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Great Lakes


Conservation Policy

Land and water policy in the U.S. is made up of complex rules, laws and agencies, which have developed over the last two hundred years, but do not completely reflect the way or scale that natural systems function. For example, rivers and watersheds are sometimes not limited to one area and can have impacts across many communities and states. Sometimes it can be difficult to successfully protect these lands and water due to limits from governmental boundaries. 

The Great Lakes Project is developing approaches, tools and demonstrations, using experts’ knowledge of systems and achieving conservation outcomes at a scale that meets the needs of people and nature. It will inform decision-making and policy and help us improve land and water management in the Great Lakes and beyond.

The Nature Conservancy believes in the importance of developing a long-range natural resources investment, management, and economic strategy that must:

  • Result in a long-lasting benefit for Great Lakes residents’ quality of life
  • Deliver economic and environmental benefits, contributing to the economic recovery and sustainability of the Great Lakes Region
  • Influence other financial resources, both public and private, while increasing regional cooperation

Guided by these principles, the Great Lakes Project is working with public and private partners to demonstrate what these principles look like through projects and demonstrations. These projects will strengthen our already long history of engagement in providing input to shape and strengthen important policy governing the Great Lakes today.

Examples of our efforts to strengthen existing policies include:

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