Great Lakes Region

Muskegon Lake Sunrise (Nick Kroes, 2009)

What is the NOAA Habitat Blueprint?

The Habitat Blueprint is a nationwide NOAA initiative that provides a framework for NOAA to better focus internal programs and expertise on addressing habitat loss and degradation across the U.S. and its territories. To begin the initiative, a team of NOAA staff first identified ten Habitat Focus Areas, in order to most effectively address this habitat loss and degradation. A Habitat Focus Area is a geographic site chosen for the important ecosystem benefits it provides, and its potential for multiple NOAA offices and programs to contribute meaningfully to restoration efforts.

Are there Habitat Focus Areas in the Great Lakes?

Two Habitat Focus Areas were chosen in the Great Lakes region: Muskegon Lake and the St. Louis River Estuary.  Both sites previously served as industrial and lumber centers in the region, and have experienced significant environmental pollution and damage as a result.

There were five habitat conservation objectives considered in selecting the Habitat Focus Areas:

  • Sustainable and abundant fish populations;
  • Recovered threatened and endangered species;
  • Protected coastal and marine areas and habitats at risk;
  • Resilient coastal communities;
  • Increased coastal/marine tourism, access, and recreation.
Aerial view of Clough Island in the St. Louis River estuary, Duluth, Minnesota (Minnesota Public Radio, 2013)

Want to know more about the Great Lakes Habitat Focus Areas?

Click on the links below to learn more about the Muskegon Lake and St. Louis River Estuary Habitat Focus Areas. Each link provides an in-depth description of the area, explains why restoration is necessary, and describes how NOAA has been involved – and is currently participating – in restoration efforts.


Where can I find more information?

For more information on the national Habitat Blueprint initiative, please visit the NOAA Habitat Blueprint webpage.

For additional questions regarding implementing Habitat Blueprint in the Great Lakes region, please contact Felix Martinez at


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