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Great Lakes Habitat Restoration

The Great Lakes are one of the nation’s most important natural resources. They are the largest freshwater system on Earth, home to many species of fish and wildlife. They are also an important economic resource, supporting shipping, industry, commercial and recreational fishing, and tourism.


The Great Lakes—the earth's largest fresh water system—face many threats, including habitat degradation, overfishing, invasive species, marine debris, and pollution from oil and chemical spills.

NOAA is working with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to implement habitat restoration in the 8 Great Lakes states. These projects improve priority habitat important to native fish species, and toxic “hotspots” (known as Areas of Concern), the most degraded areas in the Great Lakes basin.

Since 2010, NOAA has supported 85 projects through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. These projects have restored more than 4,600 acres of habitat and opened almost 500 miles of stream for fish to access their habitat.