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Great Lakes One Water Partnership

Two major projects now in the works are being led by CMF member community foundations as part of the Great Lakes One Water Partnership.

Two major projects now in the works are being led by CMF member community foundations as part of the Great Lakes One Water Partnership.

The Great Lakes One Water (GLOW) Partnership is a multi-year, basin-wide initiative focused on engaging shoreline community foundations as a force multiplier to advance a new era of water management to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes Basin.

More than a dozen CMF member community foundations are working in regional teams as part of the partnership, supported by CMF and the Great Lakes Protection Fund.

Within the past week two regional teams have announced their action plans.

The Community Foundation for Marquette County (CFMC) announced the launch of the Resilient Future Project in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Upper Peninsula, Community Foundation for Delta County, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Keweenaw Community Foundation and M&M Area Community Foundation. These community foundations are all working together as part of the Lake Superior/Upper Peninsula Regional Team of the GLOW Partnership.

CFMC shares that the Resilient Future Project seeks to build a community of civic and municipal leaders with the vision and drive to identify and implement strategies to better prepare for severe storm events. 

“The devastating effects of severe weather events have brought the importance of the Great Lakes and their fragility into sharp focus. Few communities, however, are prepared to address the challenge, instead, limited local resources are being drained to manage the problem,” Gail Anthony, CEO of CFMC said. “This is where our technical teams come in; they will meet the communities where they are in their storm readiness efforts.”

The Resilient Future Project will begin with an assessment of communities’ current state of resilience. Then, Anthony said the project will “identify a strategic set of opportunities to actively improve their resilience, all the while, learning and sharing with other communities going through the same process. Working alongside local leaders, the teams will then help them rally the public support and the institutional and financial resources needed to fund the strategic resilience opportunities identified.”

The Upper Lake Michigan Regional Team has also announced its action plan, the Water First Initiative.

The team includes Charlevoix Community Foundation, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Leelanau Township Community Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and the Manistee County Community Foundation.

The Manistee News Advocate reports that the Water First Initiative “will focus on the development of innovative water policies and green infrastructure in the eight counties served by the participating community foundations.”

“This builds on the great work that has already been done,” Laura Heintzelman, president, Manistee County Community Foundation said. “We have a number of watershed management plans that are in place, so we’re really wanting to provide an avenue of support for building on the momentum that has already been gained, and helping to provide additional resources, support and technical support for groups to be able to put those plans into action.”

As these plans emerge, the GLOW Partnership will continue to focus on building the capacity of community foundations to serve as unifying forces in this work. The partnership seeks to generate community support for timely and comprehensive action and deployment of best practices for streamlining and assembling partners, for technology and risk management and public-private partnerships.

“Honestly it wasn’t until the devastation of the Father’s Day storm in Keweenaw that I realized how important this work is,” Anthony said. “Some people said it was a 1,000-year event, others maintained it was due to climate change. Both agree that it is only the beginning of these types of challenges around water. Community foundations are about longevity. We are about opportunities and challenges that are for good for ever. This is long term and it is about our most important resource, water. “

Want more?

Learn more about the Great Lakes One Water Partnership.