Freshwater Future is a catalyst for community action that strengthens policies designed to safeguard the waters of the Great Lakes region.
Living in the Great Lakes region, we are surrounded by lakes, rivers, wetlands, and shorelines. Water is ubiquitous in the lives of Great Lakes residents, from recreation and rejuvenation to drinking and business. These resources, while abundant in our region, are precariously positioned in a rapidly changing world. Threats to the livelihood of the water ecosystems that support human life are numerous, diverse, and simultaneously political and biological.
Combatting preventable threats and managing unpreventable threats often falls to local community groups, non-profits, tribal and First Nation governments, watershed councils, and municipalities. Recently, Freshwater Future gathered input from over 700 residents in the region and our member groups on the state of water in their communities, their hopes for the future, and the opportunities they see for improvement.
Five themes emerged:
Revered— The law and popular culture will recognize the fundamental importance of water resources to human life, as well as their value outside of human use and consumption
Safe— Families can trust that their tap water, well water, and places of recreation are free of harmful contaminants and toxic chemicals
Clean— Preserved wetland ecosystems and well-engineered infrastructure filter pollutants and keep wastewater out of waterways
Accessible— Communities have abundant, well-maintained, and affordable public access to rivers, lakes and drinking water
Sustainable— Water withdrawals and cycles of human use do not exceed natural replacement rate or overwhelm natural filtration processes
Freshwater Future is a collaborative and entrepreneurial organization that seeks perspective from diverse communities and individuals, builds partnerships and collaborations, works to ensure equity in the solutions we advocate, and values residents’ knowledge and abilities in our work to protect and restore the health of the Great Lakes for current and future generations. The waters of the region that define our sense of place include the five Great Lakes, but also include the critical connecting waters such as inland lakes, rivers, wetlands and groundwater. We protect these waters for their many natural benefits such as: fish and wildlife habitat, intact ecosystems and an amazing 20% of the Earth’s fresh surface water, but also for their benefits to people: clean drinking water, fish that are safe to eat, and beaches that are safe for swimming.
We invite you to explore our site to learn about our grants programs, Great Lakes issues and policy initiatives, capacity building services and more!
Photos: NASA Goddard Photos and Steven Huyser-Honig