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 Monday signed an agreement to share knowledge and expertise to protect freshwater bodies and advocate for lake conservation.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Liesl Clark, director of EGLE, and Ishikawa Yasuhisa, Shiga director general, and continues more than 50 years of cooperation between the two governments.
“I am honored to be able to continue our longstanding relationship with Shiga, Japan, which reflects the strong bonds our two countries have,” Clark says. “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.”
Under the memorandum, both parties plan to facilitate dialogue and partnership to promote conservation and restoration of lake environments; pursue opportunities for collaboration through a mutual exchange of staff, information, and expertise for sustainable lake management; and affirm the significance of promoting the value of lakes and reservoirs.
“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,” Ishikawa says. “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.”
Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and takes up one-sixth of the area of Shiga Prefecture. The Great Lakes make up the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world. The Department of Lake Biwa and the Environment of the Shiga Prefectural Government is similar to that of EGLE – both work to protect the environment and public health through water and land management.