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Birkholz to serve as Office of the Great Lakes director

LANSING, MI - Governor-elect Rick Snyder today announced longtime environmentalist and conservation advocate Senator Patricia Birkholz will serve as director of the Office of the Great Lakes.

"Senator Birkholz is a tireless advocate for environmental causes," Snyder said.  "Throughout her entire careers she has worked to protect the Great Lakes and all of Michigan's water resources, and I have no doubt she will continue the fight to conserve the natural resources that make this state great."

In appointing Birkholz, Snyder also thanked outgoing director Ken DeBeaussaert for his distinguished service to the people of Michigan.

Birkholz served five terms in the Michigan Legislature, including three in the House and two in the Senate.   She was the first woman in state history elected president pro-tempore.

Birkholz's legislative work focused on protecting the Great Lakes and Michigan's groundwater; she championed the adoption of the historic Great LakesWater Compact and spearheaded passage of the nation's first scientifically-based water withdrawal legislation.  Birkholz also formulated the recently approved Parks Passport program to ensure state parks remain safe and available for future generations to enjoy.

In recognition of Birkholz's efforts to protect the environment, the Natural Resources Commission named a portion of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park in her honor.   

Birkholz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech pathology and completed graduate work in speech pathology and public administration at Western Michigan University.