MUCC applauds MI Great Lakes Plan

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MUCC applauds MI Great Lakes Plan

1/14/09

Michigan Great Lakes conservation plan key to economic, environmental, and social stability

DETROIT, MICH - After six fast-paced months collecting public and stakeholder input, prioritizing, and re-drafting, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) stood for a brief moment of pause to celebrate the release of theMI Great Lakes Plan (Plan), Michigan's long-term strategy to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Lt. Gov. John Cherry and the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) officially released the Plan to the public on Tuesday. The Plan was initially launched six months earlier at the state capitol on the heels of the first recommendation from MUCC's report,Michigan's Role in Great Lakes Protection and Restoration: Analysis and Recommendations, to prepare a comprehensive action agenda for Michigan's efforts to restore, remediate, and protect the Great Lakes. Since that announcement MUCC has helped in the Plan's development, organizing nine critical public and stakeholder input sessions across the state in coordination with OGL's drafting of the Plan.

"The Great Lakes define our state and our lives," stated MUCC Policy director Donna Stine. "Restoring the Great Lakes is critical to Michigan's future, economically, socially, and environmentally."

Stine said the Plan comes at a critical time for Michigan because it contains a significant blueprint for investing in much needed Great Lakes infrastructure projects that are prime candidates for economic stimulus dollars. "We urge our Congressional delegation to strongly consider the recommendations outlined in the Plan when consideringMichigan projects for the new economic stimulus package. The recommendations clearly outline projects which create jobs while also addressing numerous problems facing the Great Lakes. From fixing sewers to removing dams, all involve putting people to work while restoring Michigan's natural infrastructure."

Recommendations outlined in the Plan give a new direction to state lawmakers as well.

"Restoring the Great Lakes through toxic cleanups and improved water infrastructure, Michigan engineers, scientists, and construction workers will be immediately put to work," said Stine. "Great Lakes restoration projects will further expand Michigan's tourism opportunities and attract new young talent to our state. The Great Lakes are this state's greatest asset and must be wisely managed."

As an organization comprised of sportsmen and women, MUCC remains primarily concerned about the ecological challenges outlined in the Plan. As aquatic invasive species, non-point source and toxic pollution, and altered habitat continue to deteriorate the quality of Michigan's sport fishery and other game and non-game species, Stine said MUCCy is gravely concerned about their detriment to the state's sport fishing and tourism industries. "Invasive species have altered the lakes' ecosystem while toxic chemical contamination continues to drive fish consumption advisories and algae and sewage pollution continue to suffocate fish and threaten human health."

"The state's economy, quality of life, scenic beauty, and ecological health are irrevocably intertwined with the health of the Great Lakes. Their vibrant health is the legacy that we wish to leave to our children, which serves as motivation to MUCC and our 40,000 members to quickly and efficiently get to work on implementing the MI Great Lakes Plan," Stine concluded.

The Executive Summary and full copy of the MI Great Lakes Plan can be obtained at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/MI-GLPlan_262388_7.pdf

Media Contact:
Donna Stine - (517) 346-6487, [email protected]

Dave Nyberg - (517) 346-6462, [email protected]
 


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