Giving to the Great Lakes

Helping the World’s Largest Freshwater System

Thousands of people have given to The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project.


Explore an interactive map of our Great Lakes

Incredible By Any Measure… the Great Lakes

Watch an extraordinary video featuring beautiful scenery and expert interviews from around the Great Lakes.


The Great Lakes are our great providers, and through supporting The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project, you can help ensure they overcome mounting threats and continue to offer unlimited outdoor recreation, harbor our native wildlife, drive our economic engines and supply drinking water for some 40 million people.

Thousands of people like you have supported The Nature Conservancy’s conservation work to protect, restore and maintain this global freshwater treasure, and hundreds of them are listed in a new document, Giving to the Great Lakes (click to download the pdf). This special publication tells the stories behind our strategies in six priority areas:

These strategies comprise the vision, plan and conservation work on-the-ground and in-the-water for the Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project – an eight-state and international collaboration that looks at the natural places in your communities and how to sustain them. Our science-based approach focuses on prioritizing the most critical natural systems within the region for conservation action.

Over the past 50 years, the Conservancy has worked with people of the Great Lakes region to protect more than 1 million acres of land, thousands of inland lakes and hundreds of river miles.

Despite significant progress protecting important lands and waters, we face mounting challenges that threaten the integrity of the Great Lakes. Aquatic invasive species like Asian carp and invasives on land like Phragmites threaten to change the composition of vital habitat needed for a healthy and functioning ecosystem. Loss of habitat, deforestation and fragmentation continues to threaten native wildlife on land while diminished water quality and decreased water flow has led to major threats such as algal blooms and loss of connectivity for spawning fish.

To address these threats, the Conservancy is harnessing our collective expertise to protect entire systems and ensure we are meeting the needs of nature and people.

From working with farmers in the western Lake Erie basin to collaborating with partners to restore reefs in Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, conservationists and scientists carefully craft a customized prescription for precision conservation at these and other priority places.

“We need to find ways to have healthy economic activity intersect with a healthy environment,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, and a trustee for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “The Nature Conservancy has begun to bring its science to bear on what it really means to protect the Great Lakes and is beginning to put together a practical, broad plan of action to make that happen.”

Join supporters like Gerry by donating today to The Nature Conservancy. We need your help now to ensure our imperiled Great Lakes region continues to provide vital wildlife habitat and countless benefits for people today, and for future generations.


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