Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Lake Erie is a precious resource for Ohioans. It provides us with a seemingly endless supply of our most fundamental need – water. 

Envisioned Improvements

The waters of Lake Erie have drawn people to Ohio as a recreational retreat, source of drinking water, mode of transit and shipping, and basis of livelihood.   The State of Ohio and local entities have developed strategic plans for the recovery of Lake Erie and its tributaries, including local waterfront plans, Watershed Action PlansWatershed Balanced Growth Plans, habitat and species recovery plans, the Lake Erie LaMPRemedial Action Plans, and the Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Plan.  These plans collectively describe the path for the recovery of Lake Erie.

Beacon of Recovery
Lake Erie has been a model of ecosystem recovery. With a share in over $1 billion in basin-wide Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, Ohio can continue to participate in the restoration of Lake Erie. Ohio’s GLRI funded projects will remove barriers to fish spawning areas, restore beneficial uses in Ohio’s 4 Areas of Concern, reduce harmful algal blooms, make beaches safer, protect critical habitats, reduce contamination from traditional non-point sources, address emerging contaminants of concern, and track measureable goals through some of the country's best monitoring programs.

Great Expectations
With the help of GLRI funding, the balance between use and preservation of Lake Erie’s coastal resources will be achieved.  The Brookings Institution has estimated that implementing the Great Lakes restoration strategy in full will generate $50 billion in long-term benefits, creating jobs, revitalizing our regional economy and improving our quality of life.

Getting Involved
Citizens, communities, watershed groups, universities, and many other organizations across Ohio's Lake Erie watershed can take part in the restoration of our Great Lake!  Whether you want to apply for funding, volunteer to help in your community, or just learn about the work others are doing, there are many ways to get involved. 

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission's GLRI Projects

Assessment of Nutrient/Eutrophication Dynamics in Western Lake Erie
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission, in partnership with four Ohio universities and LimnoTech, Inc., has received funding for algae and phosphorus related components of the Coordinated Science and Monitoring Initiative.  This research project,in coordination with USEPA's intensive year of research on Lake Erie in 2014, provided sample collection, analysis, and modelling activity to better inform management and policy actions to reduce harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie.

Specifically, this GLRI project: tracked the movement of various forms of phosphorus (e.g., soluble, particulate) and nitrogen in the Western Lake Erie Basin; assessed nutrient sources (by type and location) that contribute to formation of harmful algal blooms in the Western Lake Erie Basin, and examined the extent to which phosphorus loading in the Western Lake Erie Basin contributes to low oxygen levels (hypoxia) in the Central Lake Erie Basin.

The project was completed May, 2016. See the CSMI Executive Summary for results.

See the CSMI Project Page for more information

Lake Erie Synthesis Team
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission, in partnership with the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, has received funding for a project called the Lake Erie Synthesis Team. This project will summarize and synthesize results from all Lake Erie GLRI projects in order to better inform managers of cutting edge research results and give researchers better insight into management needs.

See the Lake Erie Synthesis Team page for more information on this project.


Toledo Harbor Sediment Management and Reuse Plan
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission, in partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and Hull & Associates, has received funding for the Toledo Harbor Sediment Management and Reuse Plan.  This planning project, guided by the Toledo Harbor Task Force, includes short and long term options to eliminate open water disposal, restore aquatic and upland habitat, and provide alternatives for the reuse of dredged material. This project is complete, but follow up activities to pilot test alternatives are continuing.

Learn more by visiting the Toledo Harbor page


Project Lists

USEPA's list of projects 2010-present can be found on this page.

Ohio's GLRI Funded Projects - 2013-12-12 Summary Sheet includes 2010 through 2012 projects (pdf)

Ohio's GLRI Funded Projects - 2011-12-12 Fact Sheet includes 2010 and 2011 projects (pdf)

Great Lakes Commission Fact Sheet - Ohio: Great Lakes Restoration at Work 2013 includes 2010 through 2012 projects and also federal projects (pdf)

Great Lakes Commission Fact Sheet - Ohio: Great Lakes Restoration at Work 2014 includes 2013 projects (pdf)

Great Lakes Commission Fact Sheet - Ohio: Great Lakes Restoration at Work 2015 includes 2014 projects (pdf)

Great Lakes Commission Fact Sheet - Ohio: Great Lakes Restoration at Work 2016 includes 2015 projects (pdf)

Great Lakes Restoration - Habitat Projects is an online mapping tool that dynamically displays the locations and information about habitat restoration projects. Produced by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Great Lakes Commission.

NOAA has produced a fact sheet on the benefits of habitat restoration to fish communities. Information on the economic benefits of habitat restoration can be found at NOAA’s Restoration Jobs Portal or by watching the short video Habitat Restoration: An Economic Engine.

If you would like to provide feedback on Ohio's projects, please contact the Ohio Lake Erie Commission by email.
Track Projects in Your Community

Want to know more about what projects are happening and where they are located?

A list of interactive mapping sites is available on the Synthesis Team Mapping page.

To go to the projects' own web sites, see the Synthesis Team Project Links Page.