Council of Great Lakes Industries on TwitterCouncil of Great Lakes Industries on LinkedIn

Determining the Economic Impact of Protecting and Restoring the Great Lakes

In 2007, a report published by the Brookings Institution estimated the potential economic impact of implementing a comprehensive Great Lakes protection and restoration strategy – direct economic benefits for the region totaling at least $50 billion and a 2-to-1 return on a $26 billion investment. Ten years later, more than $2.2 billion has been invested in the lakes through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and more than 3,500 projects have been completed or are in progress. However, there is no data currently available to answer the basic question of how these investments have impacted the Great Lakes regional economy and quality of life.

Phase I of this project was initiated in summer of 2017 to begin to assess the economic impact of the GLRI to enable better communications about how protecting and restoring the natural environment is generating economic benefits for communities across the region. A second phase of the project will begin in March 2018 to expand on the Phase I results and yield a more comprehensive estimate of the economic impact of GLRI investments. Phase II of this project will include an economic modeling component and case studies that provide context, narrative, and “relatability” to complement the results of the economic modeling.

A Core Project Team led by CGLI and the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is coordinating and overseeing the project. The Core Project 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, and the University of Michigan’s Water Center. More information is provided in the project summary. The project will be completed in September 2018.