Protection and Restoration

Overview

The Great Lakes Governors established a list of nine priorities to guide the restoration and protection of the largest single source of fresh surface water in the world, the Great Lakes:

  • Ensure the sustainable use of our water resources while confirming that the States retain authority over water use and diversions of Great Lakes waters.
  • Promote programs to protect human health against adverse effects of pollution in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Control pollution from diffuse sources into water, land and air.
  • Continue to reduce the introduction of persistent bioaccumulative toxics into the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Stop the introduction and spread of non-native aquatic invasive species.
  • Enhance fish and wildlife by restoring and protecting coastal wetlands, fish and wildlife habitats.
  • Restore to environmental health the Areas of Concern identified by the International Joint Commission as needing remediation.
  • Standardize and enhance the methods by which information is collected, recorded and shared within the region.
  • Adopt sustainable use practices that protect environmental resources and may enhance the recreational and commercial value of our Great Lakes.

Through the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, the Great Lakes Governors partnered with members of Congress, the Administration, Mayors, Tribal leaders and over 1500 stakeholders to develop a comprehensive restoration and protection strategy for the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Governors continue to lead aggressive State action and are partnering with other Collaboration members to turn the strategy’s recommendations into reality.

Most recently, our region finally secured the first installment of large-scale, long-term funding to protect and restore our Great Lakes. The $2 billion already provided for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative presents a huge opportunity to accelerate our work. The Great Lakes Governors are committed to success in protecting and restoring our Great Lakes, and continue to work together toward this end.