Great Lakes

A globally significant ecosystem with more than 10,000 miles of shoreline.

Holding 20 percent of the world’s fresh water within more than 10,000 miles of shoreline, the Great Lakes are a globally significant ecosystem. Millions of migratory birds depend on coastal habitats along the Great Lakes for shelter, rest, and nourishment for their long journeys. Thousands of raptors, waterfowl, and wetland birds rely on the Great Lakes systems for safe nesting grounds. Yet, coastal development, climate change, and destructive invasive species threaten the coastal systems that support this great range of bird species – from the little Piping Plover to the magnificent Bald Eagle.

Audubon is creating a cohesive strategy across the region to address these threats to the birds of the Great Lakes. With more than 3,000 miles of shoreline in Michigan alone, the greatest conservation opportunity is the active restoration and protection of coastal habitats. By analyzing historical data, modeling bird populations, and engaging our chapters and members, Audubon will map out a detailed plan for how to best conserve indispensable coastal areas. Focused restoration and habitat management is essential to protect and recover ecological systems that support bird species. Active stewardship of habitats by Great Lakes Audubon chapters will play a key role in sustaining the health of these areas over time.

To learn more, please visit Audubon Great Lakes

Audubon's Vision: Restoring the Great Lakes for Birds and People

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.

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.

Our Work in the Great Lakes


Audubon Announces Plan to Restore the Great Lakes for Birds and People

Largest freshwater coastal wetland restoration effort to stabilize declining bird populations and improve water quality

Meet Three Audubon Advocates Who Are Helping to Protect Birds in the Great Lakes Region

Learn How You Can Be a Voice for Great Lakes Birds

Audubon Great Lakes Launches Marsh Bird Data Hub for Marsh Restoration in the Calumet Region

New interactive data tool helps inform restoration efforts benefiting birds and people

Which Great Lakes Wetlands Do Birds Need Most? Audubon Scientists Find Out

The research on identifying critical Great Lakes coastal wetlands will help put conservation efforts where they’re most needed.

Audubon Great Lakes Celebrates Signing of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act

Bipartisan-backed legislation ensures the continued restoration and protection of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem

Monitoring Secretive Marsh Birds in the Great Lakes Region

Audubon Great Lakes is Seeking Marsh Bird Survey Volunteers in Michigan and Indiana