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The Sixth Great Lake is Under Your Feet

It’s natural to stand on the shoreline of one of the Great Lakes and admire their vastness and majesty. But another abundant water resource in the basin is out of sight and rarely commands such appreciation. That’s groundwater. Between 20-40 percent of the water budget of the lakes (the total water flowing in and out of the system) originates as groundwater. Without this unseen water, the Great Lakes would be dramatically different from those we know. Strengthening public appreciation of and public policy protecting groundwater is a fundamental part of Great Lakes stewardship.

A Matter of Reverence

The COVID-19 pandemic that has so overwhelmed us all for these past many months has made me draw inward, wanting to protect the waters and all things of natural beauty just for myself, writes FLOW supporter and author Jerry Beasley in his essay, “A Matter of Reverence.”

Pandemic PPE Poses Environmental Threat

Face masks, gloves, eye protection, and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have become a part of our daily life during the Coronavirus pandemic. But as states have reopened and people ventured outside more, their improper disposal of this protective gear has threatened the environment.

The High Cost of Short-Sighted Water Pricing

Water is becoming unaffordable in communities across the state and the nation. The village of Beulah is one of many places across Michigan and the United States where residential water rates have skyrocketed. In fact, water bills have risen by 80 percent in the past decade for millions of Americans. This water affordability crisis is especially acute and painful during the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires frequent washing.

Water and the Environment are on the 2020 Ballot

Voting season has already begun in an election that will have much to do with protection of our water in Michigan and the nation. FLOW does not take positions on individual candidates, but we do remind voters to exercise their power in order to protect water and the environment generally. A statewide ballot proposal in Michigan, a Great Lakes agenda for the winner of the presidential election, and races for the Michigan House of Representatives all have clear environmental implications.

Gov. Whitmer’s Proposed Investments a Step Forward in Solving Michigan’s Water Infrastructure Crisis

On October 1, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced $500 million in investments in clean water. Three features of this investment package are particularly welcome. The severe decline in federal and state grants for water infrastructure since the late 1970s has led to an over-reliance on water ratepayers to repay bonds and loans used to finance much-needed infrastructure projects, resulting in soaring water rates which are unaffordable for households struggling to make ends meet.

Webinar Recordings

July 19, 2023 – The Strait Story: Enbridge Line 5 and Its Trespass on State Waters and Indigenous Lands Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is over 70 years old and remains a threat to the waters and people of the Great Lakes region. On July 19, FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix presented a special live… Read more »

High Water, Public Rights, and Michigan Shoreland Protection

Water levels in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan won’t drop anytime soon. Private waterfront homeowners rush to save their homes from loss. Citizens seek to preserve their public right to a walkable beach along the shore below the natural high water mark, and the State of Michigan and municipalities struggle to save valuable infrastructure for water, sewage, roads, dams, parks, and recreation.

Soaked: Living with 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… Read more »