ByProduct Synergy

Achieving Pollution Prevention Success - Funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pollution Prevention (P2) grant, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), in partnership with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), piloted a Byproduct Synergy (BPS) program to reuse manufacturing byproducts. The pilot’s goal was to help manufacturers match byproduct streams to other facilities’ needs for raw materials, reducing quantities destined for disposal, and lowering the costs associated with purchasing raw materials. The BPS program identified, inventoried, and established public and private members - several businesses, townships, power companies, and water and sewer departments - and attempted to create specific synergistic relationships between its members. The Michigan ByProduct Synergy (BPS) program ran from October 2011 through September 2014, holding "Meet your Match" speed dating events, where businesses, agencies, producers and suppliers came together to see if they could find their match. Organizations from manufacturing, agriculture/food production, mineral recovery, transportation, processing/distribution, construction, and professional offices participated to improve efficiencies, save money, and re-think waste by-products. BPS aimed to:

  • repurpose what what has been traditionally considered waste.
  • reduce emissions
  • reduce energy, raw material, and disposal costs
  • improve productivity, profitability, regulatory compliance, and community relations
  • develop new products and markets
  • protect the environment and our natural resources
  • recude costs and waste

Children's Water Festival

In 1995, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and the Groundwater Management Board (GMB) hosted the first Children’s Water Festival in Michigan at Michigan State University. In total, seventeen festivals were held over 20 years. The festival was always well received and considered a great success serving over 35,000 elementary students from area schools. The free festival provided an interactive field trip for students to learn about the importance of our environment, water resources, and their role in protecting and conserving it. The students participated in hands on activities led by local water management professionals. Over the years hundreds of professional volunteers provided presentations to students, emphasizing the importance of water-related careers.

From the beginning, the GMB strived to provide an excellent event experience. Unfortunately over time, the logistics of the festival become more and more challenging. In 2015 the GMB staff was approached by the Michigan State University (MSU) Science Festival coordinators looking to learn from our festival experiences. The MSU Science Festival reaches over 30,000 people per year, and was seeking water focused presentations for elementary students. The result was a partnership that led to the Children’s Water Festival being permanently incorporated into the MSU event.

This opportunity allowed the GMB to redirect its efforts while still achieving the goal of water education for youth. GMB volunteers and Tri-County staff continue to present and participate at the MSU Science Festival; it has merged into a beneficial partnership.

Aerial Photography

Since 2010, Tri-County has historically served as a liason for coordinating aerial imagery flyovers of the Greater Lansing area every five years in partnership with our regional municipalities, the state, and various local and county agencies.

In 2020, Tri-County again served as a facilitator for our regional partners and the state during this multi-month project. The 2020 flyover was part of region-wide effort conducted in coordination with and funded by local, county, and state agencies and public utilities.

In early March 2020, all aerial data was collected in Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties by airplane. Early spring "leaf-off" conditions allowed for a greater level of the ground level detail without the interference of leaves on trees. The aerial flyover provides Mid-Michigan with 3-inch resolution photographs of our landscape in our urbanized areas, as well as 4-inch and 6-inch resolution in suburban and rural areas.

Fortunately, snow in Spring 2020 allowed for earlier than usual aerial imagery collection. Due to the coronavirus, the collected data processing and delivery was delayed until late 2020 and early 2021, however, the project was completed in late May 2021 and aerial data has been distributed to the participating municipalities.

If you have questions, please contact Senior Transportation Planner - GIS Coordinator Laura Tschirhart at or call (517) 999-8910. If you are interested in obtaining images from the regional flyovers, please contact the appropriate municipality.

Health Impact Assessment Tool

Using funds from the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability (MMPGS) HUD grant, the Mid-Michigan Health In All Program, MMPGS partners, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, and ​Michigan State University partnered together to create the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Toolkit in 2015. The HIA tool was created to assist developers and other users with understanding the feasibility of a development and the impact it may have on the health of a population in our region. While decision makers in public and private sectors often have direct or indirect impact on individual and community health, health considerations are not commonly included in the planning and decision making process. This free, online Mapping and Impact Assessment Tool supports local leaders, community planners, landowners, developers, and the public in assessing the potential health, environmental, and social effects of policies and changes to the built environment. With this tool a user can locate a project on an online base map, select and visualize mapped information about that location and surrounding areas, and evaluate the project using an impact assessment checklist approach.

Imagine Mid-Michigan

The Imagine Mid-Michigan (IMM) program was an outcome of Tri-County Regional Planning Commission’s partnership with Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator program. This 12-month program included the development of updated growth trends in Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties out to 2040; a taxpayer impact analysis of said growth trends compared to compact growth; a feasibility study of the transfer of development rights in Mid-Michigan; a case study for diverse housing in Mid-Michigan; visits by Michele Reeves and Robert Liberty to provide insight and data concerning the success of our downtowns; tours of successful housing and farmland preservation programs in the state; and regular social convenings, which served as a peer-exchange of regional leaders from Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties learning best practices for land use.

