Freshwater Weekly: May 7, 2021

Posted on May 7, 2021 by

This week: Dr. Rob Letscher — Board Spotlight + Groups Continue Fight to Protect a River from an Open Pit Mining Project + Bureaucracy Blamed for Poor Communication + Need Our Water Urges More Aggressive PFAS Cleanup + CPI International Generously Donates a Portion of Sales to Freshwater Future

Dr. Robert Letscher — Board Spotlight

Meet Dr. Robert Letscher, who has served as secretary of Freshwater Future’s Board since 2019. As a professional Earth scientist and assistant professor of chemical oceanography at the University of New Hampshire, Rob’s expertise and knowledge have been invaluable to our organization. Though living full-time on the East Coast, Rob feels fortunate to spend summers along the northern shores of Lake Michigan. Read more about Rob’s research interests and his work focused on protecting our water resources.

Groups Continue Fight to Protect a River from an Open Pit Mining Project

A proposed open pit metals mine, just 150 feet from the shore of the Menominee River, was dealt a blow with a recent verdict overturning a wetland permit. Several organizations in Wisconsin and Michigan, including SAVE the Menominee River, Menominee Indian Tribe, Menikanaehkem, and Mining Action Group, banned together to voice their concerns about the potential impacts to the wetlands and river that is the drinking water source for nearby cities. In addition, another recent court decision ruled that new evidence from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin should be allowed to be submitted in regards to the mining permit.

Congratulations to the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River and Mining Action Group for being  Frehwater Heroes.

Bureaucracy Blamed for Poor Communication

Michigan regulators waited eight months to inform residents about potential contamination of their drinking water with the “forever chemicals” called PFAS near the Traverse City airport. During this time the state had regular communications with airport officials. Unfortunately, other communities have experienced similar delays in learning of nearby contamination. It makes us wonder what would have happened in Pellston, Michigan if high school students hadn’t played a role in discovering the PFAS contamination in partnership with Freshwater Future–how long would the state have waited before testing residential wells? New leadership at the state agency overseeing PFAS has vowed to change and inform residents when pollution is found. This change is long overdue, and we hope is a first step for Michigan Agencies to remember their responsibility to protect Michigan residents and not just profits.

Need Our Water Urges More Aggressive PFAS Cleanup

In Oscoda, MI ‘Need Our Water’ advocacy group has composed a letter urging the Air Force to implement more aggressive PFAS cleanup protocols. The Air Force has been kicking the can down the road for years, neglecting the cleanup on PFAS and causing harm to many of the residents in the area. Now, over 200 sign-ons support this letter urging the cleanup that is long overdue.

Congratulations to Need Our Water (NOW) for being a Freshwater Hero. We are proud to recognize their efforts to address the PFAS contamination of drinking water and surface waters.

CPI International Generously Donates a Portion of Sales to Freshwater Future

During the month of May, CPI International, a leader in lab supply equipment and materials, will be donating a portion of sales directly to Freshwater Future and the Flint Community Lab to help ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region. The company is committed to making a social impact to ensure clean water. CPI International is a worldwide supplier of certified reference material, laboratory consumables, small equipment, and test kits to scientific professionals working in spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, and microbiology. To learn more about CPI International, please visit


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