The Green Bay waterfronts in Menominee and Marinette have been the focus of fun and entertainment — and economic benefits — for generations. They’ve been the “Welcome Wagon” for early settlers to the maturing age of newcomers and visitors spanning two centuries. From the logging and commercial fishing days to the come-later fishing tournaments and sailing and yacht races, to music concerts and community celebrations of a wide variety of events and activities, the waterfronts have pretty much showcased life in our two towns.

Life patterns didn’t change as swiftly years ago like they are so rapidly shifting in present-day life. Competition for all of the above is lively and fierce.

Not many of our readers may be aware of a new angle taking place in the M&M area this summer that is aimed at supporting a new initiative. It’s called Great Lakes One Water (GLOW), a project that is spreading across the Great Lakes basin. It’s a multi-year partnership that is focused on managing shoreline community foundations.

And right here in Menominee and Marinette we have the well-respected M&M Area Community Foundation, which is at the main point of helping manage a new era of water management under the GLOW benchmark. GLOW is moving to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes basin build the capacity of community foundations for progress on the pressing water challenges that communities face, generate community support at all levels, and deploy the most efficient practices for streamlining and assembling partners for technology and risk management. The plan also calls for developing public and private nonprofit partnerships.

Heading up the new venture are Pauline Grusyznski, executive director of the M&M Community Foundation, and John Lee, vice president of the foundation. The two are making calls to local municipalities and organizations to fan the opportunities about the GLOW program. GLOW received a grant processed through the Council of Michigan Foundations. The initial contact was made about two years ago and now the project is moving full steam ahead.

The M&M Area Community Foundation is a part of the Lake Superior/Upper Peninsula Regional GLOW team, which also includes the Duluth-Superior Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula, the Community Foundation of Marquette (Michigan) County, and the Keweenaw Community Foundation. The past two years involved an educational program on the opportunities for team members and their communities.

Much more is involved to this far-reaching process and more detailed information will be forthcoming. The foundation will host an educational session at UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus (by formal invitation) on Sept. 25. In the meantime, local municipalities were asked to submit plans, policies, ordinances and past plans of action to the foundation by Aug. 15 so the foundation could determine an assessment of risk and readiness.

A lot of study, preparation and work has gone into this unique program. Much more needs to be done. Water management is crucial to the M&M area. Weather patterns in recent years are pressing municipalities to make changes. We envision the GLOW program as a major stepping stone toward that goal.