Great Lakes Conservation

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a federal program that provides unprecedented funding for protection and restoration efforts on the five Great Lakes. The GLRI is guided by an action plan with detailed performance goals and clear accountability standards. An interagency task force, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coordinates federal efforts and directs funding to states, cities and nongovernmental groups that are best able to address local restoration priorities.

Committed to creating a new standard of care that will leave the Great Lakes better for the next generation

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative accelerates efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world – the Great Lakes. Built upon the foundation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, GLRI answered a challenge of the governors of the Great Lakes states. Since 2010 the multi agency GLRI has provided funding to 16 federal organizations to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward achieving long term goals:

  • Fish safe to eat
  • Water safe for recreation
  • Safe source of drinking water
  • All Areas of Concern delisted
  • Harmful/nuisance algal blooms eliminated
  • No new self-sustaining invasive species
  • Existing invasive species controlled
  • Native habitat protected and restored to sustain native species

Since its start in FY 2010, GLRI has accelerated cleanup of the most polluted Great Lake sites, reduced phosphorous loadings that often cause harmful algal blooms, and helped keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes. Significant work still remains. Federal agencies of the GLRI Regional Working Group continue to focus on Great Lakes restoration through on the-ground and in-the-water projects which target the most significant environmental problems.

Federal agencies of the GLRI's Regional Working Group are accelerating Great Lakes protection and restoration within each of the GLRI Focus Areas.

Focus Area 1 – Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern (AOCs)
Focus Area 2 – Invasive Species
Focus Area 3 – Nonpoint Source Pollution Impacts on Nearshore Health
Focus Area 4 – Habitat and Species
Focus Area 5 – Foundations for Future Restoration Actions

To learn more about these initiatives and more, visit the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.