Protecting, promoting state’s freshwater resources are key goals.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes has just released Part 2 of its Water Strategy, which was developed after an extensive public engagement process during 2014-2016. The state released Part one on June 10, 2016. Two additional sections are expected to be released by the end of the summer.
During the press event on July 27, 2016, at Duck Lake’s Interlochen State Park beach in Grand Traverse County, state Office of the Great Lakes Director Jon Allan and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson, manager of the Michigan Waterways Commission, spoke of the strong state interest in making and keeping water at our front porch; of being universally accessible to all; and the wonderful system of harbors of refuge along the Great Lakes. In addition, an adaptive paddling demonstration was held with participants from the Lighthouse Neurological Rehabilitation Center in Grand Traverse County.
Michigan Sea Grant has been involved for the past few years with one of the state’s Water Strategy priority areas: Support investments in commercial and recreational harbors. Through the work of the Small Harbor Sustainability integrated assessment project (2014-ongoing), coastal communities have been looking at placemaking, waterfront access and long-term sustainability. Currently, the City of St. Ignace and the City of Rogers Cityare providing feedback to a draft sustainability toolkit and will be doing waterfront visioning during fall 2016 in each of their respective cities.
Michigan Sea Grant also has been involved with several other Water Strategy priority areas including developing and implementing a water trails system and preventing the introduction of new aquatic invasive species and controlling established populations.
As Gov. Snyder states in his forward to the Water Strategy “Michigan has an unparalleled system of thousands of lakes, streams, wetlands, beaches and groundwater resources. This vast water network – combined with our unique position within the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater system – provides us exceptional opportunities. But, it also means we have a great responsibility to ensure the healthiest water system in the world.”
Michigan Sea Grant can help with research and also with programs to help foster stewardship of our Great Lakes and coastal waters and we look forward to partnering with the state and others in a number of initiatives with this new Water Strategy.