An Economic Powerhouse
The total coastal and maritime economy for the U.S. Great Lakes region generated $3.1 trillion in gross domestic product while employing 26.1 million people and supporting $1.3 trillion in wages. This is due in large part to the five major ports in the region: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, and Milwaukee.3
Agencies Work Together to Accomplish More
Created by Congress in 2004, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative encompasses 16 federal agencies to provide funding and target the biggest threats to the region. Managed by the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, the effort is EPA-led.5
Lake Levels Rise and Fall
The amount of water in the Great Lakes goes up and down based on season, rainfall, and a variety of other factors. Low levels create dredging and infrastructure issues, while high levels cause flooding and erosion problems.
States Focus on Coasts
All eight Great Lakes states have active Coastal Zone Management Act programs working on state-specific coastal issues. In addition, two national estuarine research reserves protect a combined 17,270 acres. The reserves are located on Lake Superior and Lake Erie.6