Great Lakes Restoration

We protect the largest bodies of fresh water in North America.

Pied-billed Grebe with chick. Photo: Peggy Coleman/Audubon Photography Awards

Securing a bright future for the birds and people of the Great Lakes region has never been more important. As the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet, the Great Lakes provide clean drinking water to 40 million people and serve as a global resource to millions of birds. Audubon’s vision for the Great Lakes will ensure that the waters and lands of this iconic ecosystem remain healthy for communities of birds and people that rely on them for survival. 

The loss of and degradation of our coastal habitats from urban and agricultural development, invasive species and a changing climate pose the greatest threats to Great Lakes birds. A recent study found that North America has lost more than a quarter of its bird population in the last 50 years. The time to act is now. Audubon has developed a cohesive strategy: Audubon’s Vision: Restoring the Great Lakes for Birds and People to engage communities across the region to address these threats.

With more than 10,000 miles of shoreline, Audubon has identified twelve nearshore watersheds of the Great Lakes that most need our help. The projects and programs highlighted in this report are critical to helping the region recover from current threats and will directly benefit key bird species that have seen dramatic declines, while setting the region on a path to long-term environmental health and resilience.

Birds in the Great Lakes



Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.