News

Whitmer Signs Legislation Boosting State Environmental Budget

In late September, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a budget for state government that makes significant investments in environmental and energy programs. The funds will be spent in the state fiscal year that began October 1. Drinking water, climate resiliency and contamination cleanup programs received the largest allocations.  Here are the highlights.

Why Do Canadians Seem to Care So Little about Protecting the Great Lakes from Line 5?

If the Great Lakes are so important to Canadians, why do they seem to care so little about protecting them? Specifically, I’m talking about Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. Line 5 is a ticking time bomb, especially at the Straits, where Enbridge is proposing a tunnel for this decaying and dangerous dual pipeline—but if you read the fine print, it will take a decade to build and taxpayers will be on the hook for the risky endeavor.

Introducing the Olson-Dempsey Fund for Public Trust in the Great Lakes

FLOW is welcoming donations here to the newly launched Olson-Dempsey Fund. A true watershed moment: As FLOW in 2021 marks our first 10 years of groundbreaking work on behalf of public trust rights and responsibilities in the Great Lakes, we honor two of the most ardent champions of public water and most inspiring leaders in… Read more »

Pollution Prevention Is Source Water Protection

This week is the inaugural Source Water Protection Week. Although the term “source water” is unfamiliar to many, the resource to which it refers is critical to the health of millions of Michigan residents. “Source water” refers to the untreated source of public drinking water supplies. For most municipal supplies in Michigan, source water is drawn from the Great Lakes, including Grand Rapids and metropolitan Detroit, although a few communities have river or inland lake water sources. Several large communities, such as Lansing and Mt. Pleasant, use groundwater as source water and serve about 1.7 million Michigan residents. (For about 1.25 million Michigan households serving 2.6 million residents, private well water is the source of drinking water.)

FLOW Celebrates 10 Years, Honors Jim Olson and Dave Dempsey

Traverse City, Mich.—FLOW is celebrating our 10th anniversary of keeping the Great Lakes public and protected and kickstarting the next 10 years. Founded in 2011 by Jim Olson and directed since 2012 by Liz Kirkwood, both environmental attorneys, FLOW is a nonprofit law and policy center based in Traverse City dedicated to protecting the Great… Read more »

Lana Pollack Reflects: “There Isn’t Another FLOW”

“There isn’t another FLOW. There are many worthy environmental organizations but there isn’t another FLOW,” said Lana Pollack, former U.S. Chair of the International Joint Commission. “So I think that FLOW, although it’s not a political organization, it’s a deeply education organization. That has to come first before people will understand and demand of their government representatives protection for their most magnificent home.”

SepticSmart Week: Protect It and Inspect It

Groundwater, a critical part of Michigan’s water cycle, is out of sight—and so is the groundwater pollution that contaminates thousands of drinking water wells and reaches hundreds of rivers and lakes across the state. Despite its invisibility to the naked eye, groundwater contamination sickens Michigan residents. About 45% of the Wolverine State’s population drinks well water. September 20-24 is SepticSmart Week in Michigan and nationally—an opportunity for owners of property with septic systems to learn about the threat failing systems pose to our water resources, and ways to prevent or minimize such pollution. As our allies protecting Crystal Lake in Benzie County, Michigan, point out: Being septic smart can extend the life of a septic system, keep well water safe, protect the environment and prevent accidents at home.

Detroit Artist Liz Ably Talks Water’s Power in Art and on Earth

Detroit artists Liz Ably. Photo by Krissy Booth used with permission. By Matt Harmon Liz Ahlbrand is a multimodal artist living in Detroit. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. After an injury left her with severe chronic pain, she turned to the visual arts for new ways to cope and heal. Since… Read more »

The Story of “When Water Moves”

It begins for me with the question that haunts my days: How can I use my art, my words, my one small gift which brings me joy, to make a difference in those causes I consider most critical to supporting eco-vigor? In recent years, that attempt to “make a difference” has been focused on water. Thank goodness for FLOW, because through their Art Meets Water program, that impulse found a home, writes Anne-Marie Oomen.