December Marks 50th Anniversary of Drinking Water Tunnel Disaster

Fifty years ago, on December 11, 1971, 22 workers died in a tragic explosion while completing a tunnel designed to bring Lake Huron drinking water to the Detroit metropolitan area. The anniversary of the disaster was marked by a ceremony earlier this month. “We are honoring the 22 men who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our clean drinking water and they need to be remembered,” said Joel Archibald, business manager for a labor union that organized the ceremony.

What’s Your Favorite Great Lake?

FLOW senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey recently posted a survey on both Twitter and Facebook asking followers and friends to name their favorite Great Lake and to explain their allegiance. The answers were both quantitative and qualitative.

FLOW Welcomes Operations Manager Meagan Walters

FLOW welcomed new operations manager Meagan Walters to our team in early December. Meagan’s deep interest and commitment to clean water is demonstrated not only by her studies, but also by her experiences, including as the current president of the Grand Traverse Freshwater Society and prior internships monitoring water quality for the Long Lake Association in Traverse City and providing environmental education to the public at the Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire.

Does Environmental History Become Environmental Prophecy?

When a book of history you’ve written becomes history itself, this not only makes you feel old, but also gives you a chance, in hindsight, to see how accurate it is. Twenty years ago, in 2001, the University of Michigan Press published “Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader.” It was a book I’d long wanted to write. Based on 20 prior years of learning the environmental history of Michigan on the job, I attempted to put in perspective the good and bad in the state’s management of its natural resources.

Enbridge’s Attempt to Get into Federal Court Is Two Years Too Late

“The statutory deadline for removing this case to federal court passed over two years ago,” said Zach Welcker, Legal Director at FLOW, the Great Lakes law and policy center based in Traverse City. “Enbridge is making a frivolous argument that a federal court’s recent jurisdictional ruling in a separate case should give it another bite at the apple, but the apple is long gone as a matter of civil procedure.”

A Remembrance: Terry Swier, A Michigan Water Warrior

As anyone who knows Terry Swier could attest, it was her clear-sighted commitment to principle and her conviction, grounded like the roots of an oak tree deep in the soil with branches wide in the sky, that stood behind Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation’s victory over Nestlé. “Who owns the water?” Terry asked, something she would keep asking for the next 20 years. Not Perrier or Nestlé. It belonged to the public.

Jim Olson Passes the Torch to Zach Welcker, FLOW’s First Full-Time Legal Director

“I’m thrilled to be surrounded by all of this water and humbled by the opportunity to keep it public and protected for all,” says Zach Welcker, FLOW’s first full-time legal director, who is responsible for building on FLOW’s legal power, policy acumen, and partnerships—especially among tribes, conservation groups, frontline communities, justice organizations, and scientists—to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all.

2021 Reflection: FLOW Sees Successes and Celebrates Our First Decade Together Keeping Water Public and Protected

FLOW’s 10th anniversary in 2021 was more than an opportunity for celebration and reflection. It was also a year of significant progress in our work to strengthen protection of the waters of Michigan and the Great Lakes, using the public trust doctrine as a powerful tool. In July, we hit an organizational milestone when we hired Zach Welcker, FLOW’s first-ever full-time legal director — an achievement many years in the making.