At the core of IMM activities were the objectives of Tri-County's 2005 Regional Growth: Choices for our Future policy document. A key element of the Long Range Transportation Plan and a mission of the agency, the objectives of said document were meant to implement a sustainable growth pattern and transportation network in Mid-Michigan. They included:

  • Intergovernmental Cooperation
  • Public Participation
  • Equitable Growth and Redevelopment
  • Environmental Protection
  • Housing for All Community Residents
  • Enhancing and Preserving the Existing Road Network
  • Emphasize Transit & Non-Motorized Modes Rather than Further Expansion of the Road Network in Rural Areas
  • Urban and Rural Service Areas
  • Farmland, Open Space and other Natural Resource Protection
  • Greenways and Walkability
  • Park and Recreation Expansion and Linkages
  • Historic Preservation & Cultural Facilities
  • Compact Settlement
  • Clustered Development Areas
  • Phased Growth
  • Strengthening Urban Cores
  • Viable Neighborhoods, and
  • High Density Mixed Uses

These Regional Growth policy objectives have been implemented by Tri-County staff throughout their respective program areas. For the former Land Use program, which is now integrated into the new Community Development program, this included the ongoing study and promotion planning policies such as urban service boundary and various tax-revenue sharing programming. The IMM program was an implementation activity of Tri-County and its Urban and Rural Service Management (URSM) Committee, which discussed regional cooperation in designating an urban service (water and sewer) boundary and the efficient sharing of services between jurisdictions

The URSM Committee was awarded a Partnerships for Change: Sustainable Communities research grant through the Land Information Access Association (LIAA). LIAA is a non-profit planning firm based on northern Michigan with staff who work across the state to facilitate regional cooperation and other local service partnerships. LIAA staff facilitated the development of a Tri-County Urban Services Management Study. The Study outlined a feasible strategy for implementing an urban service boundary within the committee memberships' jurisdictional boundaries. The committee members included Lansing, East Lansing, the nine urbanized townships surrounding the two cities, Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties, and a few outlying county jurisdictions such as Williamstown Township and the City of Mason. Prior to the commencement of the Study, the committee members completed a Community Collaboration Survey, reporting that almost every member felt that the time was right for the development of an urban service boundary. With this understanding, committee attendance was incredibly engaging and conversations related to the development of a boundary were notably positive between members.

Pollution Isn't Pretty

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission partnered with the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds and several Mid-Michigan watershed groups and agencies to rollout a water resources brand, Pollution Isn’t Pretty. The campaign streamlines multiple organizations' educational efforts to create clear, consistent messages that educate area residents about water quality concerns and what they can do to reduce pollution and protect our region’s water resources. To learn more about Pollution Isn’t Pretty, visit

This campaign received the 2013 Gold ADDY Award. The ADDYs are considered the world's largest advertising competition that recognizes creative excellence in all forms of media and design.

Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability

The Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability (MMPGS) was funded over the course of three years from 2012-2014 by a $3 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program grant awarded to the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Tri-County, our local partners, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority offered more than $5,200,000 in local matching contributions of services, expertise, participation, and funds to make this program worth over $8.3 million. Tri-County partnered with the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan State University, Michigan Energy Options, local municipalities (Ingham County, Clinton County, Eaton County, Cities of Lansing and East Lansing, Williamston, Village of Webberville, Townships of Leroy and Williamstown, Charter Townships of Meridian and Lansing) to lead the implementation of the program. Other organizations and agencies from housing, community development, economic development and business, land use, infrastructure, environmental, and equality and diversity industries also participated. The primary planning products or projects of this grant funded sustainability planning effort included:

Greening Mid-Michigan

Greening Mid-Michigan evolved from the Tri-County Regional Growth Study released in 2005, which built consensus on a preferred vision for land use growthin our communities over the next 25 years. The report recommended that “Open Space and Resource Protection” be promoted through region-wide planning efforts based on four main principles.

  • Farmland and other natural resources should be protected in an equitable, fiscally responsible manner to preserve the heritage, environment, quality of life and long-term sustainability of the region.
  • Pathways, sidewalks, trails and on-street bicycle facilities should be developed and enhanced to provide alternatives to motorized transportation, improve linkages to recreational opportunities for regional residents, and provide public health benefits by offering opportunities for physical activity.
  • Parks and recreation development and expansions should emphasize linkage of facilities through greenways based on the regional vision and the adopted Regional Non-Motorized Systems Plan.
  • The region’s significant built and living heritage, historic sites, cultural facilities and neighborhoods should be protected, preserved, and enhanced.
With support from the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability HUD grant funding, Tri-County led Greening Mid-Michigan and collaborated with regional groups over a three-year period, including the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, The Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management, Clinton and Eaton Conservation Districts, the Land Use and Health Resource Team, local and county park and recreation departments, Ingham and Clinton Agricultural and Open Space Preservation Programs, and others, to develop a regional vision for green infrastructure planning for Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties. The final vision can be viewed here or in our Projects & Documents Library.

Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities

From 2017-2019, Tri-County housed and coordinated the Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities (GLACC), a coalition of stakeholders working locally to implement alternative and renewable fuels, idle reduction measures, fuel economy improvements, and emerging transportation technologies.

GLACC's projects, led by Tri-County staff and guided by their Board of Directors, worked to achieve cleaner air, reduced emissions, and energy security in Mid-Michigan through alternative fuel and vehicle usage, and fuel economy practices. Members and stakeholders have included fleets, corporations, nonprofit organizations, utilities, local governments, and individuals – anyone interested in ways cleaner fuels, vehicles, and practices can improve our air quality and reduce petroleum dependence through local activities that grow the market for alternative fuels and advanced vehicles.

Clean Cities dates back to the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. These laws, which encouraged the production and use of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and the reduction of vehicle emissions, led to the creation of the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) in 1991. The AFDC's mission was to collect, analyze, and distribute data used to evaluate alternative fuels and vehicles.

In 1992, the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) required certain vehicle fleets to acquire AFVs. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Energy created Clean Cities in 1993 to provide informational, technical, and financial resources to EPAct-regulated fleets and voluntary adopters of alternative fuels and vehicles.

Learn more about GLACC and its initiatives at