Close this search box.
Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was launched in 2009 by President Obama and Congress to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world—the Great Lakes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.  The program provides funding to clean up legacy pollution, restore habitats, protect wildlife, combat invasive species, and address agricultural runoff in the Great Lakes watershed.

Since 2009, Congress has invested billions of dollars through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. These projects have restored acres of fish and wildlife habitat; opened up fish access in rivers; helped farmers—in combination with other programs—implement conservation programs on rural working lands; and accelerated the cleanup of toxic hotspots. In the previous two decades before the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, only one site identified as a toxic hotspot had been completely cleaned up. 

Restoration investments, according to 2018 analysis, are creating a greater than 3-to-1 return on investment in local communities driving new real estate/commercial development and a resurgence in water-based outdoor recreation. All boosting tourism, housing options, and home values.

Federal Great Lakes restoration investments are producing ecological and economic results. But serious threats remain. Congress must continue supporting our communities by fully funding key restoration programs to protect our drinking water, public health, jobs, and quality of life.