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Water: Climate Change and Water

Midwest Climate Change and Water

The Midwest's climate is influenced by the proximity of the Great Lakes and the region's position in the middle of the North American continent. This location, far from the temperature-moderating effects of the oceans, contributes to large seasonal swings in air temperature—from hot, humid summers to cold winters.

Issues of particular concern in this region include extreme variability in precipitation and temperature and challenges in preserving the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes. For more information about the overall impacts of climate change in the Midwest, in addition to water impacts, visit EPA's main climate change website.

Highlights of EPA and Partner Activities

EPA's energy management system for public water and wastewater utilities (PDF) (2 pp, 459K, About PDF) is being implement by states in Region 7 and has resulted in more than 14.5 million kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District logo
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Exit EPA Disclaimer and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Exit EPA Disclaimer communities with combined sewer systems, are working with EPA to control stormwater contributions to collection systems. They have agreed to include green infrastructure elements in their consent decrees to reduce sewer overflows.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provides funding for Lake Superior states and tribes to develop and implement climate change plans. Ongoing priorities include promoting green infrastructure, riparian restorations, tree plantings, ecosystem resilience, and the development of state- and tribal-specific climate change adaptation measures.

Lake Superior Binational Forum logo
The Lake Superior Binational Forum Exit EPA Disclaimer focuses on climate change adaptation measures and works with the Earthkeepers—a faith-based environmental organization—to plant trees and shrubs, install green infrastructure measures, and increase energy efficiency in churches across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Department of the Interior's North Central Climate Science Center provides scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate and ecologically driven responses at regional and local scales.

The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in the Midwest Region provide scientific information, tools, and techniques for anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change.

Change and Water Strategy
Our Goals:

Photo of the water surface

EPA programs in the Midwest region will strive to meet a number of goals, including understanding vulnerability of water-related infrastructure; improving the Great Lakes community’s understanding of the ecosystem and population impacts of climate change; protecting ground water and surface water quality and quantity; and protecting vulnerable populations.

To learn more about the goals and strategic actions at the regional level, read the EPA water program’s 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change.

EPA Regions in the Midwest

EPA Region 2 – including New York’s connection to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway
See the Region 2 climate change website.

EPA Region 5 – including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin
See EPA Region 5's Framework for Addressing Climate Change and Clean Energy as well as the Region 5 climate change website.

EPA Region 7 – including Iowa and Missouri
See the Region 7 sustainable infrastructure for water programs website.

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