Celebrate Michigan's water resources during Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week June 5-13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 3, 2021
Nick Assendelft, Public Information Officer, AssendelftN@Michigan.gov, 517-388-3135
Emily Finnell, Office of the Great Lakes, FinnellE@Michigan.gov, 517-599-1330

Gov. Whitmer issues proclamation marking annual event

Michiganders are drawn to the water, whether it's the Great Lakes, one of the state's more than 11,000 inland lakes and ponds or 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. To raise awareness of Michigan's water resources, Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week - June 5-13 - will celebrate our lakes and rivers around the themes of "Appreciate, Educate and Recreate."

"From Saugatuck to Saginaw and from Kalamazoo to the Keweenaw, Michiganders treasure their water resources. Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week is a timely opportunity to raise awareness of how much we rely on and treasure this resource that impacts Michiganders in so many ways," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Our MI Clean Water Plan will invest $500 million in water infrastructure from source to tap, and make improvements in wastewater systems to prevent sewage from getting into our lakes and rivers. We are also targeting $80 million to address climate change as we see increasing impacts on the Great Lakes and other water resources around the state, especially in coastal communities."

Gov. Whitmer also signed a proclamation that highlights the impact lakes and rivers have on the lives of Michiganders.

Throughout Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), along with its partners the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and the MiSTEM Network at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), will offer Michiganders an opportunity to show their appreciation of our state's lakes and rivers, highlight programs that educate residents to become lifelong water stewards, and provide information about how to recreate responsibly on or near lakes and rivers.

"We all can appreciate the unique resource that we have here in Michigan. Swimming, fishing, boating or just lounging on the beach are treasured pastimes for all Michiganders," EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. "With that comes the responsibility to be good stewards of our lakes and rivers and to educate future generations about the importance of caring for our water resources."

Here are ways that you can participate in Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week:

  • Post photos on social media of your favorite lake, river or water experience and use the hashtag #MiGreatLakesWeek.
  • Try your hand at Great Lakes trivia, posted to the DNR's Mi Nature Facebook page and at EGLE's Twitter feed.
  • Watch and share themed videos throughout the week: Appreciate our water resources, educate residents about stewardship and recreate responsibly.
  • Fish for free June 12-13. On these two days, the DNR will waive the need for a fishing license, as well as off-road vehicle license, trail permit and the Recreation Passport requirement for state parks and boating access sites.
  • Take your blanket to the beach and read the 2020 State of the Great Lakes report.
  • Check out the Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week webpage at Michigan.gov/GreatLakesWeek, where you'll find links to local events, education resources, videos, MiCorps volunteer sign-up, invasive species identification and how to properly dispose of old medications.
  • Open the From Students to Stewards toolkit, which is full of place-based educational resources for teachers that will instill in youth a desire to learn about water resources and how to be protective of lakes and streams.
  • As you decide how to enjoy the outdoors, follow these tips to recreating responsibly on the water, in the water and while fishing, as well as resources to consult regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, June 7, SEMCOG will host a public Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week webinar from 1:30-3 p.m. as part of its One Water Summer Webinar Series. Monday's webinar features presentations from SEMCOG, EGLE's Office of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). Speakers will talk about Southeast Michigan's drinking water, the state of the Great Lakes and the One Water campaign. You can register ahead of time or watch the presentation live Monday on SEMCOG's Facebook page.

"Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Great Lakes and all of Michigan's freshwater resources," said Amy O'Leary, executive director of SEMCOG. "It is also an opportunity to celebrate many partners, such as the Great Lakes Water Authority, local watershed organizations, county water resource commissioners, and more for their tireless efforts to protect and improve water resources while also empowering residents to be good water stewards."

"The Department of Natural Resources is proud to be a partner with EGLE on this celebration of Michigan's abundant water resources," said DNR Director Daniel Eichinger. "We are dedicated to protecting and managing the lakes and streams of Michigan so everyone has safe recreational opportunities to enjoy the greatest freshwater resource in the world."

# # #