Groups Urge MI Gov Snyder to Veto Great Lakes Diversion

March 1, 2016

Groups Urge Michigan Governor Snyder to Deny Great Lakes Water Diversion Request

PETOSKEY, MI – Over 25 environmental and conservation organizations and associations from throughout Michigan are urging Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to ensure the protection of our Great Lakes by denying a Great Lakes diversion request by the City of Waukesha, Wis. This diversion proposal fails to meet the legal standards of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact).

The Compact bans water diversions outside of the Great Lakes Basin with limited exceptions. The Compact allows for “communities within straddling counties” not currently using Great Lakes water to apply for an exception to its ban on diversions, but only if the community meets stringent requirements. The city of Waukesha asserts that it needs water from the Great Lakes to address water quantity and quality concerns. The city has long relied on a deep aquifer groundwater supply that has high levels of radium, a naturally occurring radioactive carcinogen, which exceeds federal health standards.

Just because Waukesha is eligible to apply for a Great Lakes diversion, does not automatically guarantee that they get approved. They must demonstrate that they have met the exemption standards of the Compact. All eight Great Lakes governors must approve the application; otherwise, the application is denied. As currently written, Waukesha fails to meet the standards of the Compact. Thus, it should be vetoed.

The proposed Waukesha diversion application is the first since the Compact was adopted in 2008. This application is a critical proving ground for the Compact, establishing its effectiveness and serving as a precedent for subsequent diversion proposals.

Michigan groups believe that Waukesha’s current application falls well short of the Compact’s requirements and therefore, request that Gov. Snyder veto this application on the grounds that it does not meet the exception standard requirements of the Compact.

“Waukesha is only the first of a number of communities that may line up for Great Lakes water in the coming decades,” said Jennifer McKay, policy specialist at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. “Gov. Snyder has no choice but to reject the City of Waukesha’s Great Lakes diversion water application to ensure that the integrity of the Compact to protect our invaluable freshwater resource from unwise use and unnecessary diversions.”

Specifically, Michigan groups sent a letter asking Gov. Snyder to veto the Waukesha diversion request because:

• The City of Waukesha does not justify why it needs to much more water than its currently using. Waukesha’s per capita water use or demand is declining and has been declining for about three decades. Waukesha’s demand forecast for 2050 assumes a significant increase in per capita water use. If anything, per capita water use should decline due to implementation of required conservation measures.

• Waukesha proposed to divert Great Lakes water to communities who do not need it. The city’s application included other towns in Waukesha County that, to date, have not demonstrated that they need Great Lakes water. In fact, some officials in these areas have indicated that they do not need any water either now or in the foreseeable future. Including these communities in the application is not consistent with the Great Lakes Compact.

• Waukesha has not demonstrated that it is without a reasonable water supply alternative. A July 2015 report by two independent engineering firms found that Waukesha has a feasible water supply alternative. The report concluded that Waukesha can use its existing deep and shallow water wells to provide ample clean and safe water to its residents now and in the future if it invests in additional water treatment infrastructure to ensure the water supply meets state and federal standards. Over three dozen other communities in Wisconsin alone, not to mention scores of other communities around the country, have chosen to treat their water and provide safe potable drinking water to their residents.

“The heart and soul of the Great Lakes Compact is the ban on diversions. Waukesha fails to meet the standards of the Compact,” said Marc Smith, policy director, National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Regional Center. “As the first diversion proposal under the Compact, this is serving as a precedent. We have to get this right.”

Signatories to the letter include:
Burt Lake Preservation Association • Dwight Lydell Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America • Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association • For Love of Water • Friends of Clam Lake • Friends of the St. Joe River Association • Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities • Huron River Watershed Council • League of Women Voters of Michigan • Lone Tree Council • Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch • Michigan Clean Water Action • Michigan Environmental Council • Michigan League of Conservation Voters • Michigan United Conservation Clubs • Mullet Lake Area Preservation Society • National Wildlife Federation • Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council • Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Association • Sierra Club Michigan Chapter • Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment • Three Lakes Association • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • Torch Lake Protection Alliance • The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay • West Michigan Environmental Action Council • Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve

For more information, please visit:

Jennifer McKay, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, 231-347-1181,

Marc Smith, National Wildlife Federation, 734-255-5413,

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Keep Great Lakes Water in the Great Lakes


The above video sends a message that you all should know about…

Did you know that right now, the Great Lakes governors and Canadian premiers of Ontario and Quebec are reviewing the first Great Lakes diversion proposal under a new law – called the Great Lakes Compact?

