World Water Day — March 14-22, 2022

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Michigan Tech are                               acknowledging the importance of water. 

Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day 2022 from March 14-22 with virtual events related to the United Nations theme, “Groundwater:  Making the Invisible Visible.”  Groundwater is vital to life; learn about how climate change and pollution negatively impact our groundwater, and about efforts to sustainably manage and reduce these threats.   The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) hosted Tribal Water Day virtually on March 22nd, starting at 2pm.

Tribal Water Day and World Water Day Events:  

  • Spring Semester  Art Exhibit  - Environmental Graphiti by Alisa Singer - "Art inspired by the science of climate change."   Self-guided walking tour.
  • March 17 - 7:00PM to 8:00PM - Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater facilitated discussion with John Gierke (GMES) as part of the Sustainability Film Series.  
  • March 21 - 6:00PM - A special Husky Bites presentation featuring Dr. Sarah Green, Interim Chair, Dept. of Chemistry, and engineering students Ayush Chutani (ME) and Jessica Daignault (CEGE) who attended COP26 in Glasgow in December 2021, and shared their experiences.  
  • March 22 - 2:00PM - Tribal Water Day, sponsored by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). 
    • Introduction by Doreen Blaker, KBIC Tribal Council Member.
    • History of KBIC's Water Program by Justin Woodruff, Water Resources Specialist at KBIC.
    • Development of Locally-appropriate Water Quality Criteria for KBIC, presented by Cory McDonald, Assistant Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering at Michigan Tech.
    • Community Services (Beach and Groundwater), presented by Dylan Friisvall, Water Quality Technician at KBIC.
    • Overview and Updates on the KBIC-Natural Resources Department (NRD) Fisheries Program, presented by Patrick LaPointe, KBIC-NRD Field Fisheries Technician.
    • KBIC Wetland Monitoring Program, presented by Erin Johnston, Wildlife Biologist/Wildlife & Habitat Section Lead for KBIC-NRD.
    • Citizen's Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP), presented by Shannon DesRochers, KBIC-NRD; Geraldine Grant, Superior Watershed Partnership; Amanda Zeidler, Eagle Mine
    • Closing Ceremony, Water Walk, and closing prayer.  
  • March 22 - 4:15PM - World Water Day, sponsored by the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC).
    • Welcome and Introduction by Tim Havens, Director of the GLRC
    • Announcement of 3 Minute Thesis Winners.
    • Making Groundwater Visible: Education and outreach programs for sustaining our drinking water resources, presented by Ruth Kline-Robach,  Institute of Water Research & Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
    • Protecting our Groundwater from Emerging Contaminants: Exploring the past, present, and future, presented by Gavin Dehnert, Emerging Contaminants Scientist, University of Wisconsin Aquatic Sciences Center, WI Sea Grant and Water Resources Institute 
Mosaic of dry, cracked earth.

Drought by Alisa Singer

Art Exhibit - Environmental Graphiti - "The Art of Climate Change"

by Alisa Singer is a series of digital paintings created to enhance public awareness of the science of climate change.  Each of the artworks is derived from a chart, graph, map, word or number relating to a key fact about climate change. 

There is a Self-Guided Walking Tour during the spring semester.  

Own your own piece of Environmental Graphiti and support student research opportunities. Proceeds from art
sales will be used to fund student seed research grants. Art pricing and availability can be found online.
Email your interest in purchasing a piece and supporting student research grants. Art purchases are subject to sales tax.  

