Heat Islands in the Great Lakes Bay Area: A Shady Solution

High temperatures in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay region aren’t just uncomfortable; they can be dangerous. And while numerous factors contribute to the number of record-high temperature days we’ve been experiencing, there’s one that you can fight: Heat Islands.

These unnatural urban hotspots in cities like Saginaw and Bay City can make for a miserable summer. So, what can you do? Read on to learn how the community is working together to reduce the effects of heat islands and keep you cool.

What is a Heat Island?

A heat island is an urban area significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas due to urban infrastructure. There are several heat islands in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay area, including Bay City, Saginaw, and other urban areas.

These heat islands are characterized by higher temperatures due to the abundance of buildings, roads, and other artificial structures that absorb and re-emit heat.

One of the main reasons heat islands occur is because of the materials used in urban development. Concrete and asphalt are common in cities and have a higher heat capacity than natural surfaces like grass or soil. This means they can absorb and store more heat, causing the temperature to rise.

Additionally, the lack of vegetation in urban areas contributes to the formation of heat islands. Trees and plants provide shade and evaporative cooling, which helps to lower temperatures. However, green spaces are often scarce in heat islands, resulting in less shade and less cooling effect.

The presence of heat islands can have various negative impacts. Higher temperatures can increase energy consumption for cooling, which strains resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat islands can also worsen air quality and adversely affect human health, especially for vulnerable populations like older adults and those with respiratory conditions.

Addressing the issue of heat islands in the Great Lakes Bay area requires finding solutions to reduce the urban heat island effect. This can involve increasing tree canopy cover, promoting green roofs and walls, and using cool pavement materials.

These measures can help to mitigate the heat island effect, improve air quality, and enhance the overall livability of urban areas in the region.

A young girl in a yellow jacket wearing white gardening cloves crouches down to plant a tree sapling in the moist brown earth.

Reducing Heat Islands in the Great Lakes Bay Area

If you want to help reduce heat islands in the Great Lakes Bay Region, there are two different Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy programs you can get involved in: Better Branches and Taking Root.

Better Branches Program – Planting Trees

The Better Branches program is focused on planting trees to combat heat islands in the Great Lakes Bay Area. The program aims to provide shade and reduce the urban heat island effect by strategically planting trees in urban areas.

As a resident, you can actively participate in this program by volunteering to plant trees in your neighborhood. Not only will this help cool down your community, but it will also improve air quality and create a more aesthetically pleasing environment.

The program provides training and tools to ensure the trees are properly planted and maintained. The Better Branches Program also offers incentives for residents who participate, such as discounts on energy bills and tree care services.

Join the program today and positively impact your community’s fight against heat islands.

Taking Root Program – Donating Trees

Donating trees through the Taking Root program can contribute to combating the urban heat island effect in the community.

Through this program, you can make a tangible impact on the overall climate of the Great Lakes Bay Area. The Taking Root program ensures that the donated trees are planted strategically in areas most affected by the heat island effect. By doing so, you are directly helping to create a more comfortable living space for everyone.

Your contribution not only benefits the current generation but also future generations to come.

So, start planting trees today and positively impact the fight against heat islands. Together, we can make a shady solution to the heat island problem!

Ready to Get Planting?

Bay Landscaping has created beautiful landscapes in the Great Lakes Bay region since 1948. Call us at 989-402-9456. We can help you design, install, and maintain your landscape or help you choose from our hundreds of trees and shrubs from our nursery to help you beat the heat!

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Jerry Somalski

Jerry is a Landscape Designer, Project Manager, and the President of Bay Landscaping. He began learning about plants and landscape design as a young boy, hoeing in the family nursery and tagging along with the landscape crews who taught him the tools and methods of the trade. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Central Michigan University, he returned to the family business. Jerry has an enthusiastic yet practical approach to landscape design, focused on choosing the right plants (ones that thrive in the mid-Michigan climate) for the right place to create sustainable and spectacular landscapes. He loves to share what he knows with gardeners throughout Michigan! Learn more about Jerry >>

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