The Blue Community Initiative seeks to solve local problems with collaborative solutions. Part of the process involves determining the issues of greatest concern to the community. As part of our Blue Communities effort in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed, we gathered local opinions on freshwater issues using the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Second Binational Great Lakes poll, the Healing Our Waters 2016 poll and a Blue Community (BC) stakeholder survey we created. The IJC poll surveyed over 4,000 Great Lakes citizens, both American and Canadian, on a variety of freshwater-related issues. The Healing Our Waters poll surveyed about 1,500 American citizens around the Great Lakes. Finally, our stakeholder survey focused on organizations, businesses, and local units of government within the Grand Traverse Bay watershed.

Each community faces its own unique problems when it comes to freshwater. Getting local opinions on what issues should receive priority is an important first step for a Blue Community. Combining the knowledge of local citizens and resource experts is key to establishing a smooth collaboration process that yields tangible results. We hope that each Blue Community finds success through this method