for Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
1 – Great Lakes advocates say this week’s inauguration of Joe Biden as president presents several opportunities.
Those include accelerating progress to protect and restore the Great Lakes and the nation’s drinking water.
Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says her group urges President Biden to take action to ensure every person has access to safe and affordable drinking water, and invite hard-hit communities to the decision-making table.
Rubin says White House leadership, in collaboration with Congress, will be essential to boost federal investment in clean water programs that have been producing results for the environment and economy in communities across the region.
The coalition says there’s a need to address systemic inequities that have led to widespread water shutoffs in people’s homes, persistent toxic lead contamination and a growing water affordability crisis.
2 – The state is seeking input on a comprehensive strategy for more than 4 million acres of public lands.
The strategy covers state forests, parks, trails, game and wildlife areas, and other public lands and aims to “tap into the power of public lands for the benefit of Michigan’s residents, natural resources and economy.”
Officials with the Department of Natural Resources say the 2021 plan was drafted with input from the public and stakeholders received in the fall of 2020. Goals include protecting natural and cultural resources, providing access to outdoor public recreation opportunities and performing responsible natural resource management
The agency is inviting final input through Feb. 12 via an online via survey, and also accepting emailed comments.
The plan is available for review at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.
Officials intend to submit the strategy to the Legislature by July 1.
3 – The Nature Conservancy’s 2020 Conservation Excellence Agribusiness Award winner has ties to the Saginaw Bay region.
The conservancy says award winner Jacob Hall from the company Syngenta has served Michigan farmers in a variety of capacities. The group says he’s made notable advancements in agriculture conservation adoption across the Saginaw Bay watershed.
Hall’s support for and dedication to Saginaw Valley farmers allowed him to be seen as a trusted adviser, according to those who nominated him. Starting in 2019, he was instrumental in recruiting seven new farmers into the conservancy’s conservation partnership programs.
Those participants went on to implement 3,872 acres of new conservation practices in 2020, keeping 310 tons of sediment, 865 pounds of total phosphorus and 3,576 total pounds of nitrogen on the land and out of the water.