COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Michigan’s Failure to Provide Clean Water for All

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 »

How many Microplastic Particles Do We Consume Every Year?

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.

Record-High Water Levels Present Tough Times for Great Lakes Beach Walkers

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?

Michigan’s Ottawa County has a Groundwater Conundrum

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.

Recognizing Our Symbiotic Relationship with Groundwater

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.

FLOW Office Closes through at least March 27 in Response to Coronavirus

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.

Cherish the Groundwater Under Our Feet

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.

Onus is on State, Not Citizens, to Turn on Water in Detroit

Since when is the burden of proof on residents to prove a health crisis to get a drink of water from the tap in their home? By refusing to grant relief to tens of thousands of residents in Detroit, the State has effectively deprived citizens of their rights under public trust law.

Great Lakes Histories: from Ruin to Recovery, Led by Citizen Leaders

“Since the beginning of Michigan as a state in 1837, we’ve had several resource binges,” FLOW senior policy advisor David Dempsey told the University of Michigan’s Great Lakes Theme Semester panel series: “Great Lakes Histories—Indigenous Cultures through Common Futures” on Monday in Ann Arbor. “We took a heavily timbered state and consumed over 90% of the resource in less than 50 years, leaving behind what commentators have called ‘a burned-over, cutover wasteland.’ Then we fouled the waters, first with mill waste and raw sewage, then with persistent toxic chemicals. Then we consumed the land, building unsustainable communities crawling across the landscape. … When Michigan awoke with hangovers from the first two binges, public-spirited women and men, volunteer conservationists and environmentalists, fought successfully for societal healing. Citizens pressured public officials to take over the cutover lands, plant trees and initiate mostly sustainable forestry, and build the largest state forest system east of the Mississippi.”