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Stewarding the Great Lakes

Cedarville High School students install a monitor in a local waterway. The monitor is part of the MiWaterNet program run by the Center for Freshwater Research and Education at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Stewarding the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are known for their beauty and the wealth of resources within and around them. The combined lakes contain the largest supply of fresh water on earth; 20% or one fifth of the earth's total fresh water, with more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, the Great Lakes not only form Michigan's geography, but also shape our economy, society, and environment.

The Great Lakes face threats including invasive species, urban and rural runoff, historical as well as new sources of contamination, and changes in climate. You can help protect our Great Lakes and all of Michigan’s rivers, lakes and streams and even groundwater!  Ensuring the health of our water resources for generations to come depends on stewardship and education about water. Just like every drop of water matters, every effort does, too! 

Become a water steward and Great Lakes champion!

A person standing on the shoreline of a body of water on a summer day with a fishing reel in hand

Great Lakes and Freshwater Week, June 1 - 9, 2024

Each year, Michigan proclaims this week to raise awareness of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland waterways and groundwater. It’s a time to reflect on the importance of these water bodies and their immeasurable value to wellness for people and nature throughout the state. Michigan is known around the world for this unique resource, which people can help preserve in the face of climate change and other challenges.   

By raising awareness, we will inspire people to protect and be champions of the Great Lakes and fresh water. Our call to action is for residents around the state to learn about, enjoy, appreciate, and safeguard this vital resource for current and future generations. 

Will you paddle along a water trail or join an Adopt-a-Beach team for a local cleanup? Maybe you can collect plastics as you stroll along the shore, or clear litter from storm catch basins in your neighborhood. How will you make the water-wellness connection and protect Michigan’s Great Lakes and fresh water? 

Enjoying a water-wellness moment? Share your photos, actions, and stories on social media with #MiGreatLakesWeek.

Make an Impact

A hand wearing a rubber glove holding up a discarded plastic water bottle from a sandy beach


Help protect the Great Lakes - Join an Adopt-a-Beach event or start your own!

A wooden rain barrel beneath a gutter, with a garden of purple flowers next to it

Find an Event and Connect With Water

Whether it's a clean-up project or installing a rain barrel, there are many ways to connect with efforts that benefit Michigan's lakes, rivers and streams.

An adult and child sitting in chairs on a causeway, fishing

Free Fishing Weekend

Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy one of Michigan's premiere outdoor activities, Michigan fishing, for FREE!

Sunshine sparkling on the surface of a stream with large grey rocks in it

Learn How EGLE Protects Water

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) ensures that Michigan's water resources are protected and remain clean and abundant.

WS LTU porous pavers w Carpenter 2017

Michigan Water School

The Michigan Water School educates local officials to increase their knowledge about water management and access tools and resources for sound decision-making regarding water resources.

A dense mat of european frog-bit floating on the surface of a pond, with a few white flowers.

Stop Aquatic Invasive Species Introductions

Michigan's natural areas are under threat from invasive species. You can help protect our land and water resources.

Pile of white, pink, and brown oblong and round medication tablets

Safely dispose of old medications

Proper drug disposal is important because it helps protect human health and our environment.

Two MiCorps volunteers standing knee-deep in the Chippewa River looking at a net

Volunteer with MiCorps

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) is a network of volunteer water quality monitoring programs in Michigan.

Tips to Recreate Responsibly with Water

Learn about our Great Lakes

The Great Lakes basin is a 295,200 square mile area within which all surface area drains into the Great Lakes.  It includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ontario, and Quebec. All together, the Great Lakes contain the 9,402 miles of shoreline and 94,710 total square miles of surface area (about the size of Texas). 

Learn about the Great Lakes literacy principles

Learn more about our Great Lakes

✨ Kids Corner ✨

From Students to Stewards Initiative

From Students to Stewards

The From Students to Stewards initiative teaches elementary through high school students about the Great Lakes, Michigan watersheds, and the impact people have on water resources across the state. Michigan school districts can participate in pilot grant opportunities to integrate water literacy principles and place-based education into school curricula and their continuous improvement plans. The program includes a tool kit and roadmap that other schools can use to develop their own Great Lakes-based curricula to cultivate the next generation of water stewards, leaders, and decision-makers. This initiative is a multi-agency collaboration among EGLE’s Office of the Great Lakes, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's MiSTEM Network, and the Michigan Department of Education. 


Learn more Open the toolkit

Educational videos

Playlist: Building Coastal Resilience

Our lakes define us. Michigan is the steward of over two thirds of the Great Lakes coastline – we are truly the Great Lakes State! Take the next step to coastal resilience and learn how to develop resilient master plans and policies that best fit your coastal community.

Playlist: Learn more with EGLE Classroom

Watch a playlist of short educational videos about various topics.

Playlist: Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week

Learn about what EGLE's doing for Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week through this video playlist.

Playlist: Protecting Michigan Inland Lakes Tutorials

Learn how to protect Michigan inland lakes.

Playlist: MI Shoreland Stewards

The Shoreland Stewards Program was created to recognize inland lake property owners who are maintaining their property in a way that reduces negative impacts that development can have on inland lakes to ensure healthy lakes for future generations for both people and fish and wildlife.