Audubon and the Great Lakes

American Eels

Audubon History with the Great Lakes

Audubon has a long tradition of involvement in promoting Great Lakes restoration, including working to enact the original Clean Water Act, forming coalitions such as Great Lakes United in 1982, developing international water quality agreements between the United States and Canada, as well as establishing regional agreements between the states and provinces including the Great Lakes Toxic Substance Control Agreement and the Great Lakes Charter. Audubon's Chapters and State programs have played an active role in water quality and habitat issues at the local level.

Audubon Priorities

Habitat Degradation and Loss Encroaching development, dams, changed hydrology, and resulting fragmentation of habitat contiguous to protected parcels impose continual pressure. Development of areas adjoining the parks that contain some of the most important habitat would destroy the continuity of the forests and old-field areas. The Chagrin River IBA is threatened by the continued expansion of the Cleveland population along the corridor.

Invasive Species Invasive species, including common reed (phragmites), threaten numerous IBAs within the Lake Erie watershed. Phragmites within the Mentor Marsh complex of the Grand River IBA is threatening the ecology of the area.

The White-tailed Deer population is increasing at critical sites posing threats to the native understory vegetation with resultant threats to the breeding bird populations. Agencies within the Chagrin River IBA have instituted deer control measures.


More than five years in the making, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 -- which authorizes billions in funding to restore ecosystems -- became law after Congress overrode President Bush's veto by a staggering margin. A longtime Audubon priority, the bill provides unprecedented ecosystem restoration funding authority in areas including the Great Lakes. Most significantly, WRDA includes a provision for the completion and operation of electric barriers to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from reaching the Great Lakes. The Asian carp poses a grave threat to the Great Lakes food chain.

Funding & Appropriations

Funding for the Great Lakes comes from many different federal, state, and local sources. Adequate funding for various Great Lakes programs is necessary to sustain the Great Lakes restoration effort and is one of Audubon's most important priorities.