Watch a Recording of FLOW’s Past Webinars:

June 29, 2021 — Managing High Water & High Tension along the Great Lakes Shoreline

FLOW hosted a webinar providing frontline, scientific, regulatory, and legal insights into efforts at the state and local level to manage high waters and uphold public trust rights along Michigan’s Great Lakes shoreline.
Session description: While Great Lakes waters have receded from their 2019-2020 historic high levels, surface waters remain higher than their long-term average—except for Lake Ontario. Concerns remain regarding high water levels, construction of seawalls and other armoring, and impacts to public and private property, the environment and wildlife, and the public trust rights of people to safely access the shoreline and water.
FLOW Founder and Senior Legal Advisor Jim Olson will introduce the topic and moderate the co-panelist presentations and question-and-answer session with attendees.
Co-panelists include:

  • Jerrod Sanders, Assistant Director in the Water Resources Division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
  • David Bunte, Supervisor of Chikaming Township in Berrien County in Southwest Lower Michigan
  • Scott Howard, Attorney and Partner, at the law firm of Olson, Bzdok, & Howard


June 10, 2021 — An Evening With Robin Wall Kimmerer, best-selling author of Braiding Sweetgrass.

FLOW co-hosted this event with the National Writer Series and guest hosted by FLOW Board Member Matthew L.M. Fletcher, the Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Kimmerer weaves together a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires acknowledging and celebrating our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.


March 10, 2021 — Deep Threats to Our Sixth Great Lake: Spotlighting and Solving Michigan’s Groundwater Emergency

FLOW hosted a webinar providing insight and commentary on the state of Michigan’s groundwater and what can be done to better protect the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population. Session description: Out of sight and therefore out of mind, Michigan’s groundwater faces deep threats, including contamination in thousands of places by everything from failing septic systems to industrial chemicals. Co-panelists include: featuring FLOW senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey, Dr. Carrie Jennings, who is policy and research director at the Freshwater Society, and Dr. Alan Steinman, the Allen and Helen Hunting Director of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University.

August 5, 2020 — “Securing a Brighter Future Without Line 5 or an Oil Tunnel”

FLOW hosted a webinar providing the latest update on the 67-year-old Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel to replace them.

Session description: Presenters will share legal, scientific, and financial arguments for decommissioning Line 5 in the Straits before it ruptures and rejecting the tunnel scheme, and also will answer questions from attendees. The online event is supported with a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund. The timely session comes on the heels of Line 5 suffering “significant damage” and a court-ordered shutdown in June 2020, while the oil pipeline tunnel was dealt a major setback later that month when a state agency ordered a full review of the proposal rather than rubber-stamping it, as Enbridge had requested. Presenters include:

  • Dr. Edward E. Timm, PhD, PE, Retired as Senior Scientist, Dow Chemical Company
  • Stanley “Skip” Pruss, former Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth and former Chief Energy Officer for Michigan
  • Ian Bund, Senior Advisor, Plymouth Growth
  • Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community

July 22, 2020 — Exploring Legal Pathways to Shut Down Line 5 and Stop Oil Tunnel to Protect the Great Lakes

FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix co-hosted a webinar — in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, National Wildlife Federation, and citizen-led Straits of Mackinac Alliance — providing legal and other insights into the past, present, and future of the 67-year-old oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel to replace them.

Session description: This event is timed to closely coincide with the 10-year anniversary on July 25 of Enbridge’s Line 6B oil spill disaster near Marshall, Michigan, contaminating nearly 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and its watershed with a million gallons of tar sands oil, sickening more than 300 people, and destroying wildlife and habitat.
Presenters include:

  • Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW
  • Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix
  • Aaron Payment, Chairman, The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Patty Peek, Chair, Straits of Mackinac Alliance
  • Beth Wallace, Manager of Conservation Partnerships, National Wildlife Federation

June 17, 2020 — Nestlé: Stopping the Groundwater Grab” 

FLOW and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation co-hosted a webinar providing frontline, scientific, and legal insights into citizen-led efforts to challenge Nestlé, the Swiss-based corporate giant, in its quest to expand its groundwater grab in Michigan. Every year, Nestlé in its operations near Evart pumps hundreds of millions of gallons of public groundwater virtually for free, bottles it, and sells it under the Ice Mountain brand back to the public at a huge markup – while threatening streams that provide aquatic habitat and flow to Lake Michigan. Presenters include:
• Jim Olson, President & Legal Advisor, FLOW
• Peggy Case, President, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation