By Dave Long Plastic bottles, bags, straws, and packaging are often the focus for reducing plastics in Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes. But there’s a smaller, more ubiquitous type of plastic pollution, called microfibers—fibers less than 5 millimeters in length—that may pose a bigger threat and may be harder to solve. Many people are… Read more »
We cannot beat COVID-19 without access to safe water for all of us. Water is a public health issue. Water is a human right. This is what the pandemic tells us. Our work continues. It continues every day. We are developing legal and policy solutions for Michigan’s water infrastructure crisis and addressing the COVID-19 emergency needs, fighting Line 5 to prevent a catastrophic Great Lakes oil spill, educating about the importance of groundwater and the need for septic system pollution-control legislation, elevating the role of government in safeguarding our natural resources, and much more.
Photo courtesy of People’s Water Board Coalition Story update: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Saturday, March 28, stipulating that people who have lost water service because of non-payment of bills will have that service reconnected. The order comes with a $2 million state grant attached that will be administered by the state… Read more »
Today, March 26, would have been the 98th birthday of Michigan Governor William G. Milliken, whose leadership in the 1970s and 1980s put Michigan at the forefront of the 50 states in environmental protection. When the Governor passed away last October, FLOW was honored to be named one of two nonprofit environmental organizations to be designated by his family receive memorial contributions in his name. We continue to accept such donations and will carry on work in Governor Milliken’s name, focusing on protection of the Great Lakes, groundwater and drinking water for all.
As we become increasingly aware of the crisis surrounding plastics in the environment, we need to increase research on the health effects of the microplastics we ingest each year. Tiny pieces of microplastic ranging from 5 millimeters down to 100 nanometers in diameter are showing up in oceans, lakes, and rivers and being entering the food chain as aquatic and marine organisms consume them.
The beaches along Michigan’s west coast have all but disappeared under the rising water levels of Lake Michigan as well as the other Great Lakes. In fact, lake levels haven’t been this high in well over 100 years. They reached an all-time low in 2013 before a meteoric rise brought them to an all-time high in just 7 years. If you love taking long walks along the lake shore, the high water and waves might just push you inland and on to private property. What can you do? Do you still have a right to walk the Great Lakes shorelines?
In the Great Lakes state, we think of water as abundant, if not inexhaustible. Not far from Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Ottawa County is bordered on the west by the bulging waters of an engorged Lake Michigan. However, over the past 30 years, increasing use of groundwater is causing water shortages and increasing pollution within the groundwater supply.
Over half the U.S. population, including 99 percent of the rural population, relies on groundwater for its drinking water supply. Groundwater is also used in crop irrigation. It may come as a surprise, then, to realize that most citizens are generally unaware of the nature and critical importance of groundwater.
As the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) intensifies here in the Great Lakes region and beyond, our thoughts are with those everywhere whose health and well-being are impacted. To ensure the safety of our staff, board, volunteers, and visitors, we have closed our office in downtown Traverse City through Friday, March 27—or longer, if needed, in response to emerging information and rapidly changing circumstances.
To foster appreciation of groundwater, FLOW is unveiling our groundwater story map. Packed full of information about the environmental significance of this resource, the story map is a window into one of Michigan’s overlooked assets.