The Community Foundation Grey Bruce is part of a group of shoreline community foundations and other partners that are seeking public input on ways to ensure the long-term health of the Great Lakes.
The local foundation is working with its partners from both the United States and Canada to create a regional plan of action aimed at helping Lake Huron communities find ways to reduce the amount of polluted water that enters inland lakes and streams and Lake Huron.
They are seeking input from residents and stakeholders of Lake Huron communities until Thursday through a short 10-question survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W8TJBBC
The survey and more information is also available at huronpines.org/glow
“This is addressing support for the environment and clean water, which is associated with many charitable organizations here, and it is an opportunity for the foundation to have a conversation with the community about how important water quality is in our area,” said Stuart Reid, executive director of the Community Foundation Grey Bruce. “It is also an opportunity to perhaps build more funds that will support that in future generations with endowed funds and focused funds that might address concerns about stormwater management, about nature-based solutions for stormwater management, and about Lake Huron’s water quality in relation to our Michigan neighbours.”
Reid said they administer funds that support nature, ecology and conservation, but they could certainly use more funds for more projects.
“People have concerns about changing weather patterns and runoff from the more rain we are receiving,” said Reid. “That all has direct impact on the lake and if we can be a mechanism to help in the future that is the main reason we are stepping up.”
The initiative is being led by the Northeast Michigan conservation nonprofit Huron Pines, with other partners including community foundations, conservation groups and government agencies in Michigan, and the Grey Bruce Sustainability Network and Grey Sauble Conservation Authority locally. Stuart said the circle is widening and more partners are being gathered as the initiative moves forward.
After public comment and a committee review, the partners will secure a $300,000 seed grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Ralph Wilson Foundation and Kresge Foundation. The group will be responsible for raising another $200,000 in matching support through grants, investment and sponsorship.
Reid said the initiative is a multi-year one in the future that local working groups will be formed to explore ways to secure funding to activate projects in the area.
“There are such simple things that can be done around cities such as permeable pavement, green roofs, stormwater ponds and that sort of thing,” said Reid. “We are hoping it will have a real public awareness component where homeowners and farmers will also learn about the small things they can do to clean up the water before it gets back into the watershed and then eventually into the lake.”