Freshwater Weekly 10/5/17
This week: on the road for Great Lakes water visioning + Lake Erie algae watch + help maintain Michigan’s regulatory power + more ways you can make a difference.
GREAT LAKES LISTENING TOUR
This month, Freshwater Future staff members are traveling around the Great Lakes to learn what water means to residents and what we all envision for the future.
Living in the Great Lakes region, we are surrounded by lakes, rivers, wetlands, and shorelines. Yet daily there are threats to our waters. Community voices are often left out of the discussions and planning for solutions, including policies. Freshwater Future wants to change this.
We want to hear what Great Lakes residents like you envision for your water—not just drinking water—and what gets in the way of achieving that vision. We want to know how water fits into your everyday life. Your input will help shape a Water Vision for the Great Lakes that we’ll share with organizations and governments working on policies.
In the coming week, we’ll be in Ashland, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; Flint, Michigan; and Detroit, Michigan. You can find our meeting schedule on our Facebook page, and we’ll be adding details as we finalize plans for each location.
Please help us elevate the voices of Great Lakes residents! If you are able to join us, please click “going” on one of our Facebook events to confirm your attendance, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAKE ERIE ALGAE WATCH
News of this summer’s toxic algal bloom in western Lake Erie has dominated headlines around the region for weeks, raising concerns about the safety of the water and the long-term health of the lake. The blooms are caused by excess nutrients that come from sources such as large scale agricultural operations in the Lake Erie watershed. Two years ago, the governors of Michigan and Ohio—along with the premier of Ontario—committed to reducing phosphorus pollution by 40%, but little progress has been made toward this goal.
Now people around the lake are wondering: what exactly is being done to clean up Lake Erie? To answer this question, Freshwater Future and the Alliance for the Great Lakes teamed up to assess progress by Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario toward meeting the 40% commitment. On October 10, we’ll join with environmental organizations from around the lake to release the report’s findings and provide a status update.
You can attend our info session and learn about next steps via webinar on Tuesday, October 10 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm central. Register here.
MICHIGAN SENATE MAY LIMIT STATE’S REGULATORY POWERS
The Michigan state legislature is considering a bill (HB-4205) that would significantly restrict the ability of state agencies to create regulations that are any stronger than federal regulations, hampering efforts to stop the spread of invasive species, keep drinking water clean, and protect fragile wetlands. Read more about the bill here.
We cannot leave the protection of Michigan’s freshwater in the hands of the federal government, especially under an administration that has pledged to roll back two administrative rules for every new rule created. The bill, nicknamed “No Greater than the Feds,” just passed out of the Senate Oversight Committee and now goes to the full Senate for approval. Michigan residents, ask your senator to oppose the bill so that Michigan’s regulatory agencies can use every tool they have to protect our waters.
There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at freshwaterfuture.org/take-action.