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Archaic wastewater systems, crumbling infrastructure and segregated housing create a perfect storm of flooding vulnerability for cities throughout the Great Lakes region from sources that range from excessive rain and overflowing rivers to lake storm surges and sewage system flooding. Rural areas, Indigenous communities and ecosystems in the Great Lakes also face severe risk from flooding, endangering hard-fought gains in environmental restoration and community development.

Ensia Collections6 Stories
An aerial view of Ogechie Lake in Kathio Township, Minnesota, shows wild rice and trees in the background.

In northern Minnesota, wild rice is being threatened by climate change and increased rainfall

STORY FROM SAHAN JOURNAL | Tribal, state and federal governments are working to adapt to the changing environment to ensure wild rice, or manoomin as wild rice is called in the Ojibwe language, lives on in Minnesota

Flooding in Albany Park (Chicago), April 18, 2013

Inundation and Injustice: Flooding presents a formidable threat to the Great Lakes region

Throughout the Great Lakes region, archaic wastewater systems, crumbling infrastructure and segregated housing create a perfect storm of flooding vulnerability.

Jalyssa Ferguson, 8, holds a wheel barrel cart for Janiah Torres, 10, as she fills it with wood chip mulch. There are trees and a playground in the background

Milwaukee residents fear more flooding due to planned highway expansion

STORY FROM WISCONSIN WATCH | Two extra highway lanes will add 29 acres of asphalt next to Near West Side Milwaukee neighborhoods that already face flood risks.

A sign attached to a concrete barrier reads “DANGER, NO SWIMMING’” and “DANGER, KEEP OFF ICE” in front of a private beach on the South Side of Chicago.

On Chicago’s South Side, neighbors fight to keep Lake Michigan at bay

STORY FROM GRIST | Residents dogged by frequent flooding have finally drawn attention from city and state officials.

Blake Granuum stands atop the seawall at her home in Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.

Climate costs imperil unique, diverse Detroit neighborhood

STORY FROM PLANET DETROIT | High water, high costs and climate change uncertainty have left some residents of Jefferson Chalmers — the “Venice of Detroit” — questioning the neighborhood‘s future.

Image of an alley with garbage bags of clothes and torn-up couches damaged by flooding.

A community-led approach to stopping flooding expands

STORY FROM BORDERLESS MAGAZINE | In a region where communities of color are most impacted by flooding, RainReady is bringing together community members to create flood mitigation plans.

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