March 2015 Newsletter

A Closer Look #148

Making Lake Michigan Great

The W.G. Jackson in Chicago

AWRI’s active involvement in public outreach throughout the Lake Michigan basin dates back to the 1990s.  Our activities have included onboard programs through our Making Lake Michigan Great tours, a leadership role in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lake Michigan Forum, and three State of Lake Michigan (SOLM) conferences.  Since 1998, EPA has been a major funder of our Making Lake Michigan Great vessel tours that have reached 33 ports of call.  Onboard tour activities include water sampling cruises, open houses, and educator workshops.

Our current EPA grant is through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and we have two partners - the Inland Seas Education Association and Michigan Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Education Program. Dr. Janet Vail serves as co-chair of EPA’s Lake Michigan Forum. The Forum is a stakeholder group for EPA’s Lakewide Action and Management Plan that has members from four states.  In 1999, Dr. Vail asked GVSU to help fund the first State of Lake Michigan Conference, which was held in Muskegon.  The conference was a success and AWRI went on to hold two more conferences in 2001 and 2003. Now hosted by other entities and alternating between the four Lake Michigan states, the State of Lake Michigan Conference continues to be held every other year. AWRI scientists and students will likely be presenting at the upcoming SOLM conference in October, to be held in Traverse City.