Dear friend of FLOW,

As world leaders prepare to gather in faraway Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss combating climate change, events back home in the United States—from California to Michigan to New York—remind us what’s at stake.

One monster storm, which just dumped up to a foot of rain on the Pacific Coast, was followed by a storm of similar strength in the northeastern United States. In southeast Michigan this summer, record 24-hour rainfall stranded people and vehicles on Detroit-area freeways, flooded basements, and damaged public infrastructure. Meanwhile, Great Lakes water levels have plunged, then risen with unprecedented speed to record levels, endangering coastal property owners and damaging roads, bridges, buildings, and pipes for drinking water, sanitation, and storm runoff.

More and more, we understand the climate crisis as a water crisis—too much water too fast in some places, too little for too long in others. But it’s more than just a water quantity problem. Changing climate patterns are contributing to the first-known algae blooms in Lake Superior and to so much toxic algae in Lake Erie that 400,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio, were left without drinking water for days in 2014.

Of course, we know that the dangers of climate change take a disproportionate toll on communities of color and low-income populations, further exacerbating deep environmental injustices. Recognizing and responding to this in a meaningful way, FLOW recently published our diversity, equity, and inclusion statement, which expresses our ongoing commitment to environmental justice in partnership with those who have the most to lose.

You can’t see carbon building up in the atmosphere, but you can see extreme weather, see-sawing water levels, and the loss of drinking water, all of which threaten our common future. That’s why what happens at the United Nations' COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow is neither abstract nor remote. Success or failure there profoundly affects us here in the largest surface freshwater ecosystem in the world.



Liz Kirkwood, FLOW Executive Director 

FLOW Spotlight:
Liz Kirkwood Honored among Influential Women of Northern Michigan
The Traverse City Record-Eagle on Oct. 24, 2021, recognized 25 local leaders as Influential Women of Northern Michigan, including FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood. Way to go, Liz! Here’s an excerpt:  

“Liz is quite literally saving our way of life in northern Michigan with her work protecting the Great Lakes. She is an innovator and collaborator who works tirelessly to keep our environment pristine and protected for generations to come. She has dedicated her career to environmental law and addresses critical issues every day.” Read more about Liz Kirkwood (click the “Pages” icon in the top-right corner and go to page G26) and two dozen other Influential Women of Northern Michigan. 

FLOW Is Hiring: Operations Manager & Development Specialist

Join an awesome team! Everything we do is reflected in our name: For Love of Water or simply “FLOW.” Please share these job announcements with your contacts and networks. Thank you!

FLOW’s full-time Operations Manager is essential for coordinating all administrative responsibilities, including email and cloud-based tools (Google Suite), financial management (QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits), CRM (Salesforce) and donor support, and support for staff, board, and committees. For more information, please click here. To apply: Please submit a résumé and cover letter by email to

FLOW’s full-time Development Specialist position offers an opportunity to sustain a dynamic water policy nonprofit in the Great Lakes while honing and expanding the fundraising skills you bring to the team. The Development Specialist is part of an inspired team that creates and implements FLOW’s fund development plan to support programs and operations, and also works closely with the team to support or lead activities to increase revenue. Primary responsibilities are to enhance grant-seeking success, plan and execute annual giving campaigns, increase business engagement and partnerships, and coordinate gatherings and revenue-generating events. This is the chance to join an organization that has achieved tremendous growth over the past two years and seeks to develop leadership in every staff position. For more information, please click here. To apply, please submit a résumé, cover letter, and writing sample by email to No phone calls, please. Both positions open until filled.



Fighting Forever Chemicals: Michigan Governor, Feds Take Action
The logjam that has halted progress in dealing with PFAS, the toxic “forever chemicals” that plague communities across Michigan and the nation, is finally breaking up. On October 27, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered state government in executive directive No. 2021-8 to discontinue the purchase of many PFAS-containing products, as encouraged by FLOW last month. The Governor, whose support was critical in enacting health-protective state drinking water standards for PFAS last year, said “PFAS are dangerous, man-made chemicals that pose a threat to our health.” Read more here.

In His Newest Book, Jerry Dennis Defines “Up North”
Jerry Dennis is a Michigan treasure. The 67-year-old writer, a native of Northern Michigan, is the author of more than 10 books, including The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, as well as essays, poems, and short fiction that have appeared in more than 100 publications. FLOW spoke to Dennis about his recently-released Up North in Michigan: A Portrait of Place in Four Seasons, illustrated by his frequent collaborator artist Glenn Wolff; Dennis's new volume captures the timeless feel of the North Country in an era of rapid global change. Read the blog here.

Making a Difference for the Environment: Youth Is No Barrier for Michigan's Nisha Singhi
At the age of 14, Nisha Singhi has already had more impact on state environmental policy than most adults. As a result of her work, two Michigan legislators have introduced bills. Nisha, who resides in Bloomfield Hills and is a sophomore at International Academy there, became concerned several years ago about the problem of balloon debris and litter in the environment. She decided to do something about it through state policy. Read more about Nisha’s efforts here.


Iron Fish Distillery Celebrates, Supports FLOW and Superior Watershed Partnership

We at FLOW are grateful to Iron Fish Distillery and Belsoda Farm, which celebrated a trifecta with us on October 12 in Marquette. Richard Anderson, one of the family leaders and visionaries behind the Thompsonville-based Iron Fish Distillery—and behind the company’s entrepreneurship for the public interest throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan—combined the release of his distillery’s new Two Peninsulas Bourbon with a celebration and fundraiser for two strong, influential organizations based in each peninsula and dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes—Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) and FLOW. Read more here.



FLOW’s expert staff members provide key context and analysis to journalists covering freshwater threats and protection. Our full list of media coverage involving FLOW includes these most recent stories:

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