Top Products for the Great Lakes

General funding was received through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Current Projects

Lake Michigan Coastal Resilience Initiative – Lake Michigan Coastal Resilience Initiative – This project provides technical and contract support aimed at building capacity among Great Lakes cities to strengthen coastal resilience and respond to challenges such as shoreline erosion, flooding, and increasingly frequent severe storm events.

Phase 1 will result in engagement forums with municipal and natural resource managers across the Lake Michigan basin. The focus of the engagement forums will be to identify site-specific project work, and educate local officials on resources, tools, best practices, and engineering options for implementing sustainable solutions to disturbances in coastal areas. NOAA is offering coastal training through in-kind support throughout the project. The engagement forums will result in a detailed municipal engagement report and a prioritized list of coastal restoration projects.

Phase 2 will focus on selecting municipal-scale projects that will demonstrate sustainable approaches for acute coastal problems. Engineering and design plans (e.g., 60-80 percent construction-ready status plans) will be developed for a minimum of two sites.

Coastal States Organization Shoreline Assessment and Design Project – Along many Great Lakes shorelines, land use change, shoreline alterations, and coastal infrastructure have resulted in a loss of coastal biodiversity and ecological resilience. Restoration of these shorelines will require an integrated systems approach, applied at scale, to identify place-based nearshore management goals and actions to restore coastal biodiversity and ecological resilience.

To complement ongoing work under the nearshore framework, NOAA partnered with the Coastal States Organization and LimnoTech in 2019-20 to host workshops with coastal programs and other interested parties in all eight Great Lakes coastal states. Each state identified priority projects, from which three were identified as being highest priority and in need of engineering and design work in advance of restoration funding. The three projects for which 60 percent designs are now complete:

  • Lake Ontario, New York – Wetland Rehabilitation and Connectivity in Sawmill Cove, Sodus Bay–Shaker Tract
  • Lake Erie, New York – Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Connectivity – Tifft Nature Preserve
  • Lake Superior, Minnesota – Fish Habitat Reconnection in Multiple Watersheds

The Minnesota project has begun construction, and project selections are being made for the next round of engineering and design work, which will proceed in early 2022.

Adapting Living Shorelines to the Great Lakes (Minnesota) – Led by the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program, this project will select suitable living shoreline options for four sites along Lake Superior, develop designs, and install the materials to enhance habitat, maintain recreational opportunities, and reduce erosion. For more information, contact Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Manoomin (Wild Rice) Restoration in Lakes Michigan and Huron – This project will provide technical assistance to determine restoration efforts for northern wild rice (Z.palustris) and southern wild rice (Z.aquatica) and monitor its current distribution within Lakes Michigan and Huron coastal wetlands, distributed across 12 sites in the basin, for evaluation within tribal coastal wetlands. Deliverables will include high-resolution remote sensing data and field data for key manoomin water bodies.

Illinois Beach State Park Project – This project will collect and process geospatial data to show erosion rates for beach and nearshore areas, as well as the ecosystem value of various habitats within the park. By pairing these data with information on processes such as lake level fluctuations and storms, managers will be able to identify locations and nearshore restoration strategies within the park for habitat protection. Deliverables will include a refined sediment budget for the area and compilation of high-resolution data sets. Existing project data is available through the Illinois State Geological Survey. For more information, contact the Illinois Coastal Management Program.

Completed Projects

  • Wisconsin Point Dune Restoration – This project enhanced parking turnouts and beach access points along Wisconsin Point to stop dune deterioration. Additionally, the project addressed shoreline erosion along Allouez Bay.
  • Manoomin Restoration in Lake Superior – This project provided technical assistance to determine restoration efforts for wild rice and monitored its distribution within Lake Superior coastal wetlands. NOAA worked with Lake Superior’s coastal tribal communities to identify six sites distributed across the basin for evaluation within tribal coastal wetlands. These pilot locations will serve as a foundation for future work.
  • Hardened Shorelines Assessment – This project classified the U.S. Great Lakes shoreline segments as either artificial or natural, along with structure type and condition. This data analysis enhanced understanding of the unintended consequences of hardened shoreline to increase recognition of potential systemic issues. Data can also now be used for future modeling efforts, to evaluate projects for future climate resilience, and to prioritize Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding decisions each year.

Tools and Regional Data Sets

Lake Level Viewer (U.S. Great Lakes) – This tool provides visuals and information that depict potential lake level changes and impacts.

Land Cover Atlas – This online data viewer provides user-friendly access to regional land cover and land cover change information.

Data Access Viewer – This tool provides access to imagery, land cover, and elevation information that covers the Great Lakes. Find recently collected bathymetry and hyperspectral data within this tool.

Benthic Cover – This resource on Digital Coast provides links to recently collected benthic classification data sets, including those that cover portions of the Great Lakes.

Resources

A Guide to Assessing Green Infrastructure Costs and Benefits for Flood Reduction – Follow this six-step approach to assess green infrastructure costs and benefits for flood reduction in your community.

Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program in the Great Lakes – This program provides matching funds to state and local governments to purchase threatened coastal and estuarine lands or obtain conservation easements. Find out more about the program.

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Illinois – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Indiana – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Michigan – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Minnesota – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for New York – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Ohio – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Pennsylvania – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Coastal States Organization Workshop report for Wisconsin – Proceedings Report on Great Lakes Coastal and Nearshore Habitat Assessment Project

Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration – This project developed criteria for land and water management to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems through the completion of a flow-ecology model analysis of Minnesota tributaries in the Lake Superior basin.

Economic Assessment – Learn about the economic benefits of green infrastructure and find information on a suite of stormwater management practices.

Great Lakes Elevation Data – View elevation data for parts of Lake Superior, and then explore the U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory for data available from other sources.

Great Lakes Land Cover Change Report – See how the Great Lakes coastal region has changed from 1996 to 2010 with this presentation of key findings.

Great Lakes Partnership Case Study – Learn how collaboration can aid in climate change and resilience planning.

Great Lakes Resilience Planning Guide – Discover resources on hazards and climate change to help communicate these coastal issues.

Land Cover Change Report – Discover how the Lake Michigan basin has changed from 1985 to 2010 with this presentation of key findings.

Stories from the Field – Read about Great Lakes projects that used Digital Coast data, tools, and resources to get the job done. Explore “Focus Area” categories to learn more.

Technical Reports – Find reports on using a needs assessment to plan for climate change and adapting to climate change in the Great Lakes Basin.