FLOW For the Love Of Water
440 West Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
FLOW’s mission is to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all.
Water is our common heritage. The Great Lakes watershed, which contains 20% of the available surface freshwater on the planet, is a core part of that heritage. Its water belongs to all of us and is owned by no one.
An indispensable tool to assure the Great Lakes remain healthy, public and protected is the public trust doctrine, and this is FLOW’s foundation. Applying public trust policies to our current threats, FLOW and other partners will work together to preserve this heritage and chart a new and better course for our generation and generations to come.
The public trust doctrine holds that certain natural resources like navigable waters are preserved in perpetuity for the benefit of the public to use and enjoy. Under the public trust, the waters of the Great Lakes Basin can never be controlled by or transferred to private interests for private purposes or gain. Our rights to use the water of the Great Lakes Basin cannot be alienated or subordinated by our governments to special private interests. Because citizens are often not aware that the public trust doctrine is part of their bundle of rights in our democracy, many of our leaders and special interests are ignoring and violating these principles.
We seek to safeguard the Great Lakes, the planet’s largest freshwater lake system, by advancing public trust solutions and cutting-edge policy work. FLOW has built key partnerships with state and regional Great Lakes groups, leveraged our expertise to influence agencies and impact state and federal legislation, and grown to be a trusted source of current information on issues affecting our freshwater seas. This work requires us to reexamine our relationship with water, asking how our actions impact water quantity and quality and ultimately how we can ensure these waters are as pure and plentiful as possible to sustain and nurture the next generations to come.
The health of the Great Lakes hangs in the balance, and citizens and leaders are looking for viable long-term policies to improve and protect these common waters. Our work is inspiring growing conversations about using the public trust as an overarching framework to ensure long-term protection of our air, water, and land resources.