MSU Extension offers water school program for local officials

Water is essential for all facets of life from drinking to manufacturing. Better understanding and protection of this resource is necessary to insure the quality of our water resources for today and the future.

Buffer strips along surface water can improve water quality by reducing runoff. Photo credit: Terry Gibb, MSU.

Buffer strips along surface water can improve water quality by reducing runoff. Photo credit: Terry Gibb, MSU.

Water - It covers nearly three-quarters of the Earths’ surface. There are 250,000 rivers in the U.S. stretching over 3.5 million miles. Michigan has over 11,000 inland lakes and 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Water is one of the most important resources in Michigan. It provides economic benefits through transportation of goods and energy production, recreational activities throughout the year, and amenities to improve the quality of life for communities. Because of the vastness of this resource and its importance in our everyday lives, water education is essential to make the best decisions for individuals, communities and the region.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with Lawrence Technological University (LTU), are piloting the new Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials. This program, targeting local elected and appointed officials, is a policy-neutral, fact-based program.

The objective of the two-day program is to provide local decision makers and appointed and elected officials with critical, relevant information needed to understand Michigan’s water resources, including the fundamentals of water science, in order to support sound water management decisions and increase awareness of current and future local and state water issues. Critical connections will be made to Michigan’s Water Strategy and the Blue Economy.

Emily Finnell, Acting Deputy Director, Office of the Great Lakes states that, “By improving understanding of the way informed water management creates value for communities, we can help to build capacity for integrating water resources into community, economic development and watershed planning.”

This program includes both classroom and field tour experiences covering: water quality and quantity, economics, finance and planning, and water policy at the federal, state, tribal and local levels.

The field tour portion will enhance the classroom sessions with tours of LTU’s low impact design practices for storm water management, green infrastructure and other innovative best management practices used to address water quality issues.

In addition, MSU Extension has created the Water Toolbox, an electronic resource guide with links to variety of key water related references and legislation.

The MSU Extension Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials will be held on May 22 and 23 from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Lawrence Technological University.

Registration cost is free, but pre-registration is required. Walk-in space only available if space permits. Registration includes breakfast, lunch and snacks both days, resource materials, Toolbox flash drive and tour transportation. Deadline to register is May 17. To register, visit

For more information, call 586-469-6440 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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