MUCC held its biannual lobby day – Great Lakes Day at the Capitol, last Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With the imminent threat of Asian carp entering our waterways, there seemed no better way than to spend the day connecting our membership and the public with the policy work that we do to protect, conserve and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.
With more than 20 percent of the world’s fresh water surrounding Michigan – something we often take for granted as Michiganders, our Great Lakes provide us with numerous recreational activities, habitat for the fish that sustain our multi-billion dollar sportfishing industry and scenic vistas that can be found nowhere else in the world.
The whole purpose of the event was to show our strength in numbers and solidarity when it comes to standing up for our outdoor heritage, in this case specifically focused on critical Great Lakes issues. The day started with a brief orientation on the different topics of concern, and our membership had the chance to ask any questions of our MUCC staff before networking with their representatives.
Our members had the opportunity to spend the late morning and early afternoon networking with different members of the Legislature, voicing their concerns on issues such as: funding priorities for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), threats posed by net-pen aquaculture, invasive species threats to the Great Lakes, such as invasive carp, or even the health of Lake Erie and the devastating effects of algal blooms.
Before the networking luncheon, MUCC Executive Director Daniel Eichinger led a program on the Capitol Rotunda, with guest speakers from Michigan Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Inc. and the National Wildlife Federation, with guests from the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Legislature. The program focused on GLRI priorities, invasive threats and net-pen aquaculture.
During the networking luncheon, we had over 38 representatives from the House join us, as well as over 11 different senators, who mingled over some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and enjoyed meeting with their constituents and talking concerns/priorities for the Great Lakes. One thing seemed common – our representatives understood that net-pen aquaculture poses a series of dangerous threats to our waterways, and seemed determined to make sure they do not have a place in our Great Lakes.
Throughout the rest of the event, our members had the chance to schedule one on one meetings with their district representatives, to talk about critical issues with the health and funding of our Great Lakes, and spend time getting to better know their representatives.
If you were unable to attend Great Lakes Day at the Capitol, but are still interested in receiving informational packets that were delivered to both the Legislature and our members, please feel free to contact Ashley Bur at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 517.346.6456 for more information.