STUDY: Spotlight on Economic Growth in Great Lakes Communities

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has provided more than $2.5 billion to clean up contaminated harbors, restore fish habitat and keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes, according to a study by the University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics.

According to the study, every federal dollar spent on GLRI projects between 2010 through 2016 will produce an additional $3.35 of additional economic activity in the Great Lakes region through 2036.

Researchers said that the GLRI has created or supported thousands of jobs, strengthened tourism in the region and increased residential property values in coastal communities across the basin by $900 million.

“The GLRI is critical for healthy Great Lakes, which are in turn critical to the continued success of our region’s manufacturing and industry sectors,” said Kathryn Buckner, president of the Council of Great Lakes Industries. “This study shows that the GLRI not only is improving the ecosystem, but it also has generated and will continue to generate economic activity in the region.”

The Council of Great Lakes Industries and the Great Lakes Commission coordinated the study, which was funded, in part, by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The study said the GLRI has advanced efforts to restore the Great Lakes, on many fronts. Funding from the program has:

  • Helped clean up and restore numerous harbors and coastal areas that were contaminated by decades of legacy pollution;
  • Protected, restored and enhanced 642 miles of shoreline and river corridors, 17,500 acres of coastal wetlands, and more than 180,000 acres of habitat;
  • Prevented 402,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Great Lakes, etc.