MICHIGAN - Michigan’s coastal and inland waters are the backbone of many communities in the Great Lakes State; they sustain us with drinking water, recreation, tourism, jobs, transportation and community character.

To better understand and communicate the economic value of work to restore Michigan's waters, the Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) has awarded two grants totaling $199,960 to two research teams to complete the first phase of the development of an evaluation tool focusing on recovery work completed at sites known as Areas of Concern (AOC). These are waters impacted by historic pollution.

The project will help the OGL prioritize proposed AOC restoration projects in a way that accounts for the social, ecological, economic and cultural significance of water. It will also provide data to communicate the economic value of restoration to communities and policymakers.

The project teams, selected through a competitive process, are from Michigan State University, led by Drs. Steven Miller and Pouyan Nejadhashemi, and Earth Economics of Tacoma, Washington led by Angela Fletcher. The first phase of the project, awarded in this grant, is to design the evaluation tool. The second phase will be to develop the tool.

Restoring our waters: The Michigan Areas of Concern Program

The Michigan ‘Areas of Concern Program’ is a collaboration of federal, state, and community partners that restores sites in the Great Lakes region with environmental damage. Two sites in Michigan have been fully restored, and twelve are in various stages of restoration. Activities include habitat restoration, removal of contaminated material, and green infrastructure installation.

The Office of the Great Lakes works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.