BY KATE MILEWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — The Watershed Center's fifth annual Freshwater Summit will feature experts who will discuss topics like Boardman River dam removals, inland lake fish shelters, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and more.
The Summit is set to be held today from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City.
"Every year we bring together citizens and experts on water quality issues from around Michigan and the Great Lakes," executive director Andy Knott said. "Folks from all over share their expertise and it's an opportunity for people to get an update on the latest information on the work that's happening."
Risks from invasive species and other dangers are on the rise for the Great Lakes, and Knott believes it's important to offer information about water resources.
"We live in freshwater community," he said. "A lot of residents in our region take ownership of our water, they have a sense of pride in our water resources. It's the backbone of the regional economy."
The event has grown in recent years, and 150 people are expected to attend this year's gathering.
"When people realize the importance of fresh water resources and the threats to those resources, they want to do something to protect them," Knott said.
The Watershed Center greatly depends on volunteers to help protect the lakes and other local water resources through efforts such as beach cleanups and a stream monitoring program.
Today's event costs $30 to attend and includes lunch.