By Melissa DeSimone, MLSA Executive Director
Michigan Lakes and Streams Association has now partnered with the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC). This is an outstanding organization that helps us to bring water and riparian issues to the forefront in Lansing. Earlier this month, we were able to participate in the Directors and Stakeholders meeting at Constitution Hall in Lansing.
This meeting brought all the major environmentally minded organizations in the state together to discuss the most pressing issues we currently face with the directors from the state agencies. The meeting was led by Director Liesl Clark of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE formerly DEQ), Director Dan Eichinger of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Director Gary McDowell of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. All three directors gave an update about their departments and held an open discussion about issues of interest to the MEC partners.
Topics of discussion included high water, algal blooms on Lake Erie, energy issues, Line 5, and PFAS, among others. It was good to hear from the directors that the effects of high water on inland water bodies is a top priority for the state agencies even though most of the press has been related to erosion on the Great Lakes. We discussed the effects of high water on the aquifer, the stress to septic systems, and the possibility of nutrient loading as a result. It was also clear that the departments are working together on these issues.
As we move forward in our relationship with MEC, we also look forward to the stronger voice this will afford us, the opportunity to build partnerships with other like-minded organizations, and this seat at the table with state directors for the discussion of pressing issues.