and Materials.


Land + Water WORKS Coalition Ambassador Program

The Land + Water WORKS Coalition is back for another year of exciting programming and we’re kicking it off with the launch of our 2019 Land + Water WORKS Ambassador Program. After a competitive application and interview process, we are proud to announce our 2019 Land + Water WORKS Ambassadors. Our third cohort is comprised of community members and non-profits throughout Detroit’s seven districts. This dynamic group of community change agents will participate in an intensive eight-month program where they will learn the principals of land and water stewardship through lectures and hands-on experience.


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Lessons will cover many topics, including:

Introduction to Land +Water Stewardship

Introduction to Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Native Plant ID 101

Understanding our Soil

Composting 101

An Introduction to Rain Gardens

Rain Barrel Construction Workshop

Downspout Disconnection Certification provided by Friends of the Rouge

Water Smart Trainer Certification provide by EcoWorks Detroit


Ambassadors will also be participating in technical skills development workshops aimed at increasing their neighborhood leadership capacity. These sessions will focus on community engagement planning, public speaking, grant writing, and more. The program kicks off on April 23 and will run through the end of December.


With their newfound knowledge, ambassadors will work to engage 10,000 Detroiters in vital conversations about how to become better stewards of our land and water along with the role we all play in creating a green culture shift in Detroit.

Land + Water WORKS Rain Garden Workshop & Planting Series

Learn how you can be a part of Detroit’s sustainability movement and protect our waterways by planting a rain garden! Register today for this educational opportunity.


Over the course of this series, you’ll learn about:

– Detroit’s water system and the role GSI can play in maintaining healthy waterways and creating vibrant communities

– What makes these gardens ‘stormwater management’ all-stars

– Plus more!


Thank you to those who participated in our 2019 Workshop Series! If you are interested in our 2020 Workshop Series, please click here to join our mailing list.




Detroit Property Owner's Guide to Bioretention

Click here to access and download the guide.

Have you tried to understand stormwater management in Detroit?


Are you interested in installing a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practice on your property, but need more information about how to get the project done?


Would you like to invest in a GSI practice that could beautify your property and potentially improve your bottom line through a DWSD drainage credit?


If so, the Detroit Property Owner’s Guide to Bioretention is for you.


This guide will be particularly useful for small business owners, nonprofits and faith-based organizations in Detroit who are looking to retrofit or add a GSI practice to their existing property. This guide will provide details on how to plan for and implement a bioretention basin on your non-residential property to better manage stormwater.


Click here to learn more about the Guide.

Presenting our 2019 Land + Water WORKS Ambassador Program

Nonprofit Ambassadors

Bailey Park Project

Chandler Park Conservancy


Genesis HOPE

Greening of Detroit

Mary Turner Center for Advocacy


Michigan Science Center

The Charles H. Wright Museum

Urban Neighborhood Initiatives


Residential Ambassadors

Kristy Allen

Deborah Stewart Anderson

Cheryl Anderson-Small

Deanne Austin

Antionette Bailey

Alicia Franklin

Jake Graham

Asia Hamilton

Douglas Holmes

Roland Leggett

Nealmetria Loper

Faith Maximillan

Donna McDuffie

Angela Newsom

Yumeika Perry

Christina Ridella

Renee Smith

Deborah White

Stephan White

Yvonne Willis

Join Us!

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

Our Coalition Partners

Click to learn more about Alliance Click to learn more about the Eastside Community Network Click to learn more about EcoWorks




Click to learn more about Friends of the Rouge Click to learn more about The Greening of Detroit Click to learn more about Keep Growing Detroit



Click to learn more about Michigan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength Click to learn more about Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision Click to learn more about Sierra Club - Great Lakes Program

Detroit Property Owner's Guide to Bioretention

Manage stormwater on a non-residential property.
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The Field Guide to Working with Lots

View the full, interactive Field Guide online now.
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Growing Detroit's African American Middle Class

Introducing a new metric for equity.
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Detroit Future City Strategic Framework

The Blueprint for Detroit's Future.
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