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E-M:/ Lake St. Clair Watershed Designated

Enviro-Mich message from Brad Wilson <metrodetroit@cleanwater.org>


For Immediate Release: September 15, 1999
Contact: Brad Wilson    	810.792.8375 or 810.995.7839
	  Nolan Bennett 	517.337.4447

Clean Water Groups Select Lake St. Clair Watershed 
as their First Clean Water ACTION Zone

Groups Unveil First Ever Lake St. Clair Watershed Map and Launch Outreach Plan for Uniting U.S. and Canadian Citizens Around a Cleaner Lake St. Clair
St. Aubin's Park and Marina, Detroit, MI - The Detroit River and the Canadian shoreline served as backdrops for the announcement of a new push to cleanup and protect the drinking water source for millions of Detroit and Windsor area residents. "The Lake St. Clair Watershed has received our first designation as a Clean Water ACTION Zone," announced Cyndi Roper, a national spokesperson for Clean Water Action (CWA) and Clean Water Fund (CWF) the groups. "We are deeply committed to the cleanup and protection of Lake St. Clair, and the Clean Water ACTION Zone designation underscores this commitment." 

Roper explained that to be designated a Clean Water ACTION Zone (CWAZ-- pronounced "seaways"), a waterbody must: 1) serve as a drinking water source for a major metropolitan area; 2) be an important natural resource; 3) represent extensive economic value to the area's economy; 4) be at risk from pressures of urban sprawl and associated runoff, industrial discharges, and other contaminant sources; 5) have CWA's and CWF's commitment to work with businesses, environmental organizations and diverse groups of citizens; and 6) have the potential to be among the nation's cleanest and safest waterways.

Although CWA and CWF have worked in the Metro Detroit area from their East Lansing office since 1988, the groups opened offices in Macomb County in 1997 to expand their work on issues affecting the Lake St. Clair Watershed and the Detroit River. The groups are credited with helping turn the tide on the 1998 debate around the state's environmental bond known as the Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI). Until hundreds of handwritten letters to targeted legislators were delivered to the State Capitol as a result of Clean Water's house-to-house outreach, the funding prospects for clean water projects
 within CMI was dim. Clean Water staff worked diligently to make the drinking water connection for consumers and lawmakers who use Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River as a recreational and drinking water source. The groups have continually worked to bring the Lake St. Clair Watershed's concerns to state policy matters such as new drinking water protection initiatives resulting from key changes to the nation's drinking water laws.

"We're pleased to announce that we'll be working to unify both U.S. and Canadian residents who have the Lake's best interests in mind," stated Brad Wilson, Clean Water's Michigan Program Coordinator who staffs the groups' Lake St. Clair efforts. As he unveiled the first-ever Lake St. Clair Watershed map, Wilson remarked: "Although millions of U.S. and Canadian residents drink water originating in Lake St. Clair, we could not find a map of the watershed. We're proud to say that we've put the Lake St. Clair Watershed on the map." Wilson outlined Clean Water's plans to enlist thousands of volunteers to help activities such as citizen water quality monitoring, assisting with the groups' Pollution Prevention Begins at Home Project, and shoreline cleanups.

Clean Water's Michigan Program Director, Nolan Bennett, displayed a mailbag containing more than 2,500 handwritten letters from Michigan residents urging lawmakers to use the state's environmental bond money to cleanup and protect Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.  "When it comes to the health of the millions of people whose drinking water source is Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, the investment of Michigan's clean water bond dollars for cleaning up and protecting the Lake, makes absolute sense." Bennett reported that the letters, which were written as a result of the group's house-to-house outreach efforts, will be delivered to lawmakers in the coming weeks in an effort to influence the outcome of decisions affecting how the bond dollars will be used.  Bennett also spotlighted an over-sized letter to State Senator Loren Bennett (R-Canton) urging him to support the spending of the  bond dollars to address Michigan's most pressing water quality problems.  CWA will be asking concerned citizens to sign the letter as it campaigns around the state.

#  #  #

-Clean Water Action, founded 27 years ago, is a national citizens' organization working for clean and safe water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work.  Clean Water Action and its over 100,000 members in Michigan organize strong grassroots groups, coalitions and campaign to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. More information on CWA is available through its website at 

Clean Water Fund (CWF) is a national non-profit 501(c)3 organization which promotes public education on water, toxics and natural resource issues and on related health, consumer, community, economic and environmental problems. CWF develops strong grassroots coalitions, organizations and citizen leadership and enables people to plan and conduct campaigns for changes that improve their lives.  More information on CWA is available through its website at 

Brad Wilson
Program Coordinator
Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund
35482 Groesbeck
Clinton Township, MI 48035

(Voice) (810) 792-8375
(Fax)    (810) 792-8043
Email: metrodetroit@cleanwater.org
http://www.cleanwateraction.org          http://www.cleanwaterfund.org

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