Video Testimonials Honoring Gov. William and Helen Milliken
Michigan’s late Governor William G. Milliken was celebrated at a public memorial on August 6, 2020, at Interlochen Center for the Arts. To honor the Milliken legacy, FLOW launched the “Helen & William G. Milliken Fund For Love of Water.” FLOW also published a series of video interviews in 2020 that feature those who best knew the Governor and his late wife Helen. Gov. Milliken, Michigan’s longest-serving governor, was known for his environmental stewardship and civility in politics. During his tenure in office from 1969 until 1983, Gov. Milliken provided critical support for Michigan’s 10-cent beverage container deposit law, expanded state funding for recreation and parks programs in Detroit, and signed the state’s landmark Michigan Environmental Protection Act, as well as laws to protect sand dunes, control hazardous waste, and promote recycling. Gov. Milliken passed away in October 2019 in his native and beloved Traverse City. He was preceded in his passing by Helen, herself a champion of environmental stewardship and the women’s rights movement.
Soaked: Living with Climate Change and Record High Waters in the Great Lakes Basin
Fluctuating Great Lakes water levels are nothing new. Since records have been kept, Great Lakes levels have varied by approximately 6 feet. What is new is a rapid swing from low levels as recently as 2013 to record highs today. There is good reason to believe that this dramatic increase is associated with climate change. The high water has gnawed away at beaches and bluffs, damaging homes and infrastructure and creating demand by shoreline property owners for environmental permits to armor their piece of the shoreline. The delicate balancing act between protecting private property and protecting the public trust—because Great Lakes submerged lands up to the ordinary high-water mark belong to the public—is a challenge for government and citizens alike. FLOW is profiling this concern with articles, videos and commentary. FLOW will continue to monitor high Great Lakes water levels and defend the public interest in assuring access to public trust shoreline and protection of sensitive coastal resources.
The Public Trust and YOU
“The Great Lakes belong to all of us. It’s in our DNA,” said FLOW executive director Liz Kirkwood. “We know that those waters that surround us, that bathe us, that nurture us underneath our feet, are inalienable rights for all.” During a high-water month of July 2019, FLOW published video postcards that featured Michiganders (and citizens of the Great Lakes Basin) explaining what the Public Trust Doctrine means to us and how our precious, publicly-owned fresh water shapes our lives and relationship to this place we call home. “We chose July because this is the height of summer and the connections people have with our waters,” added Kirkwood. “This is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the Great Lakes and think about what stewardship really means. What will we do to make sure these waters are protected for our children and our children’s children?” We saw the Public Trust Doctrine in action in late June 2019 when the State of Michigan and Attorney General Dana Nessel took the important step of defending the Great Lakes by suing Enbridge and alleging that its occupation of Line 5 violates the Public Trust.