Dear friend of FLOW,

I hope you are well in these waning days of summer as the air and water temperatures dip and the leaves commence their color show.

Our staff has been busy all season leveraging your strong support for the Great Lakes and clean drinking water to bring about lasting protection. Just last week, FLOW staffer Kelly Thayer joined our partners at the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign to lead buses from Traverse City and Ann Arbor/East Lansing full of Michiganders of all ages and backgrounds heading to a meeting in St. Ignace focused on the oil pipeline tunnel proposed in the Straits of Mackinac.

More than 80 percent of commenters during the seven-hour U.S. Army Corps hearing spoke passionately and persuasively against boring-and-blasting an oil tunnel under the Great Lakes. Local residents and other Michiganders, Minnesotans, Canadians, tribal members and leaders, educators, environmentalists, engineers, faith leaders, and many others agreed that an oil tunnel is a dangerous idea that would rob future generations by threatening the most precious thing on earth—fresh water—and worsening the climate crisis.

The experience united and energized many of the hundreds of people who attended and lifted up their voices on behalf of the Great Lakes and a way of life. Be sure to read Kelly’s vivid account and his statement to the Army Corps on behalf of FLOW—and you—and learn how you can comment too.

On another front, our legal team recently crafted formal comments raising concerns about a proposed 162,000-acre expansion of Camp Grayling in northern Michigan. The National Guard proposal would more than double Camp Grayling’s current footprint and constitute the largest, single land lease in state history, and accordingly merits the utmost scrutiny from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. FLOW policy staff, meanwhile, has provided updates on federal action to hold polluters financially accountable for PFAS “forever chemical” pollution and on longstanding efforts to control invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes.

Looking ahead, on Saturday, the Alliance for the Great Lakes holds its annual basin-wide beach cleanup, which coincides this year with International Coastal Cleanup Day. In northwest lower Michigan, public beach cleanups are planned in Traverse City, Suttons Bay, Elberta, Onekama, Ludington, and Platte River Point in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Many other locales across Michigan and the Great Lakes watershed will host cleanup events as well. It’s easy to find your nearest beach cleanup and make a few friends who love water and clean beaches as much as you and I do.

Monday marks the start of an annual event with a bit of a funny name—SepticSmart Week—but with a serious benefit to all of us: the protection of water quality and public health. Read our preview here. Stay tuned during SepticSmart Week by visiting and FLOW’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for more educational content.

We hope to see you soon—at the shore, our events, and our door at 440 West Front Street in downtown Traverse City.

In solidarity,

Liz Kirkwood
Executive Director

PS—Please help us spread the word: FLOW is seeking dynamic people dedicated to Great Lakes protection to serve as our next Communications Manager and Development Manager. Both full-time positions are based at FLOW’s downtown office in Traverse City, Michigan, and may include a hybrid remote-work option. Occasional nights and weekends are required for events and other gatherings. Click here to read the full job descriptions and learn how to apply.

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