Small harbor communities along Michigan coasts face a combination of fluctuating water levels, changing economic conditions, and changes to funding for harbor infrastructure, all of which threaten the long-term viability and sustainability of the communities.
Micihgan Sea Grant funded a research team to identify and address barriers to the sustainability of small harbors. Michigan Sea Grant, in collaboration with state partners and researchers, facilitated community visioning sessions, or “charrettes,” in several Michigan communities. These collaborative visioning sessions, which involved members of the public and local officials, resulted in development of 20-year plans that focus on the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of each community’s harbor. The communities have used deliverables from the visioning exercises and toolkit (including the newly created guidebook) to help direct municipal investment and identify community development opportunities.