Michigan water school helps officials protect local water resources

Understanding the role that each level of government plays in protecting water quality will help to protect our state’s water resources and enhance Michigan’s commercial, agricultural and recreational economies.

Water is one of the most important resources in Michigan. The state has over 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline.  Water provides important economic benefits through transportation of goods and energy production; recreational activities throughout the year; and amenities to improve the quality of life for communities. Michigan waters and shorelines are vital to the culture and spirituality of the Tribal Nations and community members from across the globe.

The State of Michigan and most Michigan Tribal Nations have each outlined a water resources strategy with priority measures that support and provide an understanding of water principles, values, and concepts including water stewardship and data-driven decision making. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials supports the state’s water strategy. This two-day training/tour will provide elected and appointed officials at all governmental levels a better understanding of their role in protecting their water resources.

Michigan Water School, a joint effort between Michigan State University ExtensionMichigan Sea Grant and local organizations is a policy-neutral, fact-based program being held on September 17 and 18, 2018 at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, 6686 S. Center Hwy., Traverse City.  The program provides local and state decision makers with the information needed to understand Michigan’s water resources and the critical, relevant fundamentals of water science to support sound water management decisions.

Water School features a combination of in-class presentations, hands-on learning activities, interactive demonstrations and field tours. The program includes sessions on local water issues in the community and region, water quantity, water quality, economics, finance, planning, and water policy issues as well as a half-day field tour to enhance classroom content through highlighting innovative practices in the Traverse City area.

The cost for the two-day program, which includes all materials, lunches, refreshments and tour transportation, is $175 per person. Through a generous grant from the Erb Family Foundation, MSUE is able to provide a $100 partial scholarship to the first 25 individual who register based on first-come, first served basis. Scholarships are awarded on a reimbursement basis.  Individuals must include full payment at registration.  At the door registrations are not accepted for this program. The scholarship amount is reimbursed upon completion of all program requirements.  Register online here. Completion of the Michigan Water School program provides four Citizen Planner continuing education credits. 

For more information about the program, contact Emily Proctor, MSU Extension Educator at proctor8@anr.msu.edu or Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant Educator at breederl@anr.msu.edu . For more information or to request a scholarship, contact Terry Gibb, Senior Extension Educator at gibb@anr.msu.edu


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