MUCC, Lt. Governor & Office of the Great Lakes Announce Michigan&#

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MUCC, Lt. Governor and Office of the Great Lakes Announce Michigan's Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes

6/5/08

MUCC releases report key to implementation of the strategy, along with policy recommendations

LANSING, MICHIGAN - Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) joined Lt. Governor John Cherry and the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) to announce The Michigan Great Lakes Strategy Initiative (Michigan Strategy), a framework to restore and protect the Great Lakes. MUCC also released Michigan's Role in Great Lakes Protection and Restoration: Analysis and Recommendations, the organization's gap analysis report, which was instrumental in developing the Strategy.

MUCC's gap analysis report is an in-depth look at the recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration compared with how Michigan is working to meet those recommendations. It also identifies where gaps exist between the Collaboration's recommendations and ongoing restoration, remediation or protection work in Michigan and outlines sixteen priority actions that will make the largest impact on further protecting and restoring our Great Lakes.

The Michigan Strategy will serve as a framework to ensure Michigan carries its water when it comes to restoring and protecting the Great Lakes, and is designed to strengthen Michigan's case for governmental policy and funding support. Watershed alliances, tribal entities and other non-governmental stakeholders will be invited to participate in the planning process and will assist in identifying specific efforts to be included in the final Michigan Plan.

MUCC's role will be to provide information on Michigan's action to restore and protect the Great Lakes according to the gap analysis. MUCC will host statewide meetings at the regional watershed level to ensure that the Michigan Strategy focuses on both the Great Lakes and the systems that keep them healthy.

On Michigan's state seal is the word "Tuebor" - Latin for "I will protect."

"The Great Lakes are the heart and soul of Michigan's way of life, economy, and primary reason that we live in a state treasured by sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts," said MUCC Policy Director Donna Stine. "Today, MUCC along with Lt. Governor Cherry and the Office of the Great Lakes are rolling up our sleeves to make sure Michigan lives up to this motto."

Great Lakes Restoration and Sportsmen

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, a concern to Michigan's fisherman and a detriment to the state's fishing tourism industry. Invasive species have dramatically altered the lakes' ecosystem and destroyed the commercial and sport fishery; toxic chemical contamination continues to drive fish consumption advisories on the Great Lakes and inland lakes; loss of vital habitats, such as wetland and upland, has reduced the ability of the lakes to buffer the stresses challenging their ecosystems; algae blooms are increasing in all of the Great Lakes, suffocating fish and wildlife; and untreated sewage continues to reach Michigan's waterways.

"Scientists have determined that the Great Lakes are at a 'tipping point,' and all of these cumulative effects may strain the Lakes past the point of recovery without action," said Stine. "There are some remarkable things being done at the local watershed and regional level -Michigan has committed billions of dollars to the Great Lakes; cities are dedicating millions of dollars to separate storm water from entering their sewage systems; and Michigan has led the charge in regulating ballast discharge into the Great Lakes to reduce the introduction of new foreign invasive species."

"The importance of implementing this Michigan Strategy hinges on organizing these efforts within a focused strategic effort to maximize our impact on Great Lakes restoration. It will take an intensified effort by individuals, businesses, non-profits, universities, tribes, and local, state and federal governments working together to keep our Great Lakes great - and that's what this Michigan Strategy is all about."

Michigan Keeper of the Great Lakes Award

A component of the Michigan Strategy will recognize Michigan's Great Lakes restoration heroes with an annual Michigan Keeper of the Great Lakes Award.

The first award is presented to Dr. Charles M. Nelson for his leadership in collaborating with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Michigan DNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and non-governmental organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and the Shiawassee Flats Citizens and Hunters Association. Together, the group procured over $13.8 million in North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant and matching monies, leading to the conservation of 18,073 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in Great Lakes coastal zones in Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair and western Lake Erie.

"The effort between Dr. Nelson and Ducks Unlimited is an excellent example of how one dedicated person and a well-organized conservation organization can make a difference in protecting the habitats critical to the health of the Great Lakes and its wildlife," said Stine. "There are many stories like Dr. Nelson's, and the Michigan Keeper of the Great Lakes Award will serve to recognize and inspire future stewards of the Great Lakes."

Dr. Nelson was also recognized by the Michigan Legislature today for his ongoing dedication to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

MUCC's report, Michigan's Role in Great Lakes Protection and Restoration: Analysis and Recommendations may be accessed at http://www.mucc.org/policy/gapreport.pdf (PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The Office of the Great Lakes' 2007 State of the Great Lakes Report may be accessed at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-ogl-StateGLRpt2007_219068_7.pdf

About MUCC

MUCC has been Michigan's first voice for Michigan's out-of-doors since 1937. With over 50,000 members and 400 affiliated clubs throughout the state, MUCC's primary objective is Uniting Citizens to Conserve, Protect, and Enhance Michigan's Natural Resources and Outdoor Heritage.


Media Contact:

Dave Nyberg (517) 346-6462 (Office)
 


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