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Our Work

The Great Lakes Regional Center (GLRC) of the National Wildlife Federation works on critical national and regional water resource issues with a particular focus on protecting and restoring our Great Lakes. Protecting the Great Lakes also means protecting the health and quality of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the Great Lakes basin, as well as the human communities that depend upon them.

Restoring the Great Lakes

The National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center is the nation's leader in efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes. A staple of this work lies within the Healing Our Waters (HOW) - Great Lakes Coalition, an effort co-led by the National Wildlife Federation and the National Parks Conservation Association. The coalition is the gathering point for over 145 Great Lakes organizations and leaders, and catalyzes the critical conversations about the future of the region. The most successful conservation coalition of our time, the HOW Coalition has secured over $3 billion of federal funding for the implementation of a comprehensive restoration plan for the Great Lakes. The coalition's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has supported over 3,500 restoration projects that are healing the lakes and revitalizing local economies across the Great Lakes basin.

Protecting Water Resources

We are leading the fight to stop invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes and preventing new invaders that hitchhike in ships’ ballast water. Our efforts on the Great Lakes Compact continue to ensure that enough water is flowing in streams for salmon and steelhead to run and fish to thrive in the Great Lakes. The National Wildlife Federation is a leader in addressing the adverse impacts of sulfide mining in places like the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, and possible oil spills in the Great Lakes from Enbridge's Line 5. We're also fostering partnerships to increase efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms from damaging our Great Lakes, and working to reduce toxic chemical threats to fish and wildlife.

Protecting Wildlife and Habitat

As the National Wildlife Federation, wildlife and wildlife-specific work is woven through all that we do. We work to increase the health and resiliency of human and ecological communities in the Great Lakes region.  We accomplish this by creating and supporting community-based projects and programs and by working with our affiliates and partners at the state, regional, and national level to advance conservation-based policies and programs for wildlife and their habitats, and the public lands essential for people to access and interact with them. We utilize National Wildlife Federation programs such as Garden for Wildlife, Community Wildlife Habitat, Eco-Schools USA, and the collaborative Monarch Recovery Networks as the foundations for our habitat and education work.

Advocating for Climate Resilience

Our climate work expands upon our significant work of building public understanding, recruiting allies, and power-building in support of climate mitigation policies across the region, from national climate action and methane campaigns to state affiliate climate efforts. We are engaged in clean energy policy at all levels and seek to re-engage the RE-AMP Network.  We work on urban, rural, regional, and national climate resiliency projects—especially those relating to green infrastructure—to yield broad and significant co-benefits, leveraging unique National Wildlife Federation programs such as Garden for Wildlife, Sacred Grounds, Eco-Schools USA, and our national urban initiatives.

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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