Freshwater Weekly — April 13th, 2018
This week: Flint + Trade Wars and Water Quality + New Plan for Lake Huron
This Week’s Action: Michigan Halts Free Bottled Water for Flint
Last Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the State will cease shipments of free bottled water to Flint residents affected by the water crisis, despite widespread distrust of and confusion about water quality and filter use. We believe that for the sake of public health and alleviating public mistrust, bottled water distribution should continue until all lead service lines in the city are replaced.
In the News: How a U.S. Trade War With China Could Affect Great Lakes Water Quality
China’s proposed second round of tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods including soy beans to retaliate against the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese exports impacts more than just the farmers who grow the crop. It turns out, soybeans absorb excess nitrates in the soil left behind by fertilizers applied to corn grown on the same land. If left in the soil, these nitrates are carried into streams, rivers, and lakes where they feed algae growth. Any large scale disruption in soybean production could mean more nutrient pollution in places like Lake Erie if farmers can’t find another market for their crop or replace soybeans with another nitrate-absorbing crop.
According to the Iowa Soybean Association, one out of every three rows of soybeans grown in the United States is exported to China. That accounts to $14 billion each year. That’s a lot of soybeans!
Freshwater Hero: Kathleen Heideman of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Last week we announced our annual Freshwater Hero awards, which we bestow upon unique and pioneering water protectors in the region. This week we’re highlighting Kathleen—a writer, artist, and environmentalist who’s been defending clean water and wild places from the dangers of sulfide mining for years. She serves on the board of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), and leads projects on the Coalition’s Mining Action Group. We’ve funded Kathleen and her colleagues for their work on Michigan’s Back Forty and Eagle mines. Read more about Kathleen here.
U.S. EPA Releases Plan to Restore and Preserve Lake Huron
The Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) for Lake Huron 2017-2021 is part of a binational effort to restore and preserve the Lake Huron ecosystem. The LAMP helps set priorities for research and monitoring and outlines actions that government agencies and the public can take to combat environmental and water quality challenges.
The current Lake Huron LAMP determined that the Lake is in “fair” condition, and faces threats that include chemical contaminants, invasive species, and nutrient pollution. Following the release of the LAMP, the EPA announced a $980,000 award to the State of Michigan to help restore fish and wildlife habitat in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. This funding comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which organizations like Freshwater Future helped secure $300 million for in the recently passed U.S. federal budget.
Check out this neat map that shows where GLRI dollars have gone. Chances are, there’s a GLRI project in your neck of the woods!
Ontario Improves Drinking Water Protections Against Pipeline Spills
Under the Clean Water Act, Ontario requires source protection plans to address potential threats to drinking water. Last week, the provincial government instituted a change that allows those plans to address the potential threat of liquid hydrocarbon pipelines to drinking water sources.
WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at freshwaterfuture.org/take-action.