Millions of dollars are annually invested into coastal wetlands projects across the Great Lakes Basin. Explore this page to learn about the different types of coastal wetlands projects that have been funded.

Funding and number of projects by project type

Project TypeFunding Amount (USD $)Number of Projects
Combined$58,837,735 55
Protection$29,164,756 44
Restoration$28,888,910 37
Invasives Control$15,787,107 40
Hydrologic Restoration$12,210,117 21
Enhancement$10,165,929 28

Table and Graph updated March 2020

Funding for coastal wetlands typically is awarded to recipients who are either planning or already in the midst of executing a project that will Protect, Restore, or Enhance Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. 

Protection refers to any acquisition of land that protects coastal wetlands.

Restoration refers to any project that restores a former wetland (for example, a drained agricultural field) back to a functioning wetland.   Hydrologic Restoration is a sub-category for Restoration.

Enhancement refers to any project that increases ecosystem function within an existing wetland. Invasives Control is a sub-category for Enhancement.

Explore the investments map to learn more about an individual project or the project types common to a geographical area.

Project TypeFunding Amount ( USD $M)Number of Projects
Combined58.8455
Protection29.1644
Restoration28.8937
Invasives Control15.7940
Hydrologic Restoration12.2121
Enhancement10.1728

Investment projects FAQs

'Combined' was used as our term to represent projects that included more than one of the other categories in the same project.  For example, a project that both protected and restored the same wetland area would be included under 'Combined'.  Acreage for each category either could not be or was not separated for these projects.

Protection will refer to any projects on Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands that acquire property or establish legal protections for a coastal wetland area with the intent of preserving it for the future as a coastal wetland.

Restoration applies to projects in which a non-wetland area (a former wetland) is restored to once again be a coastal wetland.

Any actions within an existing coastal wetland, that increase its ecological functions, are considered enhancement. For example, removal of invasive plants.

In some cases, Hydrologic Restoration is considered both enhancement and restoration.

Shoreline softenening generally refers to restoring a natural shoreline, particularly as a nature-based solution to shoreline protection.  The alternative or 'hard' shoreline would be structures such as, for example, seawalls or levees.  Some Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands projects fall into this category, for example, rubble ridges to reduce wave heights.

Monitoring, Education, Assessment, and Planning projects are omitted from the Blue Accounting coastal wetland database. In addition, wetlands projects that lack a hydrologic connection to the Great Lakes are removed.

Although a large percentage of this project data came from the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funded Coastal Wetland Projects Fiscal Year 2010-2017 web map, projects that did not meet the criteria of being specifically a Protection, Restoration or Enhancement project on coastal wetlands were removed from the GLRI dataset provided by the EPA.  In those years, 68 projects were omitted from the dataset.