The SRA (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) provides a framework for partnerships between citizens, businesses and governments to solve resource concerns, manage and utilize resources wisely. Services provided by the SRA vary from time to time, based upon resource concerns and needs within southeast Michigan.
The SRA (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) worked with the USDA Forest Service to promote safe firewood production and use in Michigan. This project included educational programming, the creation of an online directory of firewood producers, and new firewood treatment research in cooperation with Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry.
The Firewood Scout website has continued under the SRA to expand the on-line firewood directory to include firewood producer information for other states, making it a national effort to encourage the use of local firewood sources.
Ash Utilization Options Project
The Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) created a positive response to the state’s emerald ash borer outbreak by helping communities and businesses to find more value in their dead trees. Through demonstrations, research, trainings, and outreach the SRA has shown how lumber, flooring, and other valuable products can be made from ash trees killed by this devastating forest pest.
Conservation Buffer Initiative
The Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) provided access to soft engineering and conservation buffer techniques and technology through a Clean Water Act, section 319 grant that offered workshops and demonstration projects throughout the seven-county area to assist local people in learning and applying these valuable conservation practices.
Conservation Easement Management
The SRA assisted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by administering invasive species control measures on the Lakewood Farms wetland conservation easement to restore the habitat for the State of Michigan threatened Blanchard’s cricket frog (Acris blanchardi). Work also included monitoring of the frog population and other flora and fauna during the control of Phragmites (Phragmites australis). This project was completed in September, 2018.
Converting Existing Boiler Plants to Wood Energy
Through a cooperative project with the USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center and Wilson Engineering Services, the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) conducted a multi-stage project to identify opportunities for converting fossil fuel boilers to wood energy. This project reviewed boiler databases in Michigan and other states and incorporatee the use of life-cycle analysis (LCA) as a tool in evaluating potential wood and wood/solar thermal energy projects. Webinars on wood energy and LCA strategies were conducted in July and August of 2016 as a final stage of this project.
Michigan Wood Energy Project
Michigan's abundant wood resources are a smart choice for affordable, renewable, and sustainable energy. Through the Michigan Wood Energy Project, the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) worked to educate potential biomass users about the costs and benefits of switching to wood fuel. To try out the wood energy calculator and see other online resources, visit the project's website.
Oakland University Wood Biomass Energy Demonstration
Oakland University was awarded a $65,000 grant from the SRA (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) through a grant from the USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center. This funding was used to support a wood boiler installation at the institution's new Clean Energy Research Center, where it continues to serve as a model for renewable energy in the region. See the project summary.
Portable Dry Kiln Demonstration and Outreach
Through a contract with Advanced Technologies and Land Services (ATLS), the SRA (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) hosted a workshop and demonstration of portable dry kiln technology to meet the objectives of a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant, Portable Kiln Wood Drying: The Current and Potential Role in Reducing Threats of Invasive Species on Sustainable Forestry.
Southeast Michigan Seasonal High Tunnel Educational Initiative
Through several contribution agreements with the USDA NRCS, the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) is providing educational opportunities for agricultural producers using seasonal high tunnels in southeast Michigan. This programming will help producers learn more about installing, managing, and maintaining high tunnels, while also showcasing best practices for producing and marketing crops from these systems.
Urban Forest Products Alliance
The Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) joined with partners in Illinois and Wisconsin to host a series of working meetings in 2010 to find opportunities for promoting urban wood use and creating better markets for products. These meetings resulted in the creation of a national network of partners who have pledged to form an Urban Forest Products Alliance (UFPA) with the mission of advancing the sustainable recovery and the highest and best use of the products of urban forests.
Did you know that southeastern Michigan’s dead and dying urban trees could produce over seventy million board feet of quality lumber each year? Through the Urbanwood Project, the Sustainalbe Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) is helping the area’s urban sawmills to join together, develop partnerships, and better market their sustainable wood products. Visit the project's website to see the online storefront and learn more about the Urbanwood Partners.
USDA Farm Bill Conservation Program Outreach
Through a contribution agreement with the Michigan USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council conducted an outreach effort in 2012 to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers in the seven-county Council area. This effort included: targeting 216 farmers for outreach, developing 17 partnerships with various community organizations to help promote the project, conducting seven informational meetings to explain Farm Bill conservation programs and application procedures, assembling informational materials, providing 52 farmers with one-on-one assistance in establishing farm records and completing program applications, and increasing USDA Farm Bill conservation program participation by 24 applications.
Wood Utilization in the City of Flint
The Genesee Conservation District worked with the City of Flint to recover wood from city tree removals for use in local restoration projects and other wood utilization efforts. An SRA (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) grant of $50,000 supported this Trees for Habitat project, and also enabled them to track their progress and collect data on the success of their effort.