Leaders from across Metro Detroit took to the water Monday to promote the economic and environmental importance of Lake St. Clair and neighboring waterways.
The Macomb County Chamber brought together elected, business and educational officials from across metro Detroit for Lake St. Clair Appreciation Day.
Organizers brought together these decision-makers to showcase the lake.
“Unless you have been out on the lake, experience it and feel it, how can you really make a decision?” said Grace Shore, Macomb County Chamber CEO.
“We want you to realize the importance of this lake, the importance to Macomb County and the importance to the entire region," Shore told attendees of a press conference at Brownie's on the Lake.
The event began at Brownie's on the Lake in St. Clair Shores before attendees, including the Macomb and Wayne County executives, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, state elected officials from all three counties and representatives from Michigan's Congressional delegation.
While the spotlight was on the economic and environmental importance of the lake, Macomb Community College President Jim Jacobs announced that the school would be enhancing and integrating lake-related items into the curriculum for environmental studies and biology for water-quality technician jobs.
These will be interrelated with Oakland, Wayne and Michigan State University courses that will allow students to start at Macomb and continue their studies at the four-year universities.
Additionally, Macomb is looking to establish a facility that will focus on environmental research.
Jacobs further highlighted the importance the lake plays through economic figures. More than 10 percent of the one million registered boats in Michigan are in the tri-county region; 1.5 million fish are taken from the lake annually with a value over $30 million; and marinas contribute $260 million to the local economy.
Mark Hackel, who has made economic development along Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River a priority of his , spoke about the opportunities the waterways provide to the region.
"There (are) so (many) attractions that go on here that makes it the urban center of Great Lakes water system, but yet so many people don't realize it," Hackel said. "What we want to do is shine a light on this area to people to get people to understand how important this is as an economic attraction."