More info can be found here

For those that don’t know, the Compact bans diverting Great Lakes water outside of the Great Lakes basin, with limited exceptions. All 8 Great Lake governors must approve this. All it takes is one veto to stop the diversion. As currently written and submitted, this diversion does not meet the exception standards of the Compact. Thus should be denied.

Stand up for the Great Lakes and tell your Governor to deny this diversion proposal

Whether you hunt, fish, birdwatch, camp, canoe, or swim…the Great Lakes are a value to all of us.  They provide a cultural and economic identity.  They are part of our lives and help define who we are as a region — and thus must be protected.

The Great Lakes Compact was designed and adopted to do just that: Protect our Great Lakes.  The heart and soul of the Great Lakes Compact is the ban on diversions.  Only under the Compact’s exception standard can a community apply for a diversion.

The Compact says that a community (such as Waukesha) applying for a diversion must demonstrate a need for water and demonstrate that there is no reasonable alternative to obtain water.

In essence – in my opinion – diversions, under the Compact, are a last resort.

As this is the first diversion application since the Compact passed in 2008… today…we are writing history.  This process and application represent a critical proving ground for the Compact: establishing its effectiveness and serving as a precedent for subsequent diversion proposals.  So, we have to get this right.

This is not about saying NO to a town.  Rather, this is about following the Compact standards.

Lake Michigan beach, Petoskey, Michigan - Michigan Travel Bureau - EPA

We are concerned that this application fails to meet those standards.

Here is why:

1) The diversion proposal does not justify why Waukesha needs so much more water than it is currently using (they are currently using 6 mgpd on average – but are requesting a max capacity of 16 mgpd). That is quite a jump and is not consistent with demand forecasts and historic trends that show water usage in the region is on the decline.

2) The diversion proposal does not consider all reasonable alternatives to provide water to its residents. Ie: treating for radium. That seems the obvious alternative – if not reasonable. Obvious and reasonable because almost 40 other towns in SE WI (let alone many others across the country) have chosen this route as a way to provide water to their communities.

3) This proposal would divert Great Lakes water to communities that do not need it. Nor do those towns have plans to hook up now or in the future. This ‘extended service area’ goes well beyond the intent of the Great Lakes Compact.

Diverting Great Lakes water to towns that have not demonstrated a need??? This is clearly not consistent with the exception standard in the Compact.

4) The return flow plan would discharge treated wastewater to Racine (a community who does not want this – nor had any say in this decision).

These concerns raise many questions about this application meeting the exception standards in the Compact.

The Great Lakes states and provinces spent years – many long hours in windowless hotel conference rooms – debating these standards. Now is the time to ensure those standards are now met and applied to this diversion proposal.

Given these concerns, we feel this application falls well short of the Compact requirements.

Tell your Governor to deny this Great Lakes Diversion.


Posted in Great Lakes, Water | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

First Request To Divert Great Lakes Water Heads to Great Lakes Governors and Premiers



Alliance for the Great Lakes – National Wildlife Federation

Marc Smith, National Wildlife Federation, 734-887-7116,
Molly Flanagan, Alliance for the Great Lakes, 312-445-974,

First Request to Divert Great Lakes Water Heads to Regional Governors and Premiers

Yesterday the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources forwarded the City of Waukesha’s application to divert Great Lakes water to the governors of the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian premiers for review. It’s the first time a request to divert Great Lakes water has been put to the region’s governors and premiers since passage of a historic pact to prevent water diversions of the iconic Lakes, while promoting wise water use in the region.

Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, and Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, both serve on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council Advisory Committee, said today:

“We look forward to reviewing the final application. We remain concerned, however, based on the city’s previous draft application that Waukesha has, to date, failed to demonstrate that it needs to divert Great Lakes water—and had no other alternative—to meet its needs. In fact, independent analyses have shown that Waukesha can meet its water needs – saving upwards of $150 million – by relying on existing water supplies, removing from the application towns that do not need water, and following its own water conservation plans. That’s why we do not think this request to divert Great Lakes water meets the strict and protective standards of the Great Lakes Compact.

