Representing an important victory for land conservation and public recreation in Michigan, Michigan Waterfront Alliance is happy to report that on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 Michigan voters “elected” to support Proposal 1 in a manner that can only be described as overwhelming. Passage of Proposal 1 essentially acts to remove the Natural Resources Trust Fund cap of $800 million in principal and interest, and permits the state trust fund to (again) start receiving revenue derived from royalties associated with natural gas and oil extraction in Michigan. Demonstrating a clear commitment to the protection and improvement of Michigan’s public lands and outdoor spaces, voter approval of Proposal 1 will allow the State Parks Endowment Fund to (again) start receiving money whose expenditure will be entirely dedicated to improving, maintaining, and purchasing land for State parks; for Fund administration; require subsequent oil and gas revenue from state-owned lands to go into the Natural Resources Trust Fund; require at least 20% of Endowment Fund annual spending go toward State park improvement; and require at least 25% of Trust Fund annual spending go toward parks and public recreation areas; and at least 25% toward land conservation.
Attracting nearly 500 registered participants, including students, scientists, academicians, educators, lakefront property owners, lake preservation advocates, lake and aquatic plant management professionals, and state agency personnel all drawn to an exceptional agenda comprised of three full days of lake focused keynote addresses, special presentations, workshops, concurrent sessions, educational exhibits, photo and writing contests, and even an opportunity to win prizes during an inland lakes trivia competition, all supported this year by the generous contributions of an enthusiastic group of public and private sponsors, by all measures, the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention was an unqualified success!
Beginning with the inaugural event held in the spring of 2014, the biennial Michigan Inland Lakes Convention is the extraordinary by-product of the high level of cooperation that occurs between a broad range of inland lake and water resource preservation focused non-profit organizations, companies, and state agencies that comprise the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization dedicated to promoting collaboration between citizens, professionals, researchers, and governmental agencies in order to advance stewardship of Michigan’s vast legacy of inland lakes.
Kicking off on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:00 AM, and adjourning at 4:30 PM on Friday, September 18th, this year’s lakes convention featured dozens of well attended special events, workshops, and concurrent sessions each committed to exploring a particular lake conservation related topic aligned with this year’s overarching convention theme of “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”. To view the complete 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention program, click here. Convention organizers would like our readers to know that many of this year’s virtual lake convention workshops, concurrent sessions, and special events were recorded, and will be available in November by visiting the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention website.
This year’s lakes convention also featured two outstanding keynote addresses by prominent speakers. Opening Wednesday afternoon’s convention sessions, noted author of the renown “The Guide to Walden Pond”, University of Connecticut Professor of Geoscience Dr. Robert Thorsen presented “Michigan Inland Lakes: Their Different Origins and Why This Matters for Lake Managers”. Leading off Thursday morning’s convention proceedings, Dr. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Professor of Landscape Limnology within Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, delivered the convention’s second keynote address entitled “Lessons from LAGOS: Creating and using big data to understand lakes at broad scales of space and time”.
Editors Note: Michigan Waterfront Alliance is very proud to have been a “platinum” level sponsor of the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention. We would also like to extend a hearty congratulations to all who contributed in some way to the great success of this year’s lake convention!