MT. CLEMENS — After nearly two years of talks, Macomb County, Wayne State University, Macomb Community College and the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Friday announced the formal launch of the Huron to Erie Alliance for Research and Training Freshwater Center.

The HEART Freshwater Center, included as a critical project of the Blue Economy Initiative, is a collaborative effort of multiple stakeholders within academia, industry, and government. The Blue Economy Initiative, started by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, focuses on advancing the economic opportunities and environmental stewardship around Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River. Each of the partners has committed resources for making the alliance a top-notch hub for studying this unique freshwater corridor.

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“This is another collaborative effort that is pulling regional assets together to help better understand and promote our freshwater advantage,” Hackel said.

Lake St. Clair resembles the shape of a heart, which is exactly how the 430-square mile body of water functions — streaming water from the Upper Great Lakes to the Lower Great Lakes. With one shore in the United States and another in Canada, the lake is an international thoroughfare where one-fifth of the world’s usable freshwater is filtered. It supplies drinking water for nearly four million people.

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Lake St. Clair also contains one of the world’s most significant freshwater deltas and is considered one of the best fishing lakes in the nation. Bassmaster Magazine just proclaimed it the No. 1 lake in the United States for bass fishing.

Research conducted by the HEART Freshwater Center will use a mobile laboratory and classroom based at Lake St.Clair Metropark. Wayne State University has been recommended for funding and is awaiting final determination from the National Science Foundation, which will help to better define the future of the center and its programming.

“Wayne State University is pleased to be a collaborative partner of the Huron to Erie Alliance for Research and Training Freshwater Center,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at Wayne State University. “This center will provide important opportunities for students, faculty and many others to conduct innovative research and learning opportunities focused on urban freshwater systems and the environment.”

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For more information on the HEART Freshwater Center, visit