Art is displayed in these locations throughout the Spring semester:
U.J. Noblet Forestry Building - First Floor Atrium, Outside room 121
J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library - Elevator adjacent to the East Reading Room
Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building - Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Dow 632, Department of Biological Sciences, Dow 742, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, Dow 870
Great Lakes Research Center - First Floor Lobby
Academic Office Building - Department of Social Sciences, 209
Administration Building - University Marketing an Communications, G20


Sun setting beting a person standing next to machinery. USA Today logo.
Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

2022 Sustainability Film and Facilitated Discussion Series Presents: Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

Much of the planet relies on groundwater. From the U.S. to Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America – so much water is pumped from the ground that aquifers are being rapidly depleted and wells are going dry. The film, released in 2018, investigates the consequences of this emerging crisis in several of the world’s hotspots of groundwater depletion. These are
stories about people on four continents confronting questions of how to safeguard their aquifers for the future – and in some cases, how to cope as the water runs out. (64 min)  Film Warning – Note disturbing image at 10-11 minute mark. There is talk about farmer suicides and a picture of someone hanging inside a well.

Discussion Facilitator: John Gierke, Professor, Dept of Geological & Mining Engin. & Science
Dr. Gierke grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, within a mile of the St. Mary’s River, which is the outlet of Lake Superior. The St. Mary’s probably played the largest role in his environmental interests, as he spent countless hours on the River trolling and casting for fish, and during winters in his ice shanty staring into a horizontal “window” of water trying to coax fish into
spearing range. Before and during college, he held summer jobs on the River, including the Soo Locks, Edison Sault Hydroelectric Plant, and Soo Locks boat tours. In 1984, he completed a B.S. in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering, and then continued for an MSCE and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, all from Michigan Technological University. In 1990, he started a faculty position in geological engineering at Michigan Tech. Since then he
has been teaching and researching groundwater hydrology in the Keweenaw and aquifer systems in Nicaragua and Ecuador and studies of groundwater contamination in Lower Michigan, Ohio, Utah, and Delaware. He also has advised graduate students who served in the U.S. Peace Corps and conducted groundwater projects in Central America, Africa, and the
Philippines. He is currently the principal investigator on a project focused on adaptations to climate change in the Dry Corridor region of El Salvador. In addition, he and his wife operate a commercial blueberry farm that utilizes groundwater for drip irrigation using solar power.    

Co-Sponsored by

Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship ◊ Friends of the Land of Keweenaw
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative ◊ Students for Sustainability ◊ Keweenaw Land Trust
MTU Sustainability Demonstration House ◊ Dept. of Social Sciences Sustainability Sciences Program
College of Forest Resources & Environmental Science ◊ Great Lakes Research Center

              Husky Bites - COP26 in Glasgow

Last November, six Michigan Tech students and three alumni helped lead events and a press conference at the 26th United Nations COP26 event in Glasgow, Scotland. The group was led by environmental chemist and interim chair of the Dept. of Chemistry, Dr. Sarah A. Green, whose interests include all aspects of environmental chemistry, from molecular analytical methods to global climate change. The group's effort was part of the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH), a multidisciplinary research and education network involving 10 universities. Formed in 2019 with support from the National Science Foundation,YEAH prepares students to engage on climate-related issues across disciplines and cultures—and to be part of the climate solution as scientists and emerging leaders. We'll hear about their experiences at COP26—and what comes next. Joining in with Dr. Green will be Michigan Tech mechanical engineering PhD student Ayush Chutani, along with alumna Dr. Jessica Daignault, now an assistant professor of civil engineering at Montana Technological University. Both attended COP26. Daignault earned her PhD in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2021. "Climate change cannot be addressed without considering social justice, gender equality, capitalism, freshwater and ocean resources, and impacts to biodiversity," notes Daignault. "There must be transparency and accountability in the negotiation process, and the voices of minority populations must be heard." Join Dr. Green, Dr. Daignault, and Ayush Chutani share their observations from COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Three Minute Thesis Competition 

As part of the 2022 Michigan Tech World Water Day celebration, a virtual Three Minute Thesis-style competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students.  This was a great opportunity for students to enhance their skills in presenting and communicating research and coursework, related to the World Water Day theme (Groundwater - Making the invisible visible"), to a lay audience.  There were six winners:     

#1 Madelyn Jones and Ben Agnello 
Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater

#2 Bailey Papes and Megan Keranen
PFAS Groundwater Contamination in Michigan

#3 Leah Preston and Gabby Bosley
The Physical Impacts of Water Carrying in Relation to Groundwater

 Pictograph of Symbolic Petition of the Chippewa Chiefs presented at Washington, January 28, 1849, headed by Oshcabawais on Monomonecau, Wisconsin

Tribal Water Day, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

March 22, 2022 


2:00pm - Welcome and Introduction by Doreen Blaker, KBIC Tribal Council Member

Doreen is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay  Indian Community.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from  Michigan Technological University in Social Science and her Master’s in Jurisprudence in Indian Law from Tulsa College of Law.  Along with serving on the KBIC Tribal Council, Doreen is the Housing Director and a member of the Culture Committee, CARE Committee, Waste Advisory Board, and Drug Court. Outside of work Doreen enjoys spending time with her five children, eight grandchildren, and volunteering at community events.


Justin Woodruff, KBIC
Justin Woodruff, KBIC 

2:10pm - History of KBIC's Water Program by Justin Woodruff, KBIC

Covering the history of KBIC’s Water Program, from the beginning of the program to Treatment as a State (TAS) to Water Quality Standard (WQS).

Justin Woodruff is the Water Resources Specialist for Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.  His responsibilities are to characterize and address current problems related to water quality by using a surface water quality monitoring program that gives the water program a baseline data set.  



Dr. Cory McDonald
Dr. Cory McDonald

2:25pm - Water Quality Criteria - Cory McDonald, Michigan Tech

Development of locally-appropriate water quality criteria for KBIC 

An important component of water quality standards are criteria for water quality. These criteria are required to reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the potential negative effects that may be expected from the presence of specific pollutants. Ecological effects, aesthetic effects, and potential impacts on human health are all considered.  This talk will provide an overview of the process followed to establish criteria that are tailored to local water bodies and culture, and a summary of the results.

Cory McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. His expertise is in water quality engineering, including standards development, assessment, and modeling to support management decisions.


Dylan Friisvall
Dylan Friisvall, KBIC

2:40pm - Community Services (Beach and Groundwater) - Dylan Friisvall, KBIC

A groundwater sampling history & procedure and how we/where we commonly test for Groundwater. Beach sampling and making sure public swimming isn’t fouled by e.coli/fecal material.

Dylan is the water quality tech at KBIC. He makes sure the local water is healthy by testing the lakes & streams for pollution. Dylan also samples groundwater with the use of residential wells and samples public beaches.



Patrick LaPointe
Patrick LaPointe, KBIC

2:55pm - Overview and updates on the KBIC-NRD Fisheries Program - Patrick LaPointe, KBIC 

This was a basic field fisheries overview with some focus on updating contaminant sample contributions. 

Patrick LaPointe is the KBIC-NRD Field Fisheries Technician, and began working with the KBIC-NRD in 2011.  Since 2012 he has assisted with a wide range of fisheries assessments that include Walleye, Lake Trout, Lake Whitefish, Lake Sturgeon and Brook Trout. His hobbies include spending time with family, deer hunting, planting food plots and spending as much time as possible outdoors.  



Erin Johnston
Erin Johnston, KBIC

3:10pm - KBIC Wetland Monitoring Program - Erin Johnston, KBIC 

This presentation focused on the development and current status of the KBIC wetland monitoring program.

Erin Johnston has worked for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) for over 13 years, and is currently the Wildlife Biologist/Wildlife & Habitat Section Lead for the KBIC Natural Resources Department.  As Section Lead, Erin is responsible for management and/or oversight of projects and monitoring/surveys related to wildlife, habitat, native and invasive plant species, and wetlands within the L’Anse Indian Reservation.