“As the Great Lakes governors and premiers begin review of this diversion application, we encourage a robust public participation process that allows people across the Great Lakes to have their voices heard and that each state and province take their role seriously in evaluating whether or not this application meets the strict standards in the Compact in protecting the Great Lakes.”


Under the Compact’s ban on diversions, any diversion application must be approved by all eight Great Lakes states, with input from the two Canadian provinces. Any state may veto the diversion application. Starting January 12, the public will have 60 days to review the application and a public meeting will be held in Waukesha, Wis., on February 18, 2016.

Posted in Great Lakes, Uncategorized, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fish Farms in the Great Lakes?

Caged fish that are essentially CAFO’s directly IN our Great Lakes.

Just say no Michigan. 

Its that simple. 

credit NOAA

Pure Michigan? credit NOAA

12/7/2015 update:  NWF and our state affiliate Michigan United Conservation Clubs submitted comments to the MI DEQ about our concerns with the potential of net pen aquaculture in our Great Lakes.  Check them out here…

MUCC NWF Comments on Net Pen Aquaculture 12 2015

Fish farms don’t belong in the Great Lakes

Caged fish culture densely concentrates thousands of fish and fattens them up with food pellets and pharmaceuticals. Factory fish farms deposit thousands of pounds of algae-producing fish waste and chemicals in our public waterways, all for the creation of a handful of jobs.

Michigan officials have been approached with at least two proposals for fish farms, in Lake Michigan near Escanaba and off Rogers City in Lake Huron. State agencies have assembled a panel to look into these plans and explore the possibility of aquaculture in Michigan’s Great Lakes.

Sport fishing in Michigan  supports  38,000 jobs and is valued at more than $4 billion a year. Aquaculture proposals are a threat to that important industry, since farmed fish are known to escape their cages, spread disease and crowd out wild fish. Risking our sport fishery for commercial aquaculture is like throwing back a king salmon to keep a minnow. Caged fish culture in the waters of the Great Lakes just doesn’t make good business sense — and it’s even worse from an ecological standpoint.

Cage cultured fish also pose a serious health risk to their wild cousins because they have a track record of spreading diseases. Crowded fish cages are breeding grounds for disease and parasites. In 2007, a virus broke out in Chile’s salmon farms. Infected fish developed tumors and their kidneys and livers shut down. Within weeks, about 70% of the country’s farmed salmon were dead.  While Chile has no wild salmon population to speak of, what would such an outbreak mean for Michigan’s salmon fishery or the hundreds of Great Lakes charter boat companies and river fishing guides it supports?

Managing disease risks at fish farms often involves applying antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals that could persist in the environment and impact other fish, wildlife and, potentially, people.

It is another reality of industrial aquaculture that fish inevitably will escape. In 2009, about 40,000 adult fish escaped a British Columbia salmon farm when workers accidentally ripped a hole in the bottom of a cage while removing dead fish. A Scottish salmon farm lost an estimated 300,000 fish during a 2011 storm. These events are commonplace.

As has happened elsewhere, these escaped fish will compete with wild fish for food, disrupt their natural reproduction and interfere with their genetic diversity. These disruptions would erode our wild fish population’s ability to adapt and survive. The Great Lakes host some of the world’s best fishing for steelhead, a variety of rainbow trout. The proposals before the state call for cage-raising rainbow trout, and the inevitable escapes put our wild steelhead population in danger.

There is a right way to do aquaculture. Contained systems on land — systems that recycle their water and are totally separated from our rivers and lakes — can be a sustainable source of nutritious local food and economic development. Michigan has plenty of warehouses and other vacant spaces that are ideal for these closed-loop systems, and we hope to see this industry thrive.  We are eager to support policy ideas that make closed-loop aquaculture more economically viable.

But the Great Lakes are a different story.  They belong to all of us, and no private interest should transfer the risks of their business venture to the citizens of this state and the future generations who will inherit our natural resources.

Fortunately, Sen. Rick Jones and bipartisan co-sponsors have introduced Senate Bill 526, which would ban aquaculture in the Great Lakes and connected waters. Such a ban is the only way to guarantee our freshwater seas are safe from cage-raised fish. We urge the Legislature and the Snyder administration to support it.

