Environmental group applauds Michigan water plan

State officials have released the first part of a 30-year plan to manage, protect and improve Michigan’s water resources.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes developed the strategy. The initial phase focuses on educating citizens about the importance of healthy waters while nurturing and restoring aquatic ecosystems.

How well the state carries out the strategy will be measured through factors such as conditions of fish populations and the number of untreated sewage discharges.

Governor Rick Snyder says his administration will focus on five areas: ensuring safe drinking water; reducing by 40 percent the level of phosphorus in western Lake Erie, which can cause harmful algae blooms; preventing introduction of invasive species; investing in commercial and recreational harbors; and developing Michigan’s water trails system.

The Michigan Environmental Council says it’s very happy about the move, saying there are economic, health, and recreational benefits to focusing on and protecting the Great Lakes.

“We are pleased to see the official launch of this important strategy for Michigan’s water future, and we look forward to seeing the rest of the plan and working with state leaders to put it into action,” said MEC president Chris Kolb. “As summer vacation season begins and Michigan families head to our favorite places on the water, it’s great to see state leaders taking a thoughtful approach to preserve our cherished water resources and our Great Lakes heritage.”

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