3:25pm - Citizen's Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) - Shannon DesRochers, KBIC-NRD; Geraldine Grant, Superior Watershed Partnership; Amanda Zeidler, HSE and Permitting Manager for Eagle Mine


Shannon DesRochers
Shannon DesRochers, KBIC-NRD

Shannon DesRochers is the Great Lakes Resource Specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. She has been employed with KBIC NRD since 2016 and works closely with local, state, federal, bi-national, and tribal partners to track Great Lakes issues. Shannon is responsible for interpretation and analysis of federal and state permits, proposed rules changes, and other documents to suggest comments related to treaty rights protection. As a key member of the KBIC Water Team, Shannon also assists in the development and evaluation of water quality standards and the 401-certifications process.


Geraldine Grant
Geraldine Grant, Superior Watershed Partnership


Geri Grant is the Senior Planner and Biologist for the Superior Watershed Partnership and leads the organization’s watershed planning and habitat restoration programs. In addition to program coordination, she works closely with local, state, tribal and federal partners to further the organization’s mission. Geri specializes in natural resources planning, aquatic ecosystem restoration, physical and biological field assessments, and special studies related to Great Lakes priority issues. Geri possesses a Master of Science in Biology (Aquatic Ecology/Fisheries) and over 30 years of experience in the field of natural resources.



Amanda Zeidler
Amanda Zeidler, Eagle Mine

Amanda is a highly qualified professional experienced in developing and overseeing environmental and safety regulatory compliance programs, risk management, permitting, and injury reduction strategies. 

She is currently the HSE and Permitting Manager for Eagle Mine, owned by Toronto based Lundin Mining.  Amanda is proud to be part of the team that developed Eagle, an award-winning greenfield nickel mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Eagle Mine started production in 2014, employs 400 people, and is used internationally, as an example of modern mining for safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility.

Amanda is a Mine Safety and Health Administration Blue Card Certified Instructor for both Underground and Surface mining operations, in addition, she is a Team Leader in TapRoot Advanced Root Cause Analysis.  Under her leadership, the Eagle Mine safety and environmental teams are recognized for best practice performance in the extractive industry sector.


3:40pm - Closing Ceremony


KBIC Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Logo December 17, 1936


Michigan Tech from Portage Canal

World Water Day, Michigan Tech                        

March 22, 2022 - Keynote Speakers 

Ruth Kline-Robach
Ruth Kline-Robach

4:30pm-Making Groundwater Visible: Education and Outreach Programs for Sustaining our Drinking Water Resources, Ruth Kline-Robach, Michigan State University

This session highlighted the importance of our groundwater resources, shared some current programs that are in place to protect them, and reflected on lessons learned from decades of groundwater educational programming.

Ruth Kline-Robach is an Outreach Specialist with the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Community Sustainability, the MSU Institute of Water Research and MSU Extension. She has 30 years of experience in community-based water resources management issues and provides training and technical assistance related to wellhead protection, watershed planning, and stormwater management. In addition to working with communities on implementation of stormwater management programs, Ruth works with state and local agencies and organizations to promote source water protection planning across Michigan.


Gavin Dehnert
Gavin Dehnert

5:00pm-Protecting our Groundwater from Emerging Contaminants: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future, Gavin Dehnert, University of Wisconsin

This talk highlighted some of what we know about the most common and popular contaminants in our groundwater, why we should care about these contaminants, and what we are doing to protect our groundwater resource.

Gavin Dehnert is an Emerging Contaminants Scientist at the University of Wisconsin Aquatic Sciences Center, WI Sea Grant and Water Resources Institute.  He had a Wisconsin Water resource and Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship with Department of Health Services, a PhD in Integrative Biology focus on Toxicology from University of Wisconsin - Madison, and enjoys doing everything that includes the outdoors especially when it has water involved (hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, diving, and exploring).    



We extend sincere gratitude to all of our Tribal Water Day and World Water Day partners, funders and event sponsors.  We acknowledge the generous support of the Great Lakes Research Center and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Previous World Water Day Themes/Guest Speakers