New Reports Highlight Successful Great Lakes Restoration Projects

Great Lakes cities, residents and businesses are embracing real solutions to the problems that have been plaguing our fresh water lakes for decades.

Two new reports by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition showcase successful restoration projects and the benefits they provide people and communities.

“Progress and Promise: 21 Stories that Showcase Successful Great Lakes Restoration Projects” chronicles how communities have successfully worked to control sewage contamination, confront invasive species, clean up toxic pollution and restore wildlife habitat.

“Faces of Restoration: People Working to Restore the Great Lakes” examines a handful of restoration case studies that demonstrate how investments in Great Lakes restoration lead to job creation in a broad and diverse array of fields.

In many cases, the coalition chose the success stories from five geographic priorities that the coalition is targeting for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds. These areas are in great need for restoration due to the multiple threats they face—yet at the same time, the sites hold great potential of being successfully restored.

The U.S .Congress and President Obama have made unprecedented investments in Great Lakes restoration and the economic recovery of the region through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The reports underscore that these investments are working.

In Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, people are being put to work to restore wetlands, remove dams and beautify waterfronts. The “Faces of Restoration” report, for example, tells the story of how 125 jobs were created by a $10 million project to restore a western Michigan Area of Concern site and bring back the fish and wildlife habitat in Muskegon Lake; how 177 people have been employed to control the sea lamprey; and how a dam removal project on the Milwaukee River system put 174 people to work – some of which were at-risk youth.

Ever since the region’s citizens, business leaders, industry, mayors and governors united around the “Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore the Protect the Great Lakes” in 2005, a common refrain from the region has been: “We know the problems. We know the solutions. We can do the work. All we need are the resources.”

In these two reports, Congress has, at its fingertips, proof that the nation’s investment in Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery are paying off for the millions of people in the region—and around the nation—who depend on the Lakes for their jobs, health and way of life.

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