January 27, 2020 Lansing, MI (AMN) – The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Lake Biwa and the Environment of the Shiga Prefectural Government of Japan today signed an agreement to share knowledge and expertise to protect some of the world’s largest bodies of fresh water and advocate for lake conservation efforts around the world.
The memorandum of understanding signed today by EGLE Director Liesl Clark and Shiga Director General Ishikawa Yasuhisa continues more than 50 years of friendship and cooperation between the two governments. It recognizes the importance of freshwater as a source of life, culture, and identity for the citizens of both states.
“I am honored to be able to continue our longstanding relationship with Shiga, Japan, which reflects the strong bonds our two countries have,” Director Clark said. “By signing this agreement, we affirm our shared desire for stewardship of our freshwater resources and vow to continue learning from each other for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.”
“With the rise in population, pollution, and the effects of climate change we’ve seen in recent years, water issues have become an important challenge,” Director General Ishikawa said. “Considering these circumstances, and what links us, we thought that we should join forces to tell the world how important lakes and reservoirs are and help advance their protection for current and future generations.”
The memorandum of understanding promotes and strengthens the Sister-State relationship between Michigan and Shiga, deepens the understanding between their citizens, and emphasizes the value of conservation and restoration of lake environments for present and future generations. Under the memorandum of understanding, both parties will:
- Facilitate dialogue and partnership to promote conservation and restoration of lake environments.
- Pursue opportunities for collaboration through mutual exchange of program staff, information, and expertise for sustainable lake management.
- Affirm the significance of promoting the value of lakes and reservoirs and the importance of the conservation of these environments to the world.
Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and takes up a sixth of the area of Shiga Prefecture. Michigan’s Great Lakes make up the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world. The role of the Department of Lake Biwa and the Environment of Shiga Prefectural Government is similar to that of EGLE. Both protect the environment and public health through water and land management.