Bryan Burroughs is executive director of Michigan Trout Unlimited, Dan Eichinger is executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Chris Kolb is president & CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council 

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Shark Free Great Lakes?

Growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I spent tons of time on the beach and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.  Whether it was 53rd street with my best friend, the late Greg Wright, to 76th street where we played volleyball, surfed and buried full kegs of beer in the sand.  We all shared the ocean with porpoises, crabs, jelly fish and yes, sharks.

Although I never remember any encounter with sharks growing up, it seems that lately shark sightings/attacks are increasing along the Atlantic?  Why is that?  Is it the increased water temperature? Drought conditions that create saltier waters that sharks like?  I don’t know. Shark experts seem to think so.

What I do know is that some people will go to some humorous extremes to protect themselves from sharks…


Couple “Macgyver’s” a cage off the coast of the Outer Banks, NC this summer

Since moving up here to Michigan in 2004 from Northern Virginia, I can honestly say I strongly prefer the clean, fresh water of the Great Lakes to the Ocean.  As my 10 year old son Patrick says, “I like the Great Lakes because there are no sharks.” This is coming from a little dude who is obsessed with sharks – named his soccer team the ‘Sharks’ – and begged me to watch the movie Jaws with him. I gave in and we watched it together earlier this summer. (I must say that after 40 years, Jaws still holds up well).

As we get ready to head to Lake Michigan this weekend for a vacation with our family, we don’t have to worry about sharks.  We Great Lakers pride ourselves on the premise of No sharks in our waters. 

unsalted shark free GL

This sticker is found on cars, lap tops, t shirts, coffee mugs…you name it….all across the Great Lakes region

But should we be worried?  Is it possible that sharks could be swimming in the largest freshwater resource in the world?  Bull sharks in the Great Lakes?

After reading this, do “we need a bigger boat”? 

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#ICAST2015 A Blast to Attend

I just got back from the 58th International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known in layman terms as ICAST.

This trade show is also sponsored by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s trade show, the International Fly Tackle Dealer show, better known as IFTD.

This was my first time attending and must say I was very impressed.  Over 12,000 people representing the sportfishing industry came to see the latest in innovations, gear, tools, and network among the leaders in the key industries.  If you love fishing…this is a must see event.

Thanks to American Sportfishing Association and the American Fly Fishing Trade Association for running this fantastic event.

I am already booking my trip next year….

credit marc smith

credit marc smith

ICAST Email Header No Register

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For Immediate Release

Mary Jane Williamson, Communications Director, 703-519-9691, x227

The World’s Largest Sportfishing Trade Show is Bigger Than Ever
ICAST 2015 hosted the global sportfishing industry July 14-17, in Orlando, Florida

Orange County Convention Center – July 17, 2015 – From exhibitors to buyers to outdoor media, almost 13,000 representatives of the global sportfishing community converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., July 14-17, for the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. The 58th International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST, produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), is the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry and is the showcase for the latest innovations in tackle, gear and accessories.

“This was, without a doubt, the biggest show that we have produced,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Between the exhibitors, buyers and media, the response has been the same – this is an outstanding show. ICAST is our industry’s show. Our commitment to our member exhibitors, media and all show attendees is to listen and improve this show in any and every way we can.”

Nussman further said, “The Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, who was our State of the Industry Breakfast keynote speaker, had everyone fired up about the importance of teamwork and the importance of possessing a genuine appreciation for your work and always being and doing the best you can.”

Nussman also noted, “On Thursday afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott met with industry leaders in a round table discussion about being more effective in advocating for our sport and working to keep Florida the number one fishing and boating state in the U.S.”

Dave Bulthuis, ASA’s chairman of the Board and vice president of Sales for Costa, had this to say about the show. “By far, 2015 was the best show ever, and next year is going to be even better. I expect to see everyone in Orlando in 2016.”

Gregg Wollner, immediate past ASA board chairman and Rapala’s executive vice president echoed Bulthuis’ comments by saying that ICAST 2015 was the best show we’ve ever produced.

“I will echo what everyone else has said: this was a great show. The evolution of ICAST is one of the most exciting aspects of the show,” said Show Director Ken Andres. “We’ve gone from a three-day trade show to ICAST Week and Super Tuesday.”

Andres noted, “I can’t begin to tell you how gratified I am that the first Super Tuesday, with the ICAST On the Water product demonstrations, the ICAST Cup bass fishing tournament, the Bass & Birdies golf tournament and the world-class concert with Easton Corbin, really upped the excitement level for the show.”

“There is no doubt that the show will continue on this growth trajectory as it expands to appeal to everyone in the fishing industry and everyone who wants to do business in the fishing industry. And that means global as well as domestic,” concluded Andres.

“Social media exploded this year with more and more exhibitors, buyers and media using all the social media channels available to them to get the word out about their products and the show.” said ASA’s Communications Director Mary Jane Williamson. ”More than 7,000 people engaged with us on ICAST’s Facebook page this week, reaching more than 93,000 people and 107,000 people engaged with us on Twitter either through direct tweets or re-tweeting. The word got out there this week about this show!”

2015 ICAST Show Sponsors
ASA would like to thank its generous members who signed on as ICAST sponsors. Our ICAST 2015 sponsors are: GoldCrocodile Bay Resort; Costa; Discovery’s Destination America; Experience Kissimmee; Fishing Tackle Retailer; FLW, LLC; Florida Sportsman: Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation; Under Armour, Inc.; Visit Orlando; and World Fishing Network. SilverAmerican Tackle Company; In-Fisherman; Koppers Fishing & Tackle Corp; Marolina Outdoor Inc.; Pure Fishing, Inc.; and Wild Instinct Outdoors. BronzeBeyond Coastal; Buck Knives; Chums; Classic Fishing Products, Inc.; EvoCaps; Grander Custom Tackle, LLC; H2Outdoors; and Sunsect, Inc.

The New Product Showcase “Best of Show” Awards
Making up a special section of ICAST’s half a million gross square feet show floor, the New Product Showcase provides unique visibility for the latest innovations in sportfishing gear and accessories. The submitted products compete in the “Best of Show” competition where buyers and media members judge each new product.

This year, 270 companies submitted 889 products in the New Product Showcase, all vying for Best of Show honors in 24 categories and the overall “Best of Show” award.

First-time exhibitor, eddyline kayaks and their C-135 YakAttack Edition was voted by buyers and media as the most innovative product in the ICAST 2015 New Product Showcase in both the Boat category and the overall “Best of Show.”

This year’s New Product Showcase winner’s also included first-time ICAST exhibitors Under Armour, Lifeshirt, RinseKit and YOLOtek.

The ICAST 2015 “Best of Show” awards were presented on Wednesday, July 15, during the Chairman’s Industry Awards Reception, sponsored by Costa, at the Orange County Convention Center.

ICAST 2016 is being held July 12-15, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

2015 ICAST New Product Showcase Award Winners
For product details, images and other information please contact the individual award winners’ contacts listed below.


ICAST 2015 Overall Best of Show – eddyline kayaks
Product: eddyline C-135 YakAttack Edition
Media Contact: Tom Remsing  

Best of Show – Freshwater Rod – G. Loomis, Inc.
Product: E6X Bass
Media Contact: John Mazurkiewicz  

Best of Show – Saltwater Rod – St. Croix Rods
Product: Avid Inshore
Media Contact:
Rich Belanger

Best of Show – Fly Fishing Rod – St. Croix Rods
Product: Mojo Bass Fly
Media Contact: Rich Belanger  

Best of Show – Freshwater Reel – Shimano American Corporation
Product: STRADIC C3000HG-K
Media Contact: John Mazurkiewicz  

Best of Show – Saltwater Reel – Pure Fishing, Inc.
Product: PENN Clash
Media Contact: Ron Giudice

Best of Show – Fly Reel – Pure Fishing, Inc.
Product: New Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel
Media Contact: Ron Giudice  

Best of Show – Hard Lure – Savage Gear
Product: Hard Shrimp
Media Contact: Brandon Cotton  

Best of Show – Soft Lure – Koppers Fishing
Product: LIVETARGET Hollow Body Sunfish
Media Contact: Tom Chopin  

Best of Show – Lifestyle Apparel – Under Armour, Inc.
Product: UA Storm Covert Pant
Media Contact: Eddie Stevenson  

Best of Show – Technical Apparel – Lifeshirt
Product: Aegis Lifeshirt
Media Contact: Jim Emmons

 Best of Show – Boating Accessories – YETI Coolers
Product: YETI Hopper 20
Media Contact:
Mike May  

Best of Show – Boats – eddyline kayaks
Product: eddyline C-135 YakAttack Edition
Media Contact: Tom Remsing  

Best of Show – Combo – Lew’s Fishing Tackle
Product: Mach 1 Combo
Media Contact:
Gary Dollahon  

Best of Show – Electronics –Johnson Outdoors
Product: Humminbird HELIX 7 SI
Media Contact:
Jim Edlund  

Best of Show – Eyewear – Costa
Product: Rooster
Media Contact: Liza Jones  

Best of Show – Fishing Accessory – RinseKit
Product: RinseKit
Media Contact: Whitney Coombs  

Best of Show – FishSmart – Release Ruler
Product: Freshwater Release Rulers
Media Contact: Neilson Paty  

Best of Show – Fly Fishing Accessory – Simms Fishing Products
Product: G3 Guide Stockingfoot
Media Contact: Rich Hohne  

Best of Show – Footwear – Simms Fishing Products
Product: Current Shoes
Media Contact: Rich Hohne  

Best of Show – Giftware – YOLOtek Product:PowerStick
Media Contact: Christian Corley

Best of Show – Kids’ Tackle – Steinhauser, LLC
Product: Tangle-FREE Combo
Media Contact: Ralph Duda  

Best of Show – Line – PowerPro
Product: Maxcuatro
Media Contact: John Mazurkiewicz

Best of Show – Tackle Management – Eposeidon Outdoor Adventures, Inc.
Product: KastKing Rack ‘em Up Rod Racks
Media Contact: Tom Gahan

Best of Show – Terminal Tackle – Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle
Product: Lazer Sharp Fillet Knife
Media Contact: Nickie Kiefer

ICAST 2016 will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., July 12 – 15, 2016. For complete ICAST information, visit


The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice, speaking out on behalf of sportfishing and boating industries, state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 60 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate over $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

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Good Day for Clean Water

If we want to pass on our wildlife and outdoor heritage to our kids and grandchildren, then we need clean water. 


My daughter casting better than her old man. Clean Water = Good Fishing.

We just took a huge step towards cleaner water this week.

This past Wednesday, the EPA finally released its Clean Water rule.

The EPA Clean Water rule will restore longstanding protections to many of the Great Lakes and our nation’s wetlands, streams and lakes, conserving critical fish and wildlife habitat and providing flood control, cleaner drinking water and a host of other benefits.

Protects public drinking water for more than 30 million people

The rule restores Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands that supply drinking water to 1-in-3 Americans—117 million people, 30 million of whom live in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

While we can celebrate this rule, our work is not done.  There are still some in Congress that want to prevent the Rule from being implemented, despite very clear language in the final rule about exempted activities and which types of waterways and wetlands are covered and which are not.

Now that the Clean Water Rule is finalized, we are now going to need everyone’s help defending it.

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Keep Michigan’s Public Lands in Public Hands

If you look at the map of Michigan, you see lots of blue.  No doubt, we have lots of water:

  • 11,000 inland lakes.
  • 3,000 miles of freshwater shoreline-more than any other state in the nation.
  • Michigan has more total shoreline than any state except Alaska.
  • Michigan has tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
  • In Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from water and great fishing.

But we also have lots of green. Public Lands:

  • 4.5 million acres managed by MIDNR.
  • 5.7 million federal acres split between USFWS, US Forest Service, National Park Service, and BLpublic hunting area MIM.

Find how much your state has in federal and state lands here.

Value of Public Lands

Whether you have a fly-rod in hand, hiking boots on, binoculars scanning the horizon, or a shotgun afield, many of us have experienced the enormous wealth that our public lands provide.  Our public lands are both federal and state land.  From large stretches of land that provide clean water sources, to hosting intact fish and wildlife habitat, to special places where we can hunt, fish or simply connect with the outdoors, the value of our public lands is increasingly clear.

Here in Michigan, I have hunted for grouse and woodcock on public land. I have enjoyed duck hunting on public land. I have caught plenty of fish in streams and rivers that flow through public lands.  I have camped with my family on public lands and enjoyed the scenic shores and dunes that our public lands have provided.

