Groundwater in Crisis? Addressing Groundwater Challenges in Michigan as a template for the Great Lakes
Dates: June 3-4, 2021
CIGLR Research Theme: Healthy Communities
About: Groundwater is a critical but understudied and underappreciated natural resource, both nationally and in the Great Lakes basin. Given its importance, and given the increasing pressures being placed on groundwater, issues have arisen in recent decades around both groundwater quantity and quality in the Great Lakes.
A summit led by Alan Steinman, PhD (Grand Valley State University) was convened to addresses key groundwater issues. A group of 29 experts participated from the academic, private, and public sectors, including steering committee members Philip Chu, PhD (NOAA GLERL), Patrick Doran, PhD (The Nature Conservancy), Carol Miller, PhD (Wayne State University), Don Uzarski, PhD (Central Michigan University), and Tom Zimnicki (Michigan Environmental Council). The summit specifically focused on Michigan groundwater, which is in the midst of several critical issues, in terms of both quality (e.g., PFAS) and quantity (declining static water levels, bottled water withdrawals). This summit aimed to inventory the key challenges facing groundwater in Michigan; identify the knowledge gaps, scientific needs, and policy recommendations associated with these challenges; construct a set of conceptual models; and develop a list of next steps that can be taken to address these groundwater challenges. The group plans to produce a white paper focused on policy implications and recommendations, and at least one peer-reviewed manuscript based on summit findings.