Clean, plentiful water is essential to all forms of life. People depend on water for a wide range of activities, and it is critical for our environment, supporting fish and other wildlife populations, and sustaining vegetation. Fresh water is the driving force behind healthy, functioning ecosystems.
Michigan’s access to fresh water is second to none, and our need to protect that fresh water is critical. Five of the state’s most important rivers rise, or have major source-waters, in Washtenaw and Jackson counties. Our rivers—the Huron, the Upper Grand, the Kalamazoo, and the River Raisin—make their way directly to the Great Lakes. This “freshwater continental divide” imposes an outsized responsibility in the protection of 20% of the planet’s fresh water. The health of the Great Lakes, tied to the rivers that flow to them, is dependent on the land that contains their headwaters. Decisions we make about these rivers influence the quality of the lakes and the lives of all those who depend on them. We have an obligation to future generations to protect this most precious resource.
Protecting water and ensuring that we have access to clean streams, rivers, and lakes means not only protecting the waterways themselves, but also protecting and practicing good stewardship on the lands that border water bodies. Paved surfaces in particular create more runoff and prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground and eventually making its way back to streams, rivers and lakes. This compromises the quality of the water, and in turn the character of our recreation and our communities is marred.
Everywhere, the connection between the land and water is clear. For that reason, Legacy is committed to protecting the land that protects our water, wherever it is found.