Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Activities at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management has received $44.6 million since 2010 in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds to support projects and efforts with partners in the region.

Click on one of the links below to learn more about our GLRI activities within the Great Lakes region.

Current Projects

Collaborative Great Lakes Manoomin Project
The new wild rice story map from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

Supporting the Development of System Resilience Indicators for Wild Rice in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron – Building on the last two projects in Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron basins (see story map and Completed Projects below), this next project will take a more holistic look at wild rice in the region to better understand the Gaa-izhiwebak (past), Ezhiwebak (present), and Waa-izhiwebak (future) dynamics and stressors that impact wild rice distribution and resilience in the Great Lakes. This will include continued engagement with regional partners and additional geospatial and remote sensing technical support for monitoring and restoration efforts. Contact Brandon Krumwiede ( for additional information.

Initiative for Resilient Great Lakes Coasts (formerly the Lake Michigan Coastal Resilience Initiative) – This partnership between the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and NOAA works to build the capacity of Great Lakes cities and communities to design and develop habitat-focused projects that improve local climate resilience and respond to challenges such as shoreline erosion, flooding, and increasingly frequent severe storm events.

The effort started in Lake Michigan, and has since expanded to include the coastal communities of Lake Superior, St. Marys River, Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River. This expanded initiative will bring scientific expertise, training, and technical assistance to these new geographies, along with engineering and design support for selected projects to pursue nature-based shoreline approaches for acute coastal problems. Find additional details here, including how to participate.

Current work as part of the Lake Michigan effort has involved development of engineering and design plans for 10 Lake Michigan sites:

  • Bayfront East Living Shoreline and Trail Modification, Petoskey, Michigan
  • Bayfront West Living Shoreline, Petoskey, Michigan
  • Frankfort Lake Michigan Coastal Resiliency Project, Frankfort, Michigan
  • Lincoln Park South Lagoon Shoreline Resilience Project, Chicago Park District, Illinois
  • Jackson Park Lagoon Shoreline Resilience Project, Chicago Park District, Illinois
  • Openlands Lakeshore Preserve Shoreline Protection Project, Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, Illinois
  • McCormick Ravine Bluff and Nearshore Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Project, Lake Forest Open Lands Association, Illinois
  • Lighthouse Beach Dune Management, Evanston, Illinois
  • Clark Street Beach Dune Management, Evanston, Illinois
  • Valley Creek Resiliency Planning–Guenther Pond Restoration, Port Washington, Wisconsin

Contact Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe ( for additional information.

High-Resolution Land Cover Data of Detroit, Michigan
Example from Detroit, Michigan showing difference in detail between the new high-resolution data (top) and the regional 30-meter land cover (bottom).

High-Resolution Land Cover Data for Understanding Coastal Wetland Conditions and Resiliency – This project focuses on producing new high-resolution 1-meter land cover data and wetland classification maps for the Great Lakes region. The initial high-resolution land cover product, released in January 2024, includes three feature layers: impervious surfaces, tree canopy, and water features. Future products, expected in 2025, will include the full C-CAP classification scheme with up to 25 classes, including wetlands, cultivated, and impervious under canopy. By providing more detail (900 times that of the 30-meter regional land cover), these new high-resolution land cover data sets will provide valuable information to support a wide range of local and site-level applications, including flood inundation modeling, stormwater management, water quality assessments, nature-based solutions, urban forestry, and more.

Utilizing the high-resolution land cover data, wetland classification maps are being developed for the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes basin. These data will be consistent with NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) classification standard and will include five categories of wetlands. Mapping will be based on 2020 and 2021 aerial imagery (the most current, depending on the state). Once produced, these data will become the foundation of an analysis of wetland resilience to fluctuating lake levels. This work is expected to be similar and provide a Great Lakes corollary to previous work conducted for salt marshes as part of a National Estuarine Research Reserve study.

In addition, a smaller area of more detailed wetland mapping, focused on species-level categories, will also be produced. The location and exact classification scheme of that mapping will be based on the resilience analysis and partner input from within the region. These data are expected to be similar to other detailed wetland habitat mapping carried out by the Office for Coastal Management in the past. All data produced as part of this project will be available for public access from NOAA’s Digital Coast website. Contact Nate Herold ( for more information.

