During its first five years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) implemented more than 2500 projects to improve water quality, clean up contaminated shoreline, protect and restore native habitat and species and prevent and control invasive species in the Great Lakes.
That work, which began in 2010, is summarized in a new Report to Congress and the President.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is making the Great Lakes healthier and local economies stronger,” said EPA Administrator and Great Lakes Interagency Task Force Chair Gina McCarthy. “With continued commitment from GLRI partners, we will continue to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and the communities that depend on that ecosystem for generations to come.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of surface freshwater in the world.
Funding provided through the Initiative has been a catalyst for unprecedented federal agency coordination through the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force and the Great Lakes Regional Working Group, which are led by EPA.
This coordination has produced unparalleled results, including:
- completing the work required to delist five Great Lakes Areas of Concern, and to formally delist the Presque Isle Bay Area of Concern;
- protecting, enhancing and restoring over 148,000 acres of wetlands, coastal, upland and island habitat;
- working with the agricultural community to reduce phosphorus runoff, which contributes to algal blooms;
- preventing new introductions of invasive species.
During the first five years of the GLRI, federal agencies and their partners completed all cleanup actions required to delist five Great Lakes Areas of Concern and to formally delist the Presque Isle Bay Area of Concern — a major change from the 25 years before the Initiative, during which only one Area of Concern was cleaned up and delisted.