Freshwater Future Weekly News: July 7, 2023

Freshwater Future Weekly News: July 7, 2023

Freshwater Future is excited to announce that Greta Van Fleet, a rock band founded in Frankenmuth, Michigan, is collaborating with Founders Brewing Company to create the 4 Giants Starcatcher Haze IPA. This special beer celebrates Michigan, and for every pint or package of Starcatcher Haze sold, $1 will be donated to Freshwater Future, up to $20,000. We are thankful for this partnership and the support it brings to our mission of protecting water. Join us in enjoying great music, great beer, and making a difference for our waters! A release party is scheduled in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 5th, and the custom brew will be available in select regions starting next month. For more details, visit Founder’s website


Harmful Algal Bloom Season Has Started on Lake Erie 

The formation of harmful algal blooms in some parts of Lake Erie is occurring earlier in the season than usual. Although the size of harmful algal blooms (HAB) on Lake Erie are expected to be smaller than average for 2023, a smaller HAB does not mean it is less toxic or poses less of a risk. Smaller blooms may have a higher concentration of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that are capable of producing microcystin, a known liver toxin. HABs are caused by excess nutrients, especially phosphorus, flowing into Lake Erie, with Agriculture continuing to be the primary source of phosphorus. While both the U.S. and Canadian governments as well as Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario have made repeated commitments to reduce the phosphorus levels by 40% by 2025, there has been little reported progress towards this goal. Stay tuned for more action on Lake Erie as we approach #We Are Lake Erie Day at the end of August – a day to show how we all care about the Lake through stories and photos shared on social media. 

Massive Salmon Farm Proposed for Muskegon County, Michigan 

Atlantis Fish Company has proposed to raise 10,000 salmon per week – nearly 2,500 metric tons of fish each year – in Muskegon County, Michigan. The 90 acres of property at the county wastewater site would house recirculating aquaculture systems that allow for the fish to be grown on land. Up to two million gallons of water would be used each day at the site. This $178 million aquaculture project has already received an initial greenlight from the Michigan Strategic Fund Board by approving $100 million in private bonds towards the proposal. Local advocates have raised concerns about the massive water withdrawals in a watershed that already has large bottling withdrawals as well as the handling of the farm’s waste, which would be applied to land. What does this mean for potential PFAS, nutrient, or bacterial contamination of the local aquifer and nearby residential wells? Freshwater Future will continue to follow this situation and keep you posted.

Illinois and Michigan Cover other Great Lakes States’ Share of Funding for Federal Invasive Asian Carp Project 

Construction on a federal project to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes can commence in 2024 now that state matching fund requirements have been met. This money will help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launch their 2014 plan to add additional fortifications to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois. The ten percent cost-match is intended to be split among the eight Great Lakes states, however, only Michigan and Illinois have committed funding. Freshwater Future and supporters have been advocating for effective solutions and keeping politicians accountable on this issue for over 10 years. Learn more about the history of this fish and why it poses a threat to the Great Lakes on our website

Save the Date for Our Next All About Water Convening, In-Person – October 4th in Benton Harbor, Michigan! 

We are excited to be back in person with you all in Benton Harbor this year for our All About Water Convening. The steering committee is putting together an exciting agenda with national experts on water affordability, quality, and justice. Registration will open in late July, so stay tuned for more details!