Great Lakes Region Ecosystem-Based Management Activities


The Great Lakes stretch from Duluth, Minnesota in the west, to easternmost point of Watertown, New York. the Great Lakes span about one thousand miles across the United States and Canada.  The shoreline totals 9,000 miles—longer than the U.S. East and Gulf coasts combined.  The Great Lakes constitute the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world.  The basin is home to 3,500 species of plants and animals, including Canada Lynx, Gray Wolves, and Bald Eagles, and over 170 species of fish. These flora and fauna not only contribute to the environmental integrity, resilience, and character of the region; they also support impressive Great Lakes tourism and recreation industries.


Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

The NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) is one of seven federal research laboratories in the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research line office of NOAA. Designated on April 25, 1974, GLERL was established to provide a focus for NOAA’s environmental and ecosystem research in the Great Lakes and coastal marine environments Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. GLERL and its partners conduct innovative research on the dynamic environments and ecosystems of the Great Lakes to provide information for resource use and management decisions that lead to safe and sustainable ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human communities.

GLERL Website

NOAA Habitat Blue Print Focus Areas

The Habitat Focus Areas under NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint are areas identified by regional experts and intended to increase the effectiveness of NOAA’s habitat conservation science and management efforts by addressing multiple habitat conservation objectives on a watershed scale. NOAA, our partners, and local communities are engaged in multiple projects on the ground in these areas. NOAA’s investment is part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, recover threatened and endangered species, and support resilient coastal communities nationwide.

Muskegon Lake

Muskegon Lake is a large inland coastal lake located on the west shoreline of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and connected to Lake Michigan by a deep-draft navigation channel. It provides important nursery habitat for Chinook salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch and threatened native species, such as the lake sturgeon. The lake has experienced extensive shoreline filling and sediment contamination that have degraded habitat and water quality. Further, high levels of pollutants entering the lake have resulted in algal blooms, reduced oxygen levels, contaminated sediments, and reduced fish and wildlife habitat. NOAA is currently working with partners and the local community to fund restoration projects and conduct studies on lake habitat, water quality, and other topics.

St. Louis River Estuary

The St. Louis River estuary runs along the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin and is home to the country’s busiest and largest bulk inland port. The area is also a major tourism and recreational draw. Discharges of toxic substances have led to high concentrations of contaminants in the sediments, water column, plants and wildlife. Pollution continues to accrue from contaminated sediments, abandoned hazardous waste sites, airborne deposition, industrial discharges, chemical spills, improperly sewered wastes, and surface runoff. NOAA is currently working with partners and the local community to remove marine debris and restore wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat following remediation of contaminated sediments.

This represents a sample of the NOAA programs employing EBM in the Great Lakes region, it is not comprehensive. If there are programs you feel should be included please contact us.