Water Values

Every decision that is made regarding water reflects the values that the decision-makers hold. Recognizing and making these water values explicit could provide a new framework for decision-making in the management of water resources.

During discussions in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed, some of the values and goals identified by stakeholders included:

Sustainable Water

Improving and sustaining the quality and quantity of the region’s waters. This includes protecting wetlands and reducing stormwater runoff.

Human Use

Ensuring that waters are drinkable, fishable, and swimmable watershed wide. This includes considering how health is tied to water and how water bodies impacted by phosphorus and algal blooms, pharmaceuticals, or PFAS may have implications for human health. Also, promoting sustainable tourism.

Access to Water

Improving and maintaining ecological and social/cultural connectivity.

Developing a Water Ethic

Educating citizens of all ages, and promoting education, practice, and engagement. Fostering the embodiment of water values in the community.


Having the entire watershed on board, translating goals into practice/action, and institutionalizing and sustaining the work involved in community-based water management.