A recent University of Michigan study found each federal dollar the United States government spends on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative leads to an extra $3.35 of economic activity in the region. These results are conclusive through the year 2036.
The GLRI was launched in 2010 and Congress has funded over $2.5 billion worth of projects to improve the region’s environmental concerns. The economic benefits were not initially intended to be part of the initiative, but through the GLRI, approximately 1,700 new jobs in tourism have been created or supported.
John Linc Stine, chair of the Great Lakes Commission, said in a Water Canada article these results leave a positive legacy for the area.
“This study describes what we already know in facts and figures: Cleaning up legacy pollution and restoring aquatic habitat on the Great Lakes isn’t only good for the environment, it creates jobs and fuels the regional economy,” Linc Stine said. “It’s a positive legacy that states and our partner organizations can leave for future generations. The Great Lakes states are ready and excited to continue this critical work until the job is finished.”
The study also found the federal dollars increased quality of life throughout coastal areas. Housing values improved by $1.08 per home, an overall increase of $900 million. GLRI was also found to increase new real estate development, water-based recreation, tourism and a permanent young population.