The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — to provide additional resources to make progress toward the most critical long-term goals for this important ecosystem.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been a catalyst for unprecedented federal agency coordination — through the Interagency Task Force and the Regional Working Group, which are led by EPA. This coordination has produced unprecedented results. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources have supplemented agency base budgets to fund the cleanup actions required to delist five Great Lakes Areas of Concern and to formally delist the Presque Isle Bay Area of Concern — a major change from the 25 years before the Initiative, during which only one Area of Concern was cleaned up and delisted.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources have also been used to double the acreage enrolled in agricultural conservation programs in watersheds where phosphorus runoff contributes to harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay and Green Bay. So far, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources have been used to fund over 2,000 projects to improve water quality, to protect and restore native habitat and species, to prevent and control invasive species and to address other Great Lakes environmental problems.
During FY15 - 19, federal agencies plan to continue to use Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward long term goals — by combining Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources with agency base budgets and by using these resources to work with nonfederal partners to implement protection and restoration projects.
To guide this work, federal agencies have drafted GLRI Action Plan II, which summarizes the actions that federal agencies plan to implement during FY15-19 using Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. GLRI Action Plan II outlines the next phase of work on Great Lakes environmental problems and associated human health issues — many of which will take decades to resolve. GLRI Action Plan II lays out the necessary next steps to get us closer to the day when we will be able to achieve our long-term goals for the Great Lakes and our commitments under the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
GLRI Action Plan II
GLRI Action Plan II summarizes the actions that federal agencies plan to implement during FY15-19 using Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding — actions to protect and restore the largest fresh surface water system in the world. These actions will build on restoration and protection work carried out under the first GLRI Action Plan, with a major focus on:
- Cleaning up Great Lakes Areas of Concern
- Preventing and controlling invasive species
- Reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful/nuisance algal blooms
- Restoring habitat to protect native species
GLRI Action Plan II incorporates a science-based adaptive management framework that will be used to prioritize ecosystem problems to be targeted with GLRI resources, to select projects to address those problems and to assess the effectiveness of GLRI projects. Measures of Progress have been developed to track all actions implemented under GLRI Action Plan II.
GLRI Action Plan II commits agencies to develop and incorporate climate resiliency criteria in project selection processes. Agencies will develop standard criteria to ensure climate resiliency of GLRI-funded projects.
GLRI Action Plan II includes many ideas developed during the first five years of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that were contributed by the Great Lakes Advisory Board, the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service, states, tribes, municipalities and the general public. All of the federal agencies involved in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are grateful for these recommendations and will be actively seeking additional input as part of the science-based adaptive management cycle — as we implement and improve the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and as we work with our many partners to protect and restore the Great Lakes.