Committing to a Healthy Lake Huron Forever

Executive Summary: Great Lakes One Water Partnership

Great Lakes One Water Partnership (GLOW)

The Great Lakes One Water Partnership includes six regional Great Lakes teams that encompass shoreline community foundations and conservation partners from the United States and Canada who have come together to advance water management for the economic, environmental and cultural benefit of communities throughout the Great Lakes Basin. Supported by the Council of Michigan Foundations, the goal of the partnership is to develop regional plans of action and on-the-ground projects that integrate community and environmental goals to secure a healthy future for the Great Lakes.

Lake Huron Team

The Lake Huron team is comprised of partners from the United States and Canada and is the only binational team.

The team is comprised of Lake Huron community foundations:
-Bay Area Community Foundation (Bay City, MI)
-Community Foundation Grey Bruce (Owen Sound, Ontario)
-Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (Alpena, MI)

And is supported by an Advisory Committee of local and regional organizations:
-Grey Bruce Sustainability Network
-Grey Sauble Conservation Authority
-Huron Pines
-Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Office of the Great Lakes
-Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy
-The Conservation Fund-Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network

The Lake Huron team also recognizes, through its consultation, the traditional stewardship of these waters by Canada’s First Nations and Indigenous knowledge in the formation of nature-based solutions for stormwater management.

Community Impact and Involvement

With critical support from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, the Great Lakes One Water Partnership (GLOW) was initiated by the Council of Michigan Foundations, because, at the heart of all community foundations, is a goal to provide sustainable support for their communities. They see first-hand that economic development, quality of life and community vibrancy are directly tied to the health of our natural resources as a Great Lakes region. By coming together, conservation organizations and community foundations can use their shared knowledge to assess environmental and community needs and make recommendations for action with everyone’s interests in mind.

Lake Huron Communities

The communities that will be reached by the efforts of the Lake Huron team include all of the counties and municipalities served by the three partnering community foundations; Bay Area Community Foundation, Community Foundation Grey Bruce and Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan.

Developing a Plan of Action

The goal of the Lake Huron team is to create a regional plan of action to help Lake Huron communities ensure the long-term health of the Great Lakes. Facilitated by Northeast Michigan conservation nonprofit Huron Pines, the Lake Huron team has created a draft Action Agenda with a set of community recommendations. Before the Action Agenda can move forward, the team is seeking input from the residents and stakeholders of Lake Huron communities. What follows is an overview of the recommendations being proposed in the Lake Huron Action Agenda.

Implementation

After public comment and committee review the Lake Huron team will secure a $300k seed grant from the Council of Michigan Foundations. The Lake Huron team will be responsible for raising an additional $200k in matching support through grants, investments and sponsorship to support the proposed Great Lakes protection efforts.

Proposed Action Agenda

The Lake Huron Action Agenda aims to provide communities with access to safe, clean water through stormwater management. Effectively managing stormwater reduces the amount of polluted water that enters lakes and streams and increases the amount of naturally-filtered water flowing into the groundwater supply.

By working closely with and alongside Ontario and Michigan residents, and First Nations partners, the recommended actions will bring additional resources and increase capacity for planning, identifying and completing nature-based solutions that connect the sunrise and sunset sides of Lake Huron and achieve large-scale positive change for our shared waters and our communities.

At the heart of the Lake Huron Action Agenda is a three-stage approach to long-term Great Lakes protection that we’re calling 1) Engage 2) Activate 3) Sustain.

Engage: Initiate dialogues in communities about the resources they need to take action.

By taking inventory of existing programs and partners and assessing current municipal green and grey infrastructure best management practices, Lake Huron communities will have the initial information they need to start taking steps toward Great Lakes protection. The goal of this stage is to facilitate increased access to knowledge, resources and technical experts to help communities establish a plan of action with prioritized solutions.

Activate: Connect communities to resources and deepen understanding through learning opportunities.

By supporting the activation of tailored learning opportunities that can be delivered to community leaders, Lake Huron communities will share expertise and access to understanding green and grey infrastructure that will in turn allow for prioritizing and implementing solutions. Through broad outreach and customized solutions, each community can be activated to protect the health of Lake Huron with solutions to meet their unique needs.

Sustain: Ensure long-term protection of the Great Lakes through sustained action.

Increasing the readiness of Lake Huron communities to collaborate on and implement clean water action through stormwater management, is one step toward sustainable water quality protection for Lake Huron. To further ensure the long-term protections of the Great Lakes local, state, provincial, federal and Great Lakes funders will need to prioritize funding for programs linked to Lake Huron and water quality protection.

Committing to a Healthy Lake Huron Forever

Lake Huron communities will be invited to take a Healthy Lake Huron Forever Pledge as they deepen their understanding of stormwater management and begin implementing solutions. The pledge signifies a commitment by community leaders to work together to support the future of healthy water for the entire region.