The Great Lakes Impact on Michigan’s Economy


It’s safe to say that most people in Michigan understand that our water resources are valuable. This value is expressed in a variety of ways. Lakes and rivers conjure images of incredible natural beauty and summons unforgettable memories of family and community for the people of this state. They also support Michigan’s top industries including shipping, agriculture, technology, manufacturing, recreation, and tourism. The lakes provide the backbone for a $5 trillion regional economy that would be one of the largest in the world if it stood alone as a country. Recreation on the Great Lakes – including world-renown boating, hunting and fishing opportunities – generate more than $52 billion annually for the region (Great Lakes Commission).

Whether you want to go fishing, kayaking, swimming, or boating, you don’t have to look far! With Michigan’s abundant supply of fresh surface water, you are never more than two hours away from a Great Lake or 6 miles away from another body of water.

Michigan’s economy relies heavily on clean water. Without clean water, we would not be able to provide high quality recreational experiences for Michigan residents and tourists. Who would want to go swimming in a lake covered in blue-green algae? Or a lake that is not safe to swim in because of high E. Coli levels?

It is clear that the quality of Michigan’s water matters to our economy, our workforce, and our infrastructure. Residents, communities, and businesses rely on our unique and unparalleled water system for public health, environmental, recreational, and economic benefits. Whether large or small, urban or rural, having attractive and compelling communities that leverage their natural assets is critical. The trend toward people choosing where they live based on quality of life as opposed to job considerations will continue to accelerate.

Image result for saint clair river michigan

Aerial photograph of the St. Clair River