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Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes are one of our most important natural resources—they are the largest freshwater system on earth, and support numerous industries including commercial and recreational fishing, shipping, transportation, and coastal tourism. However, the Great Lakes face many threats including invasive species, oil spills and other pollution, overfishing, and habitat degradation.

What We Do

The Restoration Center’s work in the region is focused on supporting community-identified restoration priorities in Areas of Concern—environmentally degraded areas within the Great Lakes basin.  Much of this work is supported through the President’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and aims to improve fish passage, clean up marine debris, restore coastal wetlands, and remove invasive species. The Restoration Center also works to protect and restore Great Lakes coastal habitats through recovery of damages from natural resource damage claims.

The Restoration Center maintains strong working relationships in the Great Lakes region with a number of non-profit organizations and governmental entities including the Great Lakes Commission, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation. Through these partnerships, we assist with restoration project design and engineering, on-the-ground restoration work, and project evaluation to inform future restoration efforts.


Case Study—Muskegon Lake Restoration, Michigan

The lower Muskegon River watershed provides habitat for numerous species of waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish. Within it lies the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern, a drowned river mouth lake. It flows into Lake Michigan at a shoreline that is part of the world’s largest body of freshwater sand dunes. Initial funding for habitat restoration by the Restoration Center came through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Restoration work has continued with funds provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The ultimate goal of the project is to achieve the restoration targets established to “delist” the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern.