Water School workshop set for Feb. 27-28, 2019, in southeast Michigan; new scholarships available

Elected and appointed officials from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties eligible for full scholarship to attend.

Top of water school flyer. Words Michigan Water School, Essential Resources for Local Officials imposed over picture of boats and lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Water is one of the most important resources in Michigan. The state has more than 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 workshop will provide elected and appointed officials and their staff at all governmental levels a better understanding of their role in protecting their water resources.

The program is a joint effort between Michigan State University ExtensionMichigan Sea Grant and local organizations. This month the policy-neutral, fact-based program is being held in partnership with the Clinton River Watershed Council on Feb. 27-28, 2019, at the Fire Station #1 Conference Room, 31313 Brush Street, Madison Heights.

Protecting watersheds and water quality

Watersheds in Michigan often cross multiple political jurisdictions and often suffer from complex water quality, quantity and policy issues that impact the overall physical and economic health and well-being of citizens. Michigan Water School 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. 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.

The Clinton River Watershed covers approximately 760 square miles in four southeast Michigan counties – about 40 percent of eastern Oakland County, about 75 percent of Macomb County, and small portions of southern Lapeer and St. Clair counties. The river (81.5 miles) and its tributaries (1,000 miles) flow through 60 rural, suburban, and urban communities with a total population of more than 1.4 million.

Scholarships available

Michigan 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 Clinton River Watershed.

The cost for the two-day program, which includes all materials, lunches, refreshments and tour transportation, is $175 per person. Two different scholarships are now available:                          

  • Through a generous grant from the Erb Family Foundation, MSU Extension is able to provide a $100 partial scholarship to the first 25 peole who request a one. Scholarships are awarded on a reimbursement basis. Individuals must include full payment at registration. The scholarship amount is reimbursed upon completion of all program requirements. This scholarship is open to all participants on a first-come basis. 
  • Thanks to generous support from Pure Oakland Water (POW), elected and appointed officials and their staff from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties can receive a full scholarship to attend the Michigan Water Schools. Pure Oakland Water is dedicated to protecting Oakland County and regional water resources through public education, community organizing, environmental advocacy and promotion of a sustainable future. POW chairman Jim Nash, who is also the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, sits on the Michigan Water School Advisory Committee. Commissioner Nash along with the POW board of directors are pleased to commit $4900 for 28 scholarships for MSU Water School programs through September 30, 2019. This scholarship is open to elected and appointed officials in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties.

For more information about the program, contact Kathleen Sexton, Clinton River Watershed Council at (248) 601-0606. For more information or to request a scholarship, contact Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator at (313) 410-9431. 

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 and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

This article was prepared by MSU under award NA14OAR4170070 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce through the Regents of the University of Michigan. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce, or the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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