Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

GLRI Draft Action Plan II Available for Review & Input

Federal agencies release GLRI Action Plan II

The EPA and Great Lakes Advisory Board listened to public input and incorporated it into this draft Action Plan. In addition to re-doubling efforts in the four problem areas (toxic contamination; invasive species; loss of wildlife habitat; and runoff that causes algae blooms), it calls for taking climate change into account in new projects. It also includes strengthened measures to show more progress in reports to the President and Congress.

EPA hopes to have the final version adopted and implemented by October 1, 2014.

Eastern Region's Cooperative Weed Management Areas

The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service partner with federal, state and local government agencies, tribes, individuals and other interested groups, to establish community organizations to reduce the impacts of invasive plants, like phragmites, that degrade habitat for native waterfowl and other wildlife. These Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) provide early detection and rapid response programs for invasive plant species and treat infestations through chemical, mechanical, cultural, and biological methods.

Click here to learn more about CWMAs in the Eastern Region!

The Great Lakes Basin [map]

There are six national forests within the Great Lakes basin:


GLRI has been funded by Congress to restore and protect the Great Lakes. It is implemented through the cooperative action of 16 federal agencies, and builds on both many decades of planning, and the dedication and commitment of a wide range of non-federal partners. To date, the GLRI has funded more than 1,500 projects and programs. These efforts are making essential progress towards restoration and protection of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The Initiative Action Plan, covering FY 2010 through 2014, was developed by a task force of 16 federal departments and agencies to implement the president’s historic initiative. It was released with the Great Lakes area governors in February 2010 and called for aggressive efforts to address five urgent priority focus areas:

  • Cleaning up toxics and toxic hot spot areas of concern;
  • Combating invasive species;
  • Promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off;
  • Restoring wetlands and other habitats; and
  • Working with strategic partners on outreach

With input from citizens, three key priority areas guided restoration for 2012 & 2013:

  • Cleaning up Areas of Concern
  • Reducing nutrients entering the Lakes
  • Preventing the introduction of new invasive species

The EPA recently concluded an extensive public comment period to gain input on an Action Plan that would guide great lakes restoration from FY 2015-19.

In March 2013, EPA announced, on behalf of 16 federal agencies, the membership of the first advisory board to support implementation of GLRI. The members will serve 2-year appointments.

Click here for more information on GLRI!

National Forests & GLRI

There is a strong connection between the health of national forests within the Basin and the health of the Great Lakes, from the tributaries that drain into the lakes, to the invasive species threatening their health – projects on National Forest System lands make a difference!

Forests bring significant benefits to our land, water, and communities, such as:

  • Clean Water
  • Healthy aquatic ecosystems
  • Clean air - by filtering pollutants

In urban areas - trees & forests

  • Reduce storm water runoff
  • Cool the air
  • Provide recreation
  • Provide critical habitat for fish & wildlife

In rural areas - trees & forests:

  • Protect municipal water supplied
  • Reduce flooding
  • Replenish ground water aquifers
  • Provide recreation
  • Provide critical habitat for fish & wildlife

Sources on Forests & Water

Protect Clean Water Guide:

Forests, Water, & People Analysis

Did You Know: 52 million people depend on water from northern forests