Freshwater Future Weekly News: June 28, 2024

This Week: New Stamp Honors Grandmother Water Walker Josephine Mandamin; Thank You to the Erb Family Foundation; Polluters Sue Over New PFAS Regulation; Have You Seen this Jellyfish in the Great Lakes? Take a Picture
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New Stamp Honors Grandmother Water Walker Josephine Mandamin

Although Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabe Elder renowned for her advocacy of water rights and a 2018 Freshwater Hero, walked on in 2019, her legacy continues. Last week, Mandamin, known as Grandmother Water Walker, was honored with a commemorative stamp by Canada Post. She served as the Anishinaabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner for many years and co-founded the Mother Earth Water Walk movement, inspiring generations to protect the Great Lakes. From her first walk in 2003, which Freshwater Future was privileged to support, to her final walk, she covered over 25,000 kilometers (more than 15,500 miles) around the Great Lakes. Her impact persists as the next generation of Indigenous women continue leading Community water walks.

Thank You to the Erb Family Foundation! 

With funding from their recent grant cycle, our long standing partners at the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation will continue to support Freshwater Future’s Great Lakes Network! The Great Lakes Network (GLN), a collaborative group of local and regional organizations to advance water policy in the Great Lakes region, extends resources, support, and communication across jurisdictional borders to identify opportunities and tackle threats together. Not a member of the Great Lakes Network? Contact Alana Honaker ( to learn more about the Great Lakes Network and how to join! Read more about the Erb Family Foundation and how they support the Great Lakes! 

Polluters Sue Over New PFAS Regulation

In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted drinking water regulations for several kinds of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”. This month, a coalition of chemical and manufacturing groups filed a lawsuit challenging  the new regulations. This pushback is based on the argument that the rule goes beyond the EPA’s authority and underestimates costs, potentially raising water rates for taxpayers. Treating water to remove PFAS is costly. Freshwater Future believes that this cost should not fall on the public but on polluters and that public health cannot be sacrificed in the process. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, politicians are withholding $125 million designated for PFAS cleanup unless polluters are granted immunity. This political standoff has left communities with PFAS contaminated water waiting for essential funding to aid treatment and is exacerbating public health risks.

Have You Seen this Jellyfish in the Great Lakes? Take a Picture!

Climate change is contributing to the spread of the peach blossom jellyfish, native to a warm freshwater river in Southeast China. This non-stinging jellyfish has been present in North America since the 1950s, with sightings in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and across Canada increasing significantly since 2020. While jellyfish are awesome creatures, this species may compete with native fish for food, potentially leading to harmful algal blooms and dead zones. With a lack of current research on this newcomer and a surplus of Great Lakes lovers at the beaches during the summer, citizen science might be the solution. If you see the peach blossom, you can use apps like iNaturalist or submit a report to the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System to track and help us better understand how they are moving through and impacting the Great Lakes. 

Photo credit: Myriah Richerson – USGS