Collaborative Benthic Habitat Mapping Project – This project is focused on the collection of new high-resolution bathymetry, classification, and mapping of coastal and nearshore benthic habitat to inform natural resource restoration and protection efforts within Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. Deliverables include detailed bathymetry and data applying the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS). Partners on this project include NOAA (Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Office for Coastal Management, Office of Coast Survey, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries), National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Existing project data is available through the NOAA Data Access Viewer and NCCOS BioMapper. Contact Brandon Krumwiede ( for more information.

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 identify priority projects, NOAA partnered with the Coastal States Organization to host workshops with state coastal programs and other interested parties in all eight Great Lakes coastal states. From there, engineering and design that brings the construction-ready status to 60-80 percent has been completed for the following sites:

  • 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 Sawmill Creek
  • Lake Superior, Minnesota – Fish Habitat Reconnection in Tischer Creek
  • Lake Michigan, Michigan – Pentwater River Drowned River Mouth Habitat Restoration
  • Lake Michigan, Wisconsin – Peshtigo River Streambank Stabilization and Habitat Enhancement
  • Lake Erie, Pennsylvania – Restoration of Prime Fish Spawning Habitat
  • Lake Ontario/Niagara River, New York – Niagara River Shoreline and Aquatic Habitat Restoration

Four additional projects are currently being supported and design plans will be finalized in early 2024:

  • Lake Michigan, Indiana – Little Calumet River-Marshalltown Marsh-MLK North Wetland Complex – Nearshore Emergent Marsh and Stream Corridor Restoration
  • Lake Superior, Wisconsin – Dwight’s Point and Pokegama Wetlands State Natural Area Resiliency Project
  • Lake Superior, Minnesota – Brook Trout Habitat Reconnection in Slaughterhouse Creek, Carlton CountyLake Superior, Minnesota – Brook Trout Habitat Reconnection in Hay Creek, Carlton County

Contact Becky Nicodemus ( for additional information.

Adapting Living Shorelines to the Great Lakes (Minnesota) – The Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program is selecting suitable living shoreline options for three public access sites along Lake Superior. Working with partners, they are developing shovel-ready designs to enhance habitat, maintain recreational opportunities, and reduce erosion. The project team is also creating a native plant guide and protocols for monitoring. For more information, contact Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.

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 through multi-year monitoring efforts. 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

  • Manoomin (Wild Rice) Restoration in Lakes Michigan and Huron – Continuing the work from the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Restoration in Lake Superior project, this project provided technical geospatial support for ongoing monitoring and restoration efforts for both northern wild rice (Zizania palustris) and southern wild rice (Zizania aquatica) within Lake Michigan and Lake Huron coastal wetlands. This included working closely with tribal partners to hold a virtual workshop and collect field data and aerial hyperspectral imagery at 12 different sites. Imagery is available through the Data Access Viewer on NOAA’s Digital Coast. (Completed in 2022)
  • 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. (Completed in 2019)
  • 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. (Completed in 2019)
  • Manoomin (Wild Rice) Restoration in Lake Superior – This project focused on providing technical assistance to support the protection, monitoring, and restoration of wild rice and its habitat in the Lake Superior basin. This included working with tribal partners to identify project objectives, convening annual workshops, developing education and outreach materials, conducting a cultural and ecosystem services study, and collecting aerial hyperspectral imagery and field data at six sites to help map and monitor wild rice stands. Imagery is available through the Data Access Viewer on NOAA’s Digital Coast. (Completed in 2018)

Tools and Regional Data Sets

Coastal Land Cover and Change Data

  • C-CAP High-Resolution Land Cover – 1-meter land cover data. Initial products include three feature layers: impervious surfaces, tree canopy, and water features. Later products will include the full C-CAP scheme with up to 25 classes.
  • C-CAP Regional Land Cover and Change – 30-meter land cover data. Products have been released every five years since 1996 for the coastal United States, with the Great Lakes region having additional coverage going back to 1975.
  • 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.

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


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.

Collaborative Great Lakes Manoomin Project Story Map – Story map featuring the multi-year effort between NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, tribal communities, academia, and tribal, state, and federal agencies to help protect, monitor, and restore wild rice and its habitat in the northern Great Lakes basins.

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 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.

Lake Superior Manoomin Cultural and Ecosystem Characterization Study – Conducted as part of the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Restoration in Lake Superior Project, this study helped document the overall health of manoomin and its habitat at seven case study sites, as well as the change in cultural and ecological functionality over time to better inform management, protection, and restoration efforts in the Great Lakes.

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.

For more information, contact us at