Fracking: In 1999 a Texas oil and gas company refined their method for natural gas extraction and the present day form of hydraulic fracturing was born.

Fifteen years later, fracking has made its mark on the Great Lakes region. Wells are being drilled across Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. While

some assert the safety and economic benefits of fracking, documented impacts of fracking include drinking water contamination and further research linked it to earthquakes, and air pollution. Today citizens are fighting back for stronger protections and bans at all levels of government and making progress. Most recently, June 2014, New York’s State Court of Appeals ruled that towns have the legal right to ban fracking.

Are you concerned about proposed or active gas or oil drilling in your area? Freshwater Future’s water testing program for residents in fracking areas can give peace of mind. Learn how you can benefit from our low-cost, comprehensive and state-certified water testing program. Contact Cheryl Kallio by calling 231-348-8200 or emailing

Coal Tar Sealcoats: Fifteen years ago environmental concerns about pavements focued on polluted runoff. Today, research shows that certain coal tar based sealcoats are a public health concern and can harm aquatic life. In 2005, Austin, Texas became the first city to ban coal tar sealcoats, followed by the District of Columbia, the State of Washington, and the State of Minnesota. Even large corporations such as the Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware stopped selling coal tar-based sealcoat.

Today, Freshwater Future is spearheading a campaign to phase out coal tar sealcoats in the Great Lakes region. We are asking universities, local governments, and even applicators of sealcoat, to make changes for the health and safety of their communities. Switching to alternative sealcoating materials is an easy step to take to make our Great Lakes healthier! To learn more about coal tar sealcoats, visit

Sulfide Mining: Fifteen years ago demand for copper and nickel from ore bodies in northern Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario was rising. Three mines were developed and four more are being proposed around Lake Superior. The problem with extracting minerals from sulfide-bearing rocks is that once exposed to oxygen and water, the mining tailings produce acid mine drainage, a toxic material.

Freshwater Future is proud to support several groups implementing the work to prevent pollution from mining activities. These groups include:

  • Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
  • Save the Wild UP
  • Wisconsin Natural Resources Partnership
  • Laura Gauger
  • Concerned Citizens of Big Bay
  • Concerned Citizens of Michipicoten Bay

Today, Freshwater Future and our partners are requesting that the

U.S. EPA assess cumulative effects of mining in the Lake Superior Basin. Of course we can all help by making sure we recycle metals too!

Asian Carp: Asian carp (specifically bighead and silver species) started their journey towards the Great Lakes after flooding in the Mississippi River basin. Even with electric barriers, a live bighead carp was captured six miles from Lake Michigan. Research that followed identified that baby fish are able to swim through the electrical field as well as full grown fish when trapped in the wake of a barge.

Today, we are working on finding a solution to keep breeding populations out of the Great Lakes. Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to identify a means of preventing Asian carp and the movement of other invasive species between our Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways. Their findings conclude that creating physical barriers to separate the two waterways is the strongest means for stopping these invasions. Now we must help build the political will to get the job done.

You can help by staying in communication with your members of congress and letting them know this is important to you.



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