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Birkholz earns 'Great Laker' award: Office of Great Lakes Director recognized for career of service to Great Lakes

Agency: Environmental Quality

Nov. 23, 2011                                                                                                         11-1123

For More Information                                 Brad Wurfel, 503-241-7397, 



The Department of Environmental Quality today announced Patty Birkholz, Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, recently was named the recipient of the Public Official Great Laker Award presented by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.


Birkholz was selected for the award based on her past work as a state legislator responsible for landmark legislation in Michigan that set important precedents for Great Lakes protection. She played an integral role in building support for the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. She co-founded the Great Lakes Legislative Council, the only body of state legislators working across state lines on Great Lakes issues. Later, she led the development of Michigan's innovative water withdrawal law, a model for states throughout the Great Lakes that has received several awards.


In her role as Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, Birkholz has continued to champion the Great Lakes through a broad range of activities. She is spearheading an effort by the Great Lakes states and provinces to develop a unified regional approach to battling invasive species, and she is a key force in efforts to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.


The OGL is leading efforts to restore Michigan's Areas of Concern and anticipates soon celebrating the delisting of several AOCs. The OGL remains involved in implementation of the Great Lakes Compact and continues to build partnerships with water users and the conservation community to ensure wise management of our Great Lakes water resources. Under her leadership, the Michigan Coastal Management Program is working to develop and implement policies that will support the economic, environmental, and social health of Michigan's coastal communities.


Information about Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes is available at