Erb Family Foundation and Pure Oakland Water are partnering with Michigan State University Extension and Huron River Watershed Council to help elected officials protect local water resources.
By Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant, Terry Gibb, and Emily Proctor, Michigan State University Extension
Water is one of the most important resources in Michigan. The state has more than 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Water provides important economic benefits through transportation of goods and energy production; recreational activities throughout the year; and amenities to improve the quality of life for communities. Michigan waters and shorelines are vital to the culture and spirituality of the Tribal Nations and community members from across the globe.
Watersheds in Michigan often cross multiple political jurisdictions and often suffer from complex water quality, quantity and policy issues that impact the overall physical and economic health and well-being of citizens. In order to educate those making decisions in our watersheds it will be important to engage and partner with local watershed groups to host multiple Water School workshops.
Huron River Watershed
The Huron River Watershed spans a land area of more than 900 square miles and drains water to the Huron River through hundreds of tributary creeks and streams. The river itself flows more than 125 miles from its headwaters at Big Lake, near Pontiac, to its mouth at Lake Erie. About 1,200 miles of creeks and streams flow into the Huron’s main branch. The river’s drainage area includes seven Michigan counties (Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe), 63 municipal governments, and 650,000 residents.
Supporting Michigan’s water strategy
The State of Michigan and most Michigan Tribal Nations have each outlined a water resources strategy with priority measures that support and provide an understanding of water principles, values, and concepts including water stewardship and data-driven decision making. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials supports the state’s water strategy. This two-day training/tour will provide elected and appointed officials and their staff at all governmental levels a better understanding of their role in protecting their water resources.
Michigan Water School, is a joint effort between Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and local organizations. This policy-neutral, fact-based program is being held in partnership with the Huron River Watershed Council on May 13 and 14, 2019, at the New Center 1100 N. Main St. Ann Arbor, MI. The program provides local and state decision makers with the information needed to understand Michigan’s water resources and the critical, relevant fundamentals of water science to support sound water management decisions. Understanding the role that each level of government plays in protecting water quality will help to protect our state’s water resources and enhance Michigan’s commercial, agricultural and recreational economies.
Water School features a combination of in-class presentations, hands-on learning activities, interactive demonstrations and field tours. The program includes sessions on local water issues in the community and region, water quantity, water quality, economics, finance, planning, and water policy issues as well as a half-day field tour to enhance classroom content through highlighting innovative practices in the Huron River Watershed.
The cost for the two-day program, which includes all materials, lunches, refreshments and tour transportation, is $175 per person. Two different scholarships are now available:
- Through a generous grant from the Erb Family Foundation, MSUE is able to provide scholarships to the first 20 people who request one. Scholarships are awarded on a reimbursement basis. Individuals must include full payment at registration. The scholarship amount is reimbursed upon completion of all program requirements. This scholarship is open to all participants on a first-come basis.
- Thanks to generous support from Pure Oakland Water (POW), elected and appointed officials and their staff from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties can receive a full scholarship to attend the Michigan Water Schools. Pure Oakland Water is dedicated to protecting Oakland County and regional water resources through public education, community organizing, environmental advocacy and promotion of a sustainable future. POW chairman Jim Nash, who is also the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, sits on the Michigan Water School Advisory Committee. Commissioner Nash along with the POW board of directors are pleased to commit $4900 for 28 scholarships for MSU Water School programs through September 30, 2019. This scholarship is open to elected and appointed officials in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties. At the time of publishing, only 20 POW scholarships remain.
- Request a scholarship.
For more information about the program, contact Kris Olsson, Huron River Watershed Council at (734) 769-5123 x 607. For more information or to request one of the scholarships, contact Mary Bohling, Extension Educator at (313) 410-9431.