States and Provinces

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For More Information

Matt Doss
Policy Director
Great Lakes Commission
734‐396‐6064
[email protected]

What the Great Lakes mean to Minnesota

Fondly known as “the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota’s access to the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, provides fresh drinking water for residents and industry as well as opportunities for commercial shipping and fishing, recreation, and tourism.

Minnesota’s median income is the highest of all the Great Lakes states. It leads the Great Lakes region in percentage of jobs growing in employment sectors, most of that growth occurring in sectors that represent the top quartile of hourly wages. This growth is supported by relatively strong population gains across all age ranges, especially ages 25-34.

Recreation and Tourism

Minnesota has 189 miles of coastline along which more than 216,000 people live.  Each year, an estimated 3.5 million people visit Minnesota’s “North Shore” – driving a $1 billion tourism industry and supporting 20,000 jobs annually. Lake Superior also supports a substantial sport fishery valued at $1.58 billion and a recreational boating industry that supports 50,000 jobs and $3.7 billion annually.

Commercial Navigation

Minnesota boasts a commercial shipping industry that supports 6,271 jobs with $1.2 billion generated in business revenue resulting from the transportation of roughly 58 million tons of cargo each year. The Port of Duluth-Superior, located on the southwest shore of Lake Superior, is ranked among the top 20 ports in the U.S. It handles an average of 35 million tons of cargo annually.  Over 11,500 jobs depend on the 20 privately owned and operated docks along the 49 miles of waterfront in the harbor.

Learn more about the Port of Duluth-Superior here.  

Solving Problems Facing Lake Superior

Minnesota faces several issues affecting Lake Superior including degraded aquatic habitat, polluted runoff, the spread of aquatic invasive species, and restoring the St. Louis Area of Concern. Many federal, state and local agencies and organizations, led by the U.S. EPA, are facilitating restoration projects throughout Minnesota.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding administered by the EPA builds on local and state efforts to complete these restoration projects as they are identified. $100 million in federal funds for 155 projects leveraged $10 million in Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy funds through FY2016.

To learn more about GLRI projects in Minnesota, check out our fact sheet. 

Much of the restoration work in the state is focused on restoring the St. Louis River Area of Concern. Partners such as the Governor’s Council on Minnesota’s Coastal Program, the Lake Superior National Estuarian and Research Reserve, Minnesota Sea Grant, the Lake Superior Bi-national Program, the North Shore Management Board, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have completed 96 percent of the St. Louis River strategic plan with a goal to finish work by 2020. These groups work together to ensure effective management and conservation of coastal landscapes and water resources.

Click the filter icon on the left side of the map to view projects by state or use the search bar to enter zip codes or addresses to narrow your search. Click on the pink dots to learn more about Minnesota-specific projects, funding sources, restoration partners, and project outcomes.

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To see an expanded map of GLRI projects in Minnesota and across the region visit click here. 

For More Information

Matt Doss
Policy Director
Great Lakes Commission
734‐396‐6064
[email protected]

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