Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards

Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards

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 fish and other aquatic species, Laura and her partners focused on toxic levels of copper found in discharge waters.

It isn’t often that an individual 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. We are pleased to present Laura Gauger with a Grassroots Citizen Advocate Award.

The Great Lakes states and provinces experiencing fracking are taking different approaches to dealing with it. Being proactive, the Cayuga Watershed Network in New York wanted to protect their waters from the impacts of fracking in case their state’s 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” which, in other words, placed 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. We are pleased to award Cayuga Lake Watershed Network with an organizational Grassroots Advocate Award.

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 started volunteering for Freshwater Future when we formed in 1996. A native of northern Michigan, Irene raised a family, had a career in physical therapy and has been volunteering for over 30 years.

She has helped with countless mailings for us and other organizations that she KNOWS how to do it, often catching our mistakes. We love having Irene join us in the Petoskey office to help. She shares stories—from sledding down the big hills in Bliss, Michigan as a child to her recent adventures around town. Irene is one of our best community ambassadors, proudly wearing her Freshwater Future garb, spreading the word about our work and efforts.

Freshwater Future is extremely grateful for the loyal and dedicated service Irene has given us. We are proud to present Irene Phelps with one of our Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards.

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 “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. We are pleased to thank Jan for his last four years and present him with one of our Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards.



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