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Earth Day Detroit: Sierra Club, NAACP Offer Bike Tour Of City's Green Water Infrastructure

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GREEN ROOF DETROIT
A green roof, like the one shown here in New York City, is one example of green water infrastructure. An Earth Day tour sponsored by the Sierra Club and NAACP will highlight some of Detroit's green water infrastructure.EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images) | EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

The Sierra Club's Outings Program and the Detroit Branch of the NAACP are teaming up to offer an educational outdoor option to celebrate this year's Earth Day. The two organizations will take Metro Detroiters on a 12-mile bicycle tour of Detroit's green water infrastructure solutions for the April 22 environmental holiday.

Green water techniques help prevent seepage of sewage and storm water that can spill into the Detroit River and flow into Lake Erie.

"Green water infrastructure is cheaper than traditional infrastructure and helps beautify the community," said Melissa Damaschke, a Sierra Club spokeswoman. "And the best way to talk about this is to get people outside to see it."

Damaschke said Detroit has many great examples of green water efforts that have the support of local businesses and community groups. She noted the city's water department is beginning to embrace the concept.

"I've seen in last five years more and more examples of green water infrastructure," she said. "We're seeing how it can be incorporated on a larger scale."

The outing will kick off at Rivard Plaza on Detroit's riverfront with some brief Earth Day remarks by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, followed by a discussion about sewage and storm water pollution.

Then participants will take off on a moderately paced ride that includes locations along the riverfront, in Midtown and on the east side (see map below). Along the way, riders will get a chance to see examples of green roofs, rain barrels, constructed wetlands, rain gardens and a technique called permeable paving that allows air and water to move around path-making materials.

The tour is BYOB -- bring your own bike -- and rentals are available at Wheelhouse Detroit, which is located at Rivard Plaza.

The Green Water Infrastructure Tour lasts from from 1 to 4 p.m. Helmets are required and $1 donation is suggested. All riders will get a map of the route and a spoke card for their bicycles . The groups are also planning follow-up rides through the month of October for those who can not make the Earth Day events . For more information call 313- 965-0055 or visit www.sierraclub.org/greatlakes/detroit.

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