Environmental programs

Documents & Resources

Contact information

For more information on Great Lakes regional environmental programs, please contact:

USACE contact: Mr. Jan Miller
Email: jan.a.miller@usace.army.mil

Great Lakes Regional Programs

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a number of programs that are being used to support the protection, restoration, and development of water resources in the Great Lakes.

These programs include Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration, Remedial Action Plans, and the Tributary Model program.


Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration

Under the GLFER program, the Corps of Engineers plans, design, and constructs projects to restore and protect aquatic habitat. To date, three GLFER projects have completed construction, five more are under construction, and a total of 41 projects are in planning or design.

GLFER projects include:

    • removal or bypassing of dams and other obstructions to restore fishery passage;
    • construction of barriers and traps to control the invasive sea lamprey;
    • actions to eliminate beneficial use impairments at Areas of Concern;
    • restoration and enhancement of habitat, including wetlands, marsh, lake and riverine habitat.

GLFER projects are developed in cooperation with a non-federal partner who may be a state or local government, non-profit organization, or a private entity. This partner shares the costs (35%) of the project and is responsible for operating and maintaining the completed project. 

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has helped the Corps of Engineers plan and implement the program, and is a cost-sharing partner on several projects.

Remedial Action Plans

This program enables the Corps of Engineers to provide technical assistance to state and local agencies or non-profit organizations for the development or implementation of Remedial Action Plans at Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs).  Technical assistance has already been provided to 21 AOCs. 

This assistance has included:

    • planning and design of sediment remediation actions;
    • planning and design of habitat restoration actions;
    • water quality and/or sediment transport modeling;
    • collection of physical, chemical and biological data;
    • outreach support;
    • cost estimating, and;
    • construction management

RAP technical assistance requires a non-federal partner to provide cost-sharing (35%) as cash or in-kind services. 

Visit our page on Remedial Action Plans for more information.

Great Lakes Tributary Model

Soil erosion and runoff from farms, forests, and urban areas contribute millions of tons of sediments to Great Lakes rivers and streams every year.  These sediment loadings diminish water quality, contain nutrients that foster harmful algae blooms, and decrease the depths in navigation channels.  The USACE dredges several million cubic yards of sediments from Great Lakes harbors and channels to maintain safe depths for navigation.  Under the Great Lakes Tributary Model program, the USACE has developed computer models and web-based tools that help state and local agencies and non-governmental groups evaluate the impacts of measures for soil conservation and non-point source pollution control.

The products developed under the Great Lakes Tributary Model program and training are free, including:

    • models of soil erosion and sediment transport for specific tributaries;
    • web-based tools that can be used to evaluate soil erosion and sediment delivery anywhere in the Great Lakes watