Michigan’s water strategy: A 30-year plan to manage Michigan’s waters

This strategy offers recommendations that will build economic capacity and sustain ecological integrity and protection of these resources.

In his 2012 energy and the environment message, Governor Snyder called for the development of a comprehensive water strategy. Led by the Office of the Great Lakes (OGL), they were charged with developing a 30-year vision that adopts an ecosystem approach, enhances economic opportunities regarding water and strengthens connections to place.

The draft strategy, Sustaining Michigan Water Heritage, A Strategy for the Next Generation, was released for public comment from June through August, 2015. This 160-page report outlines goals and outcomes based on 62 recommendations. These recommendations include a wide range of actions to improve and protect Michigan water health and quality. There are nine major goals with 22 of the most critical priority recommendations outlined with performance measures of success for each one:

Goal one: Michigan’s aquatic ecosystems are healthy and functional

Key recommendations: Prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species (AIS) and control established populations; develop a strategy to prevent nuisance and harmful algal blooms; reduce phosphorus in western Lake Erie by 40 percent; promote green infrastructure, low impact development and green spaces

Goal two: Michigan’s water resources are clean and safe

Key recommendations: Protect drinking water from contamination and spills; pass a statewide sanitary code and inspection requirements; secure funding for contaminated site cleanup; establish priorities for addressing emerging pollutants.

Goalthree: Michigan communities use water as a strategy asset for community and economic development

Key recommendations: Leverage water assets at all levels to create sustainable economic opportunities; support investments in commercial harbors and ports and addressing infrastructure needs.

Goal four: Michigan’s water resources support quality natural resources, recreation and cultural opportunities

Key recommendations: Expand real-time beach monitoring; prioritize investments in recreational harbors to address infrastructure needs; develop a water trails system.

Goal five: Michigan has a strategic focus on water technology and innovation to grow sustainable water based economies

Key recommendations: Accelerate technologies to solve water problems using entrepreneurial business-led initiative; establish voluntary water efficiency targets for major water dependent sectors

Goal six: Michigan invests in infrastructure and supports funding to maintain clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems

Key recommendations: Establish a long term water fund to achieve water strategy goals

Goal seven: Michigan has integrated outcome-based monitoring systems that support critical water-based decisions

Key recommendations: Implement a pilot water resource decision framework; support ground- and surface water monitoring

Goal eight: Michigan has the governance tools to address water challenges and provide clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems

Key recommendations: Create an integrated system to manage and achieve water quality and quantity at the local level; retain full authority to manage Michigan’s water resources

Goal nine: Michigan citizens are stewards of clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems

Key recommendation: Integrate water literacy into Michigan school curriculum standards.

Currently, the OGL is reviewing the over 750 comments on the strategy they received. They are updating the draft strategy and developing an Executive Summary. The final document should be released by late winter.

Read the complete Draft Water Strategy report online. Also, review the goals, recommendation and success measurements.

View the Traverse City Water Strategy Community Conversation on the draft plan with John Allen, Director of Office of the Great Lakes, online as well.

There a recorded webinar discussing the draft Water Strategy available online.

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