Mission: The mission of the Alliance for the Great Lakes is to: "conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife."
Geographic areas served: Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois the Alliance works regionally to protect and restore the Great Lakes, which border Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania. The Alliance has staff in Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin, and on-the-ground volunteer programs in all of the states except Pennsylvania. This work benefits all 40 million residents of the Great Lakes region through both improved water quality, and cleaner and safer beaches.
Programs: Protection and prevention: the alliance champions and enforces existing policies, seeks out places where policy and practice are failing to protect the lakes, and advocates for the prevention of irreversible and chronic damage. The alliance focuses on protecting our water from such threats as nutrient pollution, crude oil transportation, and plastic debris. It works to ensure that our clean drinking water stays in our lakes by strengthening the integrity of the great lakes compact, and to keep asian carp and other invasive species out of our lakes by preventing movement via the chicago waterway system and the ballast tanks of cargo vessels.
culture of clean water: our environmental and economic future depends on a vibrant appreciation of water that builds consideration of our great lakes into every significant governance decision at the federal, state, local and corporate level. This means that individuals in the great lakes region must hold an intrinsic value for water. The alliance builds community appreciation for clean water and the great lakes by leading restoration and cleanup projects with more than 15,000 individual volunteers, engaging 9,000 new youth with great lakes curriculum and stewardship, and creating the diverse, focused community partnerships necessary to support on-the-ground improvements along all five of the great lakes.
building resilience: great lakes coastal communities are at the critical junction where land and water meet, and climate change is putting these communities and the water investments they make at risk. Municipal officials often lack the tools and support to include climate-adaptive planning in the development of restoration and land management plans. At the same time, local citizens may not be well engaged on the risks that climate change poses to their communities. The alliance's planning-to-implementation model brings community stakeholders together to identify shared goals, decide on a course of action, pool resources, and ultimately achieve effective landscape scale successes while building community support for the great lakes.