These experiences would not be abundant and available if it weren’t for public lands. Its clear that our public lands are a value.

However, our public lands in Michigan are facing an unprecedented attack.

While conversations about divestment in public lands is not new to Michigan, we are now hearing increased calls to sell off our public lands.  A land cap has been in place in Michigan since 2012, restricting the ability of the DNR to procure high-value lands for the state’s recreational and conservation interests, as well as forcing the sale of certain lands held under public ownership. At the time, a compromise was reached that sunset the cap in the Lower Peninsula (ends this year) and allowed for the cap in the UP to be removed once a formal DNR “land plan” had been approved by the legislature. Using strong stakeholder input, the DNR put together a land plan and submitted it to the legislature 18 months ago. The first attempts at approval (formal bills) languished and died. Legislation has been introduced that, while allowing the cap to be lifted, place long-term burdens on the DNR and risks the integrity and survival of our public land system in Michigan. For example, it would require all state lands to be open for all forms of access, with only a few exceptions. Dirtbikes and ATV’s on grouse enhanced management trails? Snowmobilers and cross-country skiers using the same trail? If this goes through, imagine the conflicts and irritations amongst all the different types of users on these lands.  Not to mention, the degradation on certain habitats due to mixed use.

Michigan has over 4.5 million acres of land available – enough that we can have different lands and trails open for different types of access, without making all lands open to all types of access. The introduced legislation would also require new caps to be put in place every 5 years, unless the Legislature approves DNR submitted land plans prior to the five year window. Considering the length of time it has taken to legislatively “approve” the current plan, such actions are unlikely to occur within the proposed window of time, resulting in future restrictions. A longer background and discussion for Senate Bills 39, 40, and 206 can be found at Michigan United Conservation Club’s website.

When it comes to public land management, we should be placing hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, camping, and hiking interests first.  Keep Public Lands in Public Hands. So that those who use/pay for these areas do not lose them.  We need a clean land cap bill without any strings attached. 

Defending All Public Lands

For more on what is happening on the national level and mostly out west, check out National Wildlife Federation’s President and CEO, Collin O’Mara’s article that ran in The Hill.  Also pasted below:

Keep America’s public lands in public hands

credit: Lew Carpenter

credit: Lew Carpenter

May 8th, 2015

By Collin O’Mara
For many families, spring means one thing: spending more time outdoors. Few outdoor experiences rival hiking, fishing, hunting, or wildlife watching on public lands. And where only a tiny fraction of Americans own large tracts of land or have access to private hunt clubs, for the vast majority of Americans public lands provide nearly all outdoor recreational opportunities; they are the birthright of all Americans, as is often said and repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court. Our public lands are the envy of the world.

Yet, just as my 3-year old daughter Riley and I—and millions of other outdoor enthusiasts—are shaking off the long winter by getting outdoors, a growing assault on our nation’s public lands is under way at the state and federal levels. The attacks range from efforts to give states control and potentially privatize national public lands to blocking presidents’ ability to establish national monuments to bills selling public lands and repealing essential safeguards for our water, air, and wildlife.

Polls consistently show that Americans care about public lands and the environment and nowhere is that more true than in the very states where some state and federal lawmakers are targeting our outdoor heritage. A recent bipartisan survey by Colorado College shows that 96 percent of the voters in six Western states said protecting public lands for future generations is a priority and favor ensuring access to those lands for recreation.

Despite this strong public support, state legislatures throughout the Rocky Mountain West have spent the last several weeks and taxpayers’ money debating proposals that would harm wildlife, our public lands, and the local economies that depend on hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, and tourism.

Now, the action is picking up in Congress where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) recently successfully offered an amendment to the budget resolution that supported selling or turning over federal lands to the states. While it was a non-binding resolution, it’s a harbinger of battles ahead. Utah Reps. Rob Bishop (R) and Chris Stewart (R) have formed a panel of House members to figure out how Congress can give federal lands to the states. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that would require the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to open about a third of their land to sale.

And unlike state legislatures, Congress has the authority to alter the landscape of our public lands legacy.

In Bishop’s state of Utah, legislators passed a law demanding the federal government transfer title of federally managed lands and minerals to the state by Dec. 31, 2014. Despite obvious constitutional issues, other states are making similar demands. Takeover proponents argue the West is at an economic disadvantage because 30 percent or more of the land in most states is federally managed. They say giving states title to the lands will allow them to profit from them as they see fit.

However, states don’t have the resources to suddenly start managing tens of millions of acres of land. Taking on just the cost of fighting wildfires would be staggering. A report by the Center for Western Priorities shows that since 2001, the U.S. Forest Service has spent an average of $3.13 billion annually to protect Western communities from wildfire. To cover costs, public lands would undoubtedly be increasingly mined, drilled or logged, reducing public recreational access – or sold to the highest bidders.

The losses would reverberate throughout the U.S. economy. Outdoor recreation generates an estimated $646 billion annually in consumer spending nationwide. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that is nearly double what Americans spend annually in each of the following areas: pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and parts, household utilities and gasoline and other fuels. The economic impacts are particularly big for communities that are gateways to national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and wilderness areas. Thousands of wildlife advocates, business owners, veterans and sportsmen and women have rallied in state capitals across the West and met with lawmakers to keep public lands in public hands.

The fallout wouldn’t be just economic. Our public lands belong to all Americans, no matter where they are. They are a fundamental part of our identity and constitute a shared legacy. Last year, all 49 state affiliates of the National Wildlife Federation unanimously approved a resolution affirming support for our public lands. Hunters, anglers, bird watchers, hikers and paddlers across the country know what’s at stake.

O’Mara is president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, one of the country’s largest and oldest conservation organizations. Before joining NWF in 2014, he headed the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

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Minnesota Makes a Bold Move on Buffers

A proposal in Minnesota wont solve all the problems of agriculture run off, but certainly this is a bold move by Minnesota. Protecting water quality, providing cover and habitat for upland birds like pheasant = good wildlife conservation.

minnesota buffer strip

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Lame Duck Congress Increases More Bucks for Ducks

Who said a ‘Lame Duck’ Congress is Lame?

Yesterday, the Senate passed (via unanimous consent) H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act, which is a huge WIN for duck hunters and wildlife conservation! The bill increases the price of duck stamps from $15 to $25 and would generate additional dedicated funding for wetland conservation.

The bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed!

original federal duck stamp - by Ding Darling

Federal duck stamp – by Ding Darling

This legislation will enhance the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to partner with thousands of additional landowners across the country to maintain and increase critical habitat for waterfowl, upland birds and hundreds of other native species.

A special thank you to the Congressional sponsors of this bill and the millions of hunters and other wildlife conservationists for purchasing Duck Stamps.  I enjoy buying my stamp every year and take pleasure in knowing that my small purchase contributes to the preservation of habitat that not only I can enjoy…but all Americans can enjoy for generations to come.

The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates strongly supported the price increase (NWF and affiliates unanimously adopted a Resolution supporting an increase last year at NWF’s Annual Meeting), as did the hunting community at large.

Check out my colleague and wicked basketball dunker Bentley Johnson’s post on this.

Duck Stamps are licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl and also serve as an entrance pass for national wildlife refuges and are bought by hunters and birders alike. More importantly, these stamps are one of the most critical tools for the conservation of wetlands, wildlife, and natural resources—ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Ding Darling

Somewhere Ding Darling is proudly doodling a wood duck…

National Wildlife Federation’s founder J.N. “Ding” Darling conceived of the idea of using Duck Stamps to raise money for the purchase of wetlands and he also illustrated the very first stamp (see above). It’s a great example of conservationists coming together to fund critical conservation (the North American Conservation Model in action). Since 1934 over $800 million has been generated to preserve over 6 million acres of critical wetlands habitat in the United States as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Wildlife refuges not only serve as habitat for ducks and geese, but they provide countless benefits such as flood mitigation, water filtration, and habitat for more than 700 bird species, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 1,000 fish species, and one-third of endangered or threatened species. Refuge visitor spending also generates billions of dollars every year for local communities.

As the Duck Stamp celebrates its 80th anniversary, its buying power has never been lower. The price of the Duck Stamp was last increased 23 years ago in 1991 and since then the price of land has tripled. Even though this bill does restrict the revenue generated from the $10 increase from being direct to fee-title land acquisition, the base price of $15 can still be used for land acquisition and the extra revenue can be used for conservation easements.

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