Muskegon Lake Eco-EMS
Ports facilities are highly concentrated industrial areas near water and contain a variety of facilities including container terminals, boat repair shops, and industries related to the transportation of goods. However, the role of ports and their potential for improvement of environmental quality is relatively unexplored. Ports have a unique position between land and water, government and industry, public and private, and economic and environmental issues, which could be a powerful catalyst in fostering more sustainable practices and improve environmental quality and economic growth around Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.
As a result, the Lake Michigan Forum is encouraging a dialog between port and marina representatives, Forum members and other Lake Michigan stakeholders. Initially, the Lake Michigan Forum would like to discuss how ports could improve environmental quality in Lake Michigan. Issues to be explored could include:
- The role of ports in mitigating the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species;
- Pollution prevention (source and non-point source) along the shoreline as well as toxics reduction;
- The use of Port Authorities to stimulate sustainable economic development.
To this end, the Lake Michigan Forum tasked the Delta Institute, facilitator of the Forum, with benchmarking the environmental footprint of port and marina operations along Muskegon Lake. Delta employed its ecosystem-based, environmental management systems (ECO-EMS) approach to document the emissions and discharges from facilities that have port operations or entities that directly service port operations, such as railroads. This document is the first product from the Lake Michigan Forum’s Sustainable Ports Initiative.
The Lake Michigan Forum hopes that the environmental benchmarking of Muskegon ports and marinas will lead to the development of an implementation plan to address identified priorities. The implementation planning process will include the identification of stakeholders to participate in the project and give guidance to the realities of the area and the feasibility of implementation. The stakeholders would assist in creating a local consensus for port project and act as a unified entity while implementing activities in their own operations.