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Phase II of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Economic Impact Study Underway

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation approved a grant to support the second phase of the GLRI Economic Impact Study. The study, which began in June 2017, aims to quantify the economic impacts of U.S. federal investments under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from 2010 through 2016. The first phase concluded in October 2017, and provided a preliminary, “rough cut” estimate of the economic impact of the GLRI using immediately available data and research tools. The second phase will expand on the Phase I results and yield a more comprehensive estimate of the economic impact of GLRI investments.

Metrics generated during the second phase will include key economic indicators, such as the amount of additional, region-wide economic activity that has been triggered by GLRI project spending and the growth in regional tourism generated by the GLRI. An enhanced house price analysis will provide an estimate of the GLRI’s impact on improved quality of life. The economic impact of the GLRI will be quantified not only for the historic spending period (2010 through 2016), but also projected across future years, and the work will include place-based case study narratives to illustrate economic impacts in specific communities.

A Core Project Team led by the Great Lakes Commission and the Council of Great Lakes Industries is coordinating and overseeing the project. In addition to the GLC and CGLI, the team includes a diverse coalition of regional organizations, including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, and the University of Michigan’s Water Center.

An Expert Panel has been established to provide additional technical expertise to the project team. The panel is comprised of economists and other experts from outside the Great Lakes region that are identifying relevant resources and data; developing, reviewing, and refining the analytical methodologies; and reviewing and critiquing project findings. An independent Advisory Panel is identifying policy implications from the research and assisting in communication and outreach. The Advisory Group consists of business professionals, community leaders, and regional policymakers. Final outcomes of the project are expected in September 2018.