Michigan’s Blue Economy

May 31, 2014

Where Two Waters Meet

Where Two Waters Meet, photo by Robby Ryke

Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, the three universities that make up Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), have released a report titled “Innovating for the Blue Economy“. The report cites nearly $300 million in awards for water-related research and outreach from 2009 to 2013 that have led to innovations from dealing with invasive species and monitoring water quality to finding ways to optimize water use in agriculture. Their news release on the report prepared by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) says in part:

AEG’s analysis showed that Michigan ranked fourth in the nation in the percentage of jobs associated with industries related to water, at 718,700.

“One in five Michigan jobs is tied to having good and plentiful water,” said AEG founder and CEO Patrick Anderson. “It is an important economic driver in Michigan, and extends to Great Lakes shipping, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, and over 80 other industry subsectors where Michigan workers are employed today.”

While most of Michigan’s water-related jobs are in water-enabled industries such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, about 138,000 are in core water products and services producing water treatment facilities and solving water quality and quantity issues.

“Water isn’t just Michigan’s defining characteristic but the foundation of life on earth,” said Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Our three universities make significant commitments to support water-related research and programs. These not only support Michigan’s economy and quality of life, but position the state as a knowledge wellspring for the world’s most precious natural resource.”

Read on and read the full report right here. The report is chock full of interesting facts including that those 718,700 jobs represent 21.3% of Michigan’s total employment (4th in the nation) and details many of the accomplishments of Michigan’s investment in our “Big Three” university research programs. Also note that “downstream” industries like tourism that rely on healthy water resources aren’t included in the numbers.

Robby writes that Otter Creek Beach has to be the reason why Sleeping Bear Dunes was Voted “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Michigan in Pictures has over 40 pages of water-related photos – drink deep!

One Response to “Michigan’s Blue Economy”


  1. Reblogged this on Michael Patrick Hicks and commented:
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes it inspires a whole book…

    The Blue Economy is a concept that’s been on my mind for a while, and I touch on it a bit in my next novel, EMERGENCE, along with seasteading. But, that stuff is for the future. Be sure to check out the report from University Research Corridor for more information on where Michigan, specifically, could be headed.

    Looking at this picture, though, the first word that popped into mind was “refuge.” Maybe just because it’s a Monday work-a-day struggle and I’m longing to get back up north for a summertime weekend getaway… Or, maybe, because there’s a larger story shaping up in my head, and that little concept of refuge is so much bigger.

    I’ve got some research ahead of me, but the ideas are boiling and melding together pretty quickly. I may need to revise some future release plans, so we’ll see what happens. But I’m definitely feeling those story-telling gears grinding again.


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