Microplastics, lake ecology, beach safety and more on tap at October conference

Traverse City to host top experts at State of Lake Michigan event.

Recent research has found anywhere from 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile in the Great Lakes. Photo courtesy of Greg Wohlford, Erie Times-News.

Recent research has found anywhere from 1,500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile in the Great Lakes. Photo courtesy of Greg Wohlford, Erie Times-News.

For those who care about the state of the Great Lakes - and Lake Michigan in particular - the place to be in October is Traverse City. Registration is open for an event featuring not just one lineup of experts, but three conferences focusing on Great Lakes issues.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will present the 9th Biennial State of Lake Michigan/15th Annual Great Lakes Beach Association Joint Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2015, at the Grand Traverse Resort Spa near Traverse City, Mich.

More than 350 resource managers, scientists, elected officials, planners, students, and interested citizens, are expected to attend to hear top experts and learn about the current status and science behind Lake Michigan and beach restoration and management. Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and MSU faculty members are involved in presenting and organizing sessions at the conferences. Activities include field trips, adjunct meetings, training sessions, and evening receptions.

This year’s conference also will showcase, for one-day only, The Freshwater Summit, an annual gathering for citizens and officials focusing on the Grand Traverse Bay region that explores both local and regional water issues and updates. The summit ($40 which includes lunch) will feature plenary sessions on microplastics in the Great Lakes, new research on Great Lake levels and implications from evaporation, and updates on Great Lakes coastal wetlands.

Whether choosing the Lake Michigan, beach or freshwater track, attendees will have an opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and network. First day field trips offer tours of the Platte River State Fish Hatchery, Kids Creek Restoration Project, Boardman River Restoration and Dam Removal or an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) demonstration at Northwestern Michigan College.

​Plan to attend and ​strengthen ​the ​network ​of ​individuals ​and ​organizations ​working ​to ​improve, ​protect, ​and ​celebrate ​our Great Lakes resources—but don’t wait too long to register as prices increase after Oct. 4.

The full 3-day conference costs $155. Other options include Day 2 only for $90, or Day 3 only for $40 (includes The Freshwater Summit). Discounts available for state of Michigan employees and students. Register online at www.michigan.gov/deqworkshops and click on “DEQ Workshops.”

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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