Lansing, MI - By proclamation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, July is Lakes Appreciation Month, highlighting the rich ecosystems, fresh drinking water, recreational appeal, and economic vitality that Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and four bordering Great Lakes provide.
“In Michigan, our lakes – Great and small – define us. Every Michigander is dedicated to protecting our lakes and ensuring that we pass them on to future generations,” said Gov. Whitmer. “This July, when so many of us enjoy our Pure Michigan experiences, we can reflect on how Michigan’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater enrich our lives. Protecting them means tackling generational challenges such as aging infrastructure, invasive species, and climate change. Together, I know we will.”
Michigan continues to award infrastructure grants to municipalities through the governor's $500 million bipartisan MI Clean Water Plan, ensuring Michiganders of access to clean and affordable drinking water. The governor’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, meanwhile, creates a roadmap to a prosperous carbon-neutral economy by 2050 that will also protect the state’s natural resources, including lakes.
Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) leads implementation of both plans. EGLE’s Water Resources Division (WRD) protects and monitors Michigan’s waters by establishing water quality standards, assessing the health of aquatic communities, encouraging natural shoreline practices, regulating wastewater discharges, and overseeing aquatic invasive species concerns and water withdrawals. The Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) oversees Great Lakes water policy and strategy implementation as well as representing the state at national forums. The Office of Climate and Energy (OCE) coordinates implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan.
Appreciating Michigan’s lakes means respecting them, too – especially the immense power of the Great Lakes. When making summer plans for time at Great Lakes beaches, always use caution, pay attention to beach flag warnings (where available), and know that the lakes are prone to dangerous rip currents, crashing waves, and quickly changing weather patterns.
Of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks, 42 offer access to Great Lakes shoreline, making them popular destinations for gatherings with family and friends. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers safety tips and information everyone should know before hitting the water.
The Wisconsin-based nonprofit North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) promotes Lakes Appreciation Month internationally, with at least 25 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces joining this year’s effort. NALMS encourages lakes-related activities including shoreline cleanups, educational tours, boating, swimming, birding, and photography.
Here are resources for learning more about Michigan’s lakes and how to help keep them healthy:
- OGL’s State of the Great Lakes 2021 Report: Learn how Michigan’s investment in water infrastructure will pay dividends for decades to come.
- Coastal Zone Management Program: The program provides technical assistance and grants to help coastal communities mitigate coastal hazards, create healthy habitats, support eco-tourism, ensure safe public access, and support resilient and sustainable economies.
- Council on Climate Solutions: The council acts in an advisory capacity to the governor and EGLE in overseeing implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan.
- Lakes and beach water quality monitoring: The Surface Water Assessment Section oversees the protection of the quality of surface waters throughout the State of Michigan.
- MiCorps volunteer lakes and rivers monitoring program: The Michigan Clean Water Corps is a network of volunteer water quality monitoring programs in Michigan.
- Michigan Shoreland Stewards program: The program recognizes lakefront property owners protecting inland lakes through best management practices on their property.
- Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) legacy contamination restoration: Michigan’s AOC program works with federal and local partners to restore designated sites affected by legacy contamination and development.
- Michigan Aquatic Invasive Species cooperative: A guide to species that are not native and have the potential to harm human health or natural or agricultural resources.
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: This low-interest loan financing program assists qualified local municipalities with the construction of needed water pollution control facilities.
- Nonpoint source pollution grants: The program helps local stakeholders reduce nonpoint source pollution and excessive runoff by supporting efforts to develop and implement watershed management plans.
- Impacts of Great Lakes high water levels: Find information on permitting and technical resources to mitigate erosion and shoreline flooding.
- Shorelands Management Program: Learn more about changing shorelines and the options to protect them.
- Shoreline Protection information and resources: EGLE recommends the use of natural shoreline treatments, or bioengineering, for shoreline protection.
- Great Lakes Coordination Program: The program leads state agency efforts and collaboration among partners to improve Great Lakes stewardship and sustainability.
- BeachGuard Monitoring System: This public resource provides information on Michigan beaches including water quality sampling results and beach advisories and closures.