Proximity to Great Lakes a key factor in local officials’ views

Holding about 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, the Great Lakes in many ways help define Michigan and play a large role in the state’s history, economy, land use, climate, transportation systems and more.

Responding to recent calls for cultivating a “blue economy” in Michigan would significantly promote the role of the lakes in the state’s economic policy, say experts in U-M’s For School of Public Policy. But while nearly all of Michigan’s local leaders see the Great Lakes as a valuable economic resource for the state, some don’t see it that way for their own jurisdictions, according to a survey by the Ford School.

“These economic ties to the lakes are felt more acutely in coastal jurisdictions compared to jurisdictions farther inland,” said Tom Ivacko, administrator and program manager for the U-M Ford School’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy.

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