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Great Lakes: Local Economy and Fish Benefit from Restoration Projects

March 13, 2017

Habitat restoration in the Great Lakes is enhancing quality of life for residents and businesses. We have been working with the Great Lakes Commission to restore “toxic hotspots” in the region since 2008. Two recent projects demonstrate the benefits of restoration for the environment and the local community.

For decades, Michigan’s Muskegon Lake was a dumping ground for foundries and paper mills. We have helped fund several projects that improve fish habitat by removing debris and restoring wetlands.

Our projects contribute to increases in local tourism, recreation, and job creation.  A 2011 study determined that over 15 years, dollars invested in Muskegon Lake restoration will result in a 6-to-1 return to the local economy.

Local residents appreciate that a healthy environment is critical to future development in the region:

We recently completed construction of a new bridge on Sugar Island in the St. Marys River. It allows natural flow to return to the Little Rapids for the first time in more than 50 years. This work will replenish native fish populations, increase sport fishing and revitalize tourism. A new pedestrian walkway provides easier public access.

Local stakeholders consistently guided the restoration efforts. The project is also supporting tribal traditions. The area was once known for its incredible abundance of fish and wildlife, and it remains significant to local Native people.


Last updated by on February 22, 2018