Great Lakes water is of extreme importance to the people of Manitoulin

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was written to Kay McConnell of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Water Use Section, and reprinted here at the author’s request.

To the Expositor:

Dear Ms. McConnell:

Last Saturday over 200 people gathered in the village of Kagawong, Ontario, for one of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board meetings. Many spoke forcefully, and let the Board know in no uncertain terms that Great Lakes water is of extreme importance to the people of Manitoulin Island, the North Channel of Lake Huron, and Georgian Bay. In attendance were First Nation representatives, representatives from the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council, Georgian Bay Forever, Georgian Bay Association, The French River Association, Ontario Sierra Club, a number of mayors, the Island’s Provincial Member of Parliament, and the Island’s Federal Member of Parliament.

Lakes Michigan and Huron have now experienced 13 years of unprecedented low water, and climate change may have worse in store. Great damage has already been done to vast areas of shoreline and some of the world’s most productive wetlands. There has been substantial ecosystem damage, and the economic losses have been significant.

Everyone at the Kagawong meeting, and all the people they represent, are, in my opinion, firm in their opposition to extraction and diversion from the Michigan/Huron watershed-especially the Saint Clair River, Chicago, and now Waukesha. “Death by a thousand straws,” as has been said. Waukesha is seen as an egregious part of an ongoing attack on the Lake Michigan Huron basin, and the question asked is, “if Waukesha now, what next?”

Waukesha lies outside the basin watershed. It needs to conserve water, recycle water, and live within its means. Continued growth and extravagance are not sustainable.

Jim Nies
Kagawong and Wisconsin