Great Lakes
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MI - Investing in water and people

At the watershed council, our watershed monitoring and restoration efforts are only part of the picture. We’re also invested in people. We need to know how members of our Northern Michigan community use and understand water resources at their homes and businesses. In order to protect our waters, we need to know more about you.

At the watershed council, our watershed monitoring and restoration efforts are only part of the picture. We’re also invested in people. We need to know how members of our Northern Michigan community use and understand water resources at their homes and businesses. In order to protect our waters, we need to know more about you.

To gauge people’s understanding of watershed issues and track behaviors, watershed policy director Grenetta Thomassey undertook a series of surveys over the past decade. The surveys were targeted towards watershed residents, shoreline property owners and government officials. They focused on attitudes, awareness of issues facing Northern Michigan’s waters and limits on adopting or changing behaviors that would benefit watershed health. The results of these surveys, some of which Thomassey recently finished analyzing, indicate good news about the watershed council’s valuable work.

One set of surveys from 2014 focused on clean water and the economy. Studies show that tourism and property values depend on clean water. Visitors come to Northern Michigan because of clean, abundant water, which puts more pressure on our waters and forces us to work harder to maintain healthy resources. Our economy relies on it.

In the 2014 survey, we asked beachgoers in our four-county service area (Antrim, Emmet, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan counties) about water quality and beach recreation. Shoreline development and stormwater runoff have the potential to pollute lakes and contribute to harmful algal blooms. Of those surveyed, 80% said that if water quality declined from bacteria, algae, or other pollution, it would affect their decision to visit that beach.

Read more.