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Great Lakes


Click on this image to explore a few of our 500 priority conservation sites in the Great Lakes region.

A Guide to the Great Lakes Project
Working Together to Protect, Restore and Maintain the World’s Largest Freshwater System

Covering more than 94,000 square miles, the Great Lakes hold one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater and provide drinking water to one in four Canadians and one in 10 Americans. Since European settlement, we have depended on this resource for economic prosperity, food and water. But over time, this dependence has distressed the health of the world’s largest freshwater system.

The Great Lakes are our great providers, offering unlimited outdoor recreation, harboring our native wildlife, driving our economic engine and supplying drinking water for 40 million people. Over the last 50 years, The Nature Conservancy has worked with people of the Great Lakes region to protect more than 1 million acres along with thousands of inland lankes 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. To address these threats, we’ve collaborated across eight states and Canada to create the Great Lakes Project. Together, we’re harnessing our collective expertise to protect the entire Great Lakes system.

The Great Lakes Project is focused on protection and restoration of the most critical natural systems within the Great Lakes region: watersheds, northern forests, coastal and nearshore areas, and native fisheries. We are also combating two overarching threats: aquatic invasive species and climate change.

Through the Great Lakes Project, The Nature Conservancy strives to restore and maintain a system that can continue to support the needs of people while sustaining a wide diversity of plant and animal life. Explore the Great Lakes to see what we’re doing in and around the Great Lakes.

We need your help now to ensure our imperiled Great Lakes region continues to provide vital wildlife habitat and countless benefits for people both today and for future generations.

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