Freshwater Future Weekly: April 14, 2023

Freshwater Future Weekly: April 14, 2023

Veto Cancels Efforts to Weaken Clean Water Act

President Biden vetoed a resolution in Congress that would severely weaken the Clean Water Act.  The resolution would have repealed the Clean Water Restoration Rule that ensures critical waters- from small streams to rivers to wetlands- are protected from unregulated pollution and destruction when they have important downstream effects on water quality. Freshwater Future, Executive Director, Jill Ryan responded to the news saying, “This veto was critical to protecting our lakes, streams, wetlands, and ecosystems in the Great Lakes region and across the country. We appreciate the President’s efforts to ensure the Clean Water Act remains strong in its protections for our waters.”

All About Water Spring Convening Recording Now Available! 

The captivating presentations at the April 4th, All About Water Spring Convening provided useful information that communities can put right to use to help their municipalities access the billions of federal dollars available to upgrade water systems. Don’t worry if you missed out, the recording is now available. Some of the highlights included details on available technical assistance to apply for funds shared by Jonathan Nelson, U.S. EPA Office of Water. David Wheaton from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund informed us of the risks and impact to water systems from regionalization, consolidation, and privatization. Richard Diaz, Blue Green Alliance conveyed practical tips to help local contractors prepare to bid and secure these water projects. Visit our website for access to additional resources from the session.

Sauble Beach Returned to Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation Stewardship

After decades of litigation, 2.5-kilometers of the Sauble Beach shoreline was returned to the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation on April 3rd. An Ontario Superior Court of Justice recognized that the ancestral fishing ground known as “Chi-Gmiinh” was reserved for the Nation under Treaty 72. By failing to preserve this land, the court found the Canadian government to have violated First Nations treaty rights.  Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation Chief Conrad Ritchie said of the decision, “We have something now that our ancestors and everybody has been fighting for over the last 170 years.”

Lack of Ice Cover Leads to Significant Erosion Along Presque Isle State Park’s Beaches

This year saw record low ice-cover in the Great Lakes – by mid-February, only seven percent compared to the 35-40 percent cover expected for this time of year. This lack of ice-protecting beaches during the winter storm season sparked erosion, including at the Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania. While the beaches saw ‘significant erosion’ this season, lower water levels in the lake avoided the extreme erosion that occurred in 2020 at high water levels. Federally and state-funded sand replenishment projects totaling around 3 million dollars are slated to begin in June. 

Freshwater Future staff live all around the Great Lakes region. We gathered to plan and learn about water quality threats communities are facing, including our recent visit to Marine City, Michigan.