Michigan's Water Strategy

by Mikaylah Heffernan, MUCC Resource Policy Assistant

A few weeks ago, on the shores of Lake St. Clair, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder unveiled the first step of Michigan’s Water Strategy, a 30-year-plan to inspire stewardship, and to protect, manage and enhance the state’s numerous waterways. Michigan has a long heritage and history of dedication to our natural resources, and the strategy was released during Great Lakes and Freshwater Week, an annual event celebrating Michigan’s abundant water resources that promotes water education, stewardship and water recreation.

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The Water Strategy is a 30-year plan for Michiganders to protect, manage, and enhance Michigan’s water resources for current and future generations. The Strategy identifies key actions for actors at many levels to promote healthy water resources. Organized around nine main goals and outcomes, including the protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and water based economics, the strategy is designed to ensure the viability and sustainability of Michigan’s water resources over time. It also attempts to create more vibrant waterfronts, and build governance tools to address increasingly complex issues with our water supplies and resources.

The Office of the Great Lakes will form an Interdepartmental Water Team to unite agencies to ensure a cohesive common strategy around Water Strategy implementation including the key state agency partners. Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes was charged with spearheading the creation of a comprehensive, ecosystem-based water resource strategy. A five-sided approach was offered in regards to accomplishing the highest priorities of the water strategy;

  • Ensuring safe drinking water for all Michiganders and dealing with overflow issues into the lakes and rivers.
  • Achieving a 40 percent phosphorous reduction in the western Lake Erie basin, and a reduction in the algae blooms resulting from heavy phosphorus levels.
  • Prevent the introduction of new invasive species and control pre-existing populations.
  • Support investments in commercial and recreational harbors.
  • Develop and implement a water trails system.

The details of how five priorities will be approached will be outlined in specific implementation plans crafted by each lead state agency over the next few months.

One of the most significant threats facing our waters are the existing and future threats of invasive species. MUCC supports efforts to limit the spread of invasive species, and reminds members to do the same. MUCC supports the approaches intent on increasing the economic viability and sustainability of our waters, as well as the attempts to rebuild community interest in protecting our waters. Michigan must protect and promote the informed use of our extensive and unique waters, and this strategy is a wonderful step toward ensuring healthy and vibrant communities, environments, and citizens.  To find out more, or read the Strategy yourself, follow this link: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3677_76614---,00.html

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