2012 Grassroots Citizen Advocate Award Recipients

2012 Grassroots Citizen Advocate Award Recipients

 2012 Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards: 

LauraGaugerLaura Gauger

What have you done for your river today?  For Laura Gauger, the answer is easy. She sued the Flambeau Mining Company (FMC) last year with the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The federal court ruled in July 2012 that the Flambeau Mining Company had violated the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions by allowing pollution from the Flambeau Mine site to enter the Flambeau River. Concerned about the fish and other aquatic species, Laura and her partners focused on toxic levels of copper found in discharge waters.

It isn’t often that a citizen has the courage to join a lawsuit as a plaintiff in an environmental case.  We applaud Laura for her passion and dedication to demand the mining company be held responsible for its actions. The results of this lawsuit will have benefits to waters around the Great Lakes region.

CayugaLakeWatershedCayuga Lake Watershed Network

The Great Lakes states and provinces experiencing fracking are taking different approaches to dealing with it.  Pennsylvania has an open door, welcome sign hanging, New York placed a moratorium on fracking and Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario are in the middle.  Being proactive, the Cayuga Watershed Network in New York wanted to protect their waters from the impacts of fracking in case the moratorium was dropped.  They promoted the adoption of local zoning ordinances to regulate fracking activities.

In just one month, four towns around Cayuga Lake adopted the zoning ordinance amendments that “affirm the inappropriateness of natural-gas drilling within their border” or in other words place a local ban on fracking.  Combined the ordinances protect 65% of the water flowing into Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake Watershed Network didn’t hesitate to look at local solutions to protect their waters.

IrenePhelpsIrene Phelps

If you get a paper copy of our newsletter in the mail or our brochure about grant opportunities from Freshwater Future, our good friend and loyal volunteer, Irene Phelps helped to get it to you.  Irene has been volunteering for Freshwater Future since we formed in 1986.   A native of northern Michigan, Irene raised five children, had a career in physical therapy and has been volunteering for over 30 years.

She has helped with so many mailings for us and other organizations that she KNOWS how to do it and often catches our mistakes.  We love having Irene join us at the Petoskey office to help out.  She’ll share stories of sledding down the big hills in Bliss, Michigan as a child and her recent adventures around town. Irene is one of our best community ambassadors’, she proudly wears her Freshwater Future garb and spreads the word about our work and efforts.

Freshwater Future is extremely grateful for the loyal and dedicated service Irene has given us.

JanDeurJan Deur

Every year while watching the Academy Awards, we’re reminded that it takes a huge crew of talented people to make an award winning blockbuster. And most of them do their work behind the scenes.  Freshwater Future has been extremely fortunate to have the “behind the scenes” help from Jan Deur for the last four years on our Finance Committee.

Reviewing monthly financial statements, overseeing audits, and developing finance policies are essential to building a strong organization.  Jan provided his professional expertise to help Freshwater Future grow and establish a solid financial foundation.  Jan was always available to answer questions, as well as ask the tough questions.  Thanks to Jan Deur’s guidance and leadership, Freshwater Future is ready to take on more challenging projects.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.