Economic Benefits

Great Lakes restoration is good for the environment and the economy. A study out of the University of Michigan funded by the Michigan Sea Grant showed that more than 1.5 million jobs are connected to the Great Lakes, generating $62 billion in wages each year. In 2007, economists at the Brookings Institution concluded that Great Lakes restoration investments produced at least a 2-to-1 return on investment, while a study from 2011 showed that one restoration project in Michigan generated a 6-to-1 return on investment.

 

The Great Lakes are the backbone of the one of the world’s largest regional economies. For example,

  • Great Lakes businesses and individuals account for about 28 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis;
  • the Great Lakes basin, according to Fortune Magazine, is home to 38 percent of the Fortune 500 companies;
  • the Lakes attract more than 1.5 million anglers annually, who are the foundation of a $7 billion sport and recreational fishery that supports 58,291 jobs, according to the American Sportfishing Association; and
  • a study done by the Great Lakes Commission found there are 4.3 million registered boats in the eight-state region. Spending on boating and boating activities generated $16 billion in 2003, directly supporting 107,000 jobs.

 

View the economic benefits from investment in Great Lakes health by state: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Marc Smith of the National Wildlife Federation, at the end of the day out on the Great Lakes. Photo credit: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Marc Smith of the National Wildlife Federation, at the end of the day out on the Great Lakes. Photo credit: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

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