The Lake Huron Forever initiative was developed in 2019 by shoreline community foundations and conservation partners from the United States and Canada to advance water quality protection and healthy, sustainable communities on both sides of the lake. The Lake Huron Forever initiative aims to support community conversation and collaboration in the design and implementation of on-the-ground work to strengthen the health and well-being of residents, as well as natural resources.
Protecting water quality, ensuring the diversity of plant and animal life and supporting communities across the region means committing to the long-term protection of Lake Huron. In the coming years, we strive to engage communities and activate collaboration and partnerships to sustain a healthy Lake Huron through the Lake Huron Forever initiative.
Now is the time to take action. Forever starts today.
Lake Huron Team
The Lake Huron Forever Steering Committee is comprised of partners from the United States and Canada.
- Bay Area Community Foundation (Bay City, MI)
- Community Foundation Grey Bruce (Owen Sound, Ontario)
- Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (Alpena, MI)
- Grey Bruce Sustainability Network
- Huron Pines
- Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
- The Conservation Fund-Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network
- Lake Huron Coastal Centre
The Lake Huron team also recognizes, through its consultation, the traditional stewardship of these waters by Canada’s First Nations and Indigenous knowledge in the formation of nature-based solutions for stormwater management.
Engage. Activate. Sustain.
Engage: Initiate dialogues in communities about the resources each community needs to take action. By taking inventory of existing programs and partners and assessing current municipal conservation practices, Lake Huron communities will have the initial information they need to start taking steps toward Great Lakes protection. The goal of this stage is to facilitate increased access to knowledge, resources and technical experts to help communities establish a plan of action with prioritized solutions.
Activate: Connect communities to resources and deepen understanding through learning opportunities. By supporting the activation of tailored learning opportunities that can be delivered to community leaders, Lake Huron communities will share expertise and access to water quality, land protection and stewardship resources that will, in turn, allow for prioritizing and implementing solutions. Through broad outreach and customized solutions, each community can be activated to protect the health of Lake Huron with solutions to meet their unique needs.
Sustain: Ensure long-term protection of the Great Lakes through sustained action. Increasing the readiness of Lake Huron communities to collaborate on and implement land protection and clean water action is one step toward sustainable water quality for Lake Huron. To further ensure long-term protections of the Great Lakes and to support increased community readiness, local, state, provincial, federal and basin-wide funders will need to prioritize Lake Huron’s communities and water quality in their funding decisions.
Example Areas of Focus
Protect wild places to keep natural habitats intact, support natural filtration systems and limit coastal development. More natural landscapes can reduce flooding and pollution in lakes and streams that drain into Lake Huron.
Protecting water quality for people and wildlife ensures that it’s safe for drinking and recreation. Assess and manage pollution and flooding caused by excess stormwater runoff. Understand existing stormwater management and water quality protection programs and partners and assess current municipal green and grey infrastructure best management practices.
The Lake Huron Forever initiative focuses on the intersection between communities and the environment, or people and place. With that in mind, projects that protect Lake Huron also focus on improving and protecting human and public health. We sustain a healthy Lake Huron so our people can be healthy by working with communities to balance access to natural spaces, recreation opportunities and quality of life benefits with long-term stewardship and protection planning.
Peer-to-peer learning can be used to raise awareness for the challenges and values Lake Huron communities face. Communities can improve and adapt programs and management strategies based on shared learning from their peers.
The Great Lakes are vital to the ecological, economic and social well-being of the people, places and wildlife that make up the Great Lakes Region. Combined, the Great Lakes contain one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water, by volume. They are a non-renewable resource with over 3,000 miles of shoreline that is home to varied and unique vistas, rare landforms, recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat. The Great Lakes region includes eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, generating 1.3 million jobs as well as $82 billion in wages annually. With an abundance of natural resources, visitors and residents find a deep connection to place along the shorelines, in the forests and on the many flowing rivers and streams that define the Great Lakes Region. (Sources: EGLE CMP Program, Michigan Sea Grant Great Lakes and the Economy)
With the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron supports unique and imperiled ecosystems with an abundance of rare plant and animal species that exist nowhere else on Earth. With forested woodlands, dune and swale formations, karst geology and more islands. than all the other Great Lakes combined (30,000+), the Lake Huron Basin creates the perfect backdrop for biodiversity.
The Lake Huron shoreline is home to the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly and Michigan’s rare state wildflower the dwarf lake iris. The northern shores of Lake Huron are among the most important migratory bird pathways in North America. Rich with food sources, Lake Huron’s coastal wetlands provide ideal stopover sites for migrating birds in need of sustenance. The dense white cedar swamps provide ideal cover for songbirds while the marshes and swales provide shelter for shorebirds and waterfowl.
Ontario’s Lake Huron shoreline is dotted with scenic sunset beaches, cottage towns and picturesque dune and swale systems providing important scenic and natural habitat values. This area is also home to several First Nations who are the traditional keepers of the territory and stewards of its associated waters. Unique landforms define the shoreline with Georgian Bay boasting over 30,000 islands and amazing kayaking and hiking opportunities along the dramatic rocky cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The Bruce Peninsula, the largest remaining intact natural habitat in southern Ontario, features dramatic cliff ecosystems and is an important stopover for migratory birds. It also provides a safe haven for globally rare alvar ecosystems (thin, nutrient-poor soils that overlay limestone gravel and bedrock that as a result, support sparse, sensitive and sometimes rare grasses and plants), over 40 species of orchids as well as lush and varied fern species.
Lake Huron Forever is supported in part by Consumers Energy Foundation, Dow, Great Lakes Protection Fund and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.