The Great Lakes Coalition (GLC) is a Michigan non-profit organization whose membership consists of individual coastal property owners throughout the Great Lakes Basin, particularly along the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
The purpose of the Great Lakes Coalition is to preserve the shorelines of the Great Lakes. The GLC targets the two factors that threaten the shorelines that can be managed. The causes of erosion or flood damage are water levels, sand supply, and wave action. Since only two can be managed, the physical targets of the GLC are:
- Fluctuating water levels
- Interruption of natural sand supply
The Coastal Zone Management Act, passed into law in the United States in the early 1970s, affects the quality of life on the shoreline. It established methods and agendum for states that border the oceans and the Great Lakes to manage land side rather than offshore conditions. This legislation actually urges the states to take aggressive action to protect the coastlines from actions of the land owners.
Since the GLC believes that coastal property owners should enjoy the right to own and protect their homes that is granted by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the third target is:
- Coastal management
The Great Lakes Coalition of coastal property owners was born out of the high water crisis that occurred at different periods throughout the years of 1985 and 1986, depending upon location. Commercial interests and municipalities, while not presently represented in the membership, are welcome to benefit from Coalition activities by becoming municipal or commercial members.
The shorelines of the Great Lakes are not evenly populated. Currently membership is concentrated in the denser areas, with the exception of Chicago since a high proportion of the Chicago shoreline is public property.
The GLC organization consists of elected officers and directors who are all volunteers. Directors meetings are held bi-monthly, or called when needed.
An annual membership meeting is held during the summer so that individual members may have the opportunity to hear about current events from a knowledgeable speaker.
The exceptional character of the membership defines the quality of the activity conducted by the GLC. Many professionals, such as engineers, scientists, lawyers, and business managers, take part in technical developments, legal activities, and political advocacy.
Activities are financed by annual contributions from individual members. Occasionally, specific urgent situations call for specific special assessments.
The GLC joins agencies of the Governments, as well as similar organizations and thousands of property owners from all states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, to devise methods of alleviating the adverse consequences of fluctuating water levels in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. Within this context, it presses for more effective and economical stabilization of the Great Lakes water levels and sediment supplies. The GLC believes effective management can be achieved through the design of and strategic use of a systematic engineering plan operated by a bi-national centralized and coordinated management entity.
The GLC is a respected advocate for all shoreline property owners on any of the Great Lakes. It maintains continuing communication with government agencies that are responsible for decisions that pertain to the Great Lakes. Some of these agencies are:
- International Joint Commission
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Environment Canada
- Great Lakes Commission
- International Lake Superior Board of Control
The GLC also gathers and publishes information concerning water levels and sediment supply and related losses caused by erosion and flooding due to physical and philosophical problems with management of the flow system of the Great Lakes.
Included in the information gathered are government strategies relative to coastal management that sometimes border on the taking of property without reasonable compensation. The GLC believes that it is much more economical to address coastal conditions by controlling water levels and sand supply than through coastal zone management, but when it is necessary objective decisions are necessary.
There is considerable desire to preserve and enhance the natural environment of the basin and to inform, cooperate with, and support Government agencies and other similarly focused organizations. The GLC position is that human interference, such as structural restrictions to flow at the outlets of Lakes Superior and Erie and the St. Lawrence River and harbor piers, has caused sand supply and water levels to deviate too far from nature.
However, the GLC understands why controls are necessary to generate hydro electricity and support commercial navigation. The GLC believes that the results of human intervention with nature can and should be mitigated by water side management rather than land side methods so that every interest in the Great Lakes has an equal opportunity to enjoy the beautiful environment with minimal interference from water levels, interruption of sand supply, and coastal management.
The GLC maintains a permanent office at 62 Center Street in Douglas, Michigan, but the mailing address is P.O. Box 429, Saugatuck, Michigan 49453. The office is staffed on a part-time basis since the GLC is a volunteer group. Telephone/fax is 269-857-8945, or e-mail us at email@example.com