Habitat Restoration through NOAA Restoration Center

With the support of the GLRI, NOAA’s Restoration Center has been able to support multiple habitat restoration projects in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs) and other targeted areas that improve fish and wildlife habitat and populations. NOAA’s Restoration Center provides expertise to inform restoration planning, design, and implementation. It helps conduct on-the-ground restoration work and assists with project evaluation to inform future restoration efforts. Habitat restoration projects are implemented through two methods: an annual competition and through established multi-year regional habitat partnerships. Restoration project types include fish passage, marine debris removal, hydrologic reconnection, in-stream and nearshore habitat improvements, and invasive species removal.

Partners in these restoration efforts—including nonprofits, local governments, and state agencies—will work with us to bring years of restoration experience and planning to reality in exciting new restoration projects. These projects will provide multiple benefits to the environment and communities by:

  • Improving the quality of our water by restoring coastal wetlands.
  • Providing recreational opportunities for the public’s use and enjoyment.
  • Increasing the resilience of Great Lakes communities.

New products

NOAA and partners completed a project to restore fast-flowing rapids on the St. Marys River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. See web story. The work has helped increase the number of juvenile fish in the area, according to a recent study published in the journal Restoration Ecology. offsite link

Habitat Restoration in the Great Lakes: By the Numbers: Check out these key numbers that help illustrate the scope of NOAA’s habitat restoration work in the region through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

GLRI Story Map offsite link: Since 2010, NOAA has worked through the GLRI to restore habitat across the Great Lakes region. NOAA projects have improved fish passage, cleaned up contaminated debris, restored coastal wetlands, and removed invasive species. Take a virtual tour of some of these major restoration projects from across the region, from the Buffalo River in New York to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

FY2023 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • The Great Lakes Fishery Commission and partners will work with NOAA to carry out projects identified as environmental priorities for the Lake Committees throughout the Great Lakes. ($2,433,618)
    • Genesee County, Michigan, will remove the Hamilton Dam on the Flint River, opening nearly 25 miles to fish passage. ($415,752)
FY2022 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • The Muskegon County Drain Commissioner will conduct feasibility studies and develop designs to reconnect two shallow water lakes to Black Creek, Mona Lake, and ultimately Lake Michigan. ($471,674)

    • The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians will restore a section of the Dowagiac River contained within tribal properties to benefit native fish species. ($663,650)

    • The Great Lakes Fishery Commission and partners will work with NOAA to carry out projects identified as priorities for the Lake Committees throughout all five Great Lakes. ($2,172,457)

    • The Great Lakes Commission will also continue to partner with NOAA on an ongoing effort to remove hardened shoreline and enhance Lake Erie coastal marsh at the Lake Erie Metropark. ($440,801)

    • Friends of the Detroit River and several additional organizations will partner with the NOAA Restoration Center and NOAA Heritage Program to develop an outreach project that highlights historic fish habitat loss and fish habitat restoration projects on Belle Isle in the Detroit River. ($12,000)

FY2021 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • The FY21 funding will be used to fund future phases of the 2019 regional partnerships through engineering and design and construction, as appropriate. Regional partners include the Great Lakes Commission, Ducks Unlimited, Friends of the Detroit River, and West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission. ($2,500,000)
FY2020 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • Ducks Unlimited will partner with NOAA to restore wetlands in priority areas throughout the Great Lakes. The first year of the partnership will support ongoing work to restore Howard Marsh, which NOAA and partners have collaborated on since 2013. ($4,022,639)
    • Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Council will continue work to remove several fish passage barriers in northern lower Michigan identified as high-priority for restoration. The projects will collectively address one of the most significant issues threatening Great Lakes fisheries: habitat fragmentation in coldwater river systems. ($734,968)
    • Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will continue work on the large-scale project to restore Kids Creek in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed. This project will help restore natural stream function to the creek by replacing three undersized culverts that are restricting fish passage. ($1,540,946)
FY2019 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • Huron Pines and partners will remove several high-priority barriers to fish migration across the northern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. With this funding, Huron Pines will develop plans to reconnect over 50 stream miles by removing three fish passage barriers, restoring habitat for native brook trout and many other species within the Thunder Bay River watershed, one of Michigan’s highest-quality coldwater river systems. ($94,693)
FY2018 Projects
  • See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern

    • Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Council will remove high-priority fish passage barriers in the northern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. In the first year, project partners will replace two barriers with better performing structures to reconnect 23 miles of coldwater habitat for brook trout and other native species. ($500,000)
    • Ducks Unlimited will reconnect more than 200 acres of coastal wetland habitat at the confluence of the Portage and Little Portage rivers in Ohio, which lead to Lake Erie. The current infrastructure there is causing habitat conditions to decline significantly, impacting fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities, and will be replaced. ($149,924)
    • Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative will complete engineering and design of a habitat restoration project on Kids Creek in the northwestern area of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. When complete, this project will replace culverts acting as barriers to water flow and fish migration, and improve habitat in and along the creek for fish and invertebrates. ($167,313)
    • Ducks Unlimited will continue coastal wetland and fish passage restoration projects in two areas of Ohio. The Toussaint Wildlife Area will see the third and final phase of a project to replace water infrastructure which negatively impacts how wetlands function. Additionally, Ducks Unlimited will develop engineering and design plans for a second phase of restoration at Howard Marsh Metropark, including the design of an additional 210 acres of coastal wetlands and 25 acres of upland forest. ($939,780)


See also: Habitat Restoration in Areas of Concern