The governance and legal system surrounding the Great Lakes is overwhelming even to attorneys and policy makers. It incorporates two countries, eight states, two provinces, Indian tribes and First Nations, American and Canadian international agencies along with many local governments. The Great Lakes are not governed by distinct borders; they include overlapping populations, environments and natural resources. Similarly, the variety of concerns regarding their resources are overlapping.
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Michigan coined the nickname "The Great Lakes State" not only for being surrounded by four out of the five Great Lakes but also for the ecological, economic and cultural benefits that the lakes provide. Most Michiganders have stories of spending summers splashing along miles of shoreline, fishing for lake trout or just relishing the lakes' majestic views. Author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, Dan Egan, a journalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentential, understands why Michiganders are so proud to call the Great Lakes home.