Because our waters are central to our outdoor heritage, we take their protection seriously. Ensuring that Michigan’s lakes, rivers and streams are clean, healthy and support diverse wildlife is important to our family and outdoor traditions, our economy and our overall enjoyment of the outdoors.
A lot of hard work goes into keeping the Great Lakes State’s waters protected, beautiful and welcoming to everyone. Without continued conservation and management activities, lakes, rivers and streams in our state would quickly become unhealthy. Public and private groups also strive to ensure that the use of our waters does not harm the wildlife populations that rely on them for survival.
Public and private groups in Michigan work tirelessly to:
- Invasive species can have a disastrous effect on our waters. Without natural predators, these foreign species will reproduce quickly, outcompeting native species and upsetting the balance of the ecosystem.
- Preventing invasive species, such as invasive carp, from entering Michigan waters is key to the long-term health of all aquatic species, as well as the economic benefits that water resources generate for the state.
- Early detection and eradication of invasive species from our waters is the next-best thing to preventing invaders from entering our waters in the first place, but eradication is often impossible after populations become established and widespread. Conservationists and biologists have adopted innovative techniques for early detection in attempts minimize the impact of invasive species and to rid them from our waters when feasible.
- Maintaining high water quality standards happens at many levels in Michigan, from state regulatory agencies to community groups organizing river cleanup afternoons. Having clean water is vital to all living things, as well as maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems in the rivers, lakes and streams.
- Habitat for all types of wildlife, particularly for aquatic- or wetland-dwelling species, can require very specific conditions. For many aquatic species, a slight change in water temperature, a simple barrier (dams or diversions) or lack of a certain habitat (filling of wetlands) can have significant or even dire consequences on the species’ long-term survival. Conservationists and biologists work to find the balance between humans and the ecosystems we interact with.
- Breeding and stocking fish, restoring wetlands and removing unnecessary dams are among the many activities and projects undertaken all over Michigan by a variety of groups.
- Agencies such as the state Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development collaborate to ensure that water is managed wisely so it can meet the needs of various users.
- For example, an ample water supply is crucial to Michigan’s $100 billion agricultural industry. Farmers work with regulators and other groups to practice sustainable irrigation and livestock waste management – often to the benefit of wildlife.
- Continued efforts by conservationists and resource managers around the state ensure that our waters are public, accessible and enjoyable for the people of Michigan. Thanks to this work, a wide array of water-based recreation opportunities, such as swimming, boating, fishing and wildlife viewing, will remain part of our outdoor heritage for current and future generations.
A variety of best management practices are used to keep our waters – and the creatures that rely on them – healthy. Learn more.