University of Michigan initiates efforts for Great Lakes restoration work

Satellite image of Great Lakes

The University of Michigan is building a new $9m lakes research and education centre to protect and restore the Great Lakes, the world's largest group of freshwater lakes.

The new University of Michigan Water Center will be funded with a three year grant of $4.5m from the Fred A and Barbara M Erb Family Foundation, alongside $4.5m from the university.

It will be set up to present a scientific framework to improve the restoration work of the Great Lakes.

The new centre is expected to identify and fill critical science gaps in major areas of the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), such as removing toxic contamination and restoring the regions of environmental degradation.

The centre will also concentrate on fighting invasive species, protecting and restoring wildlife and their habitats, and clearing or preventing polluted water runoff in the freshwater lakes.

As a part of the effort, the centre will also use a portion of the initial funding to engage Great Lakes scientists to improve the research efforts of the university.

It is expected that during the first three years of funding, the water centre will effectively provide an integration of scientific input and evaluation to protect the group of freshwater lakes.

Erb Family Foundation president John Erb said the foundation is providing the grant to identify and fill the vital gaps to develop platform to restore the Great Lakes.

"The lakes are a unique and precious ecosystem that we must steward for the benefit of current and future generations," Erb added.

The Erb Family Foundation supports initiatives to restore the Great Lakes basin.

Image: Satellite image of Great Lakes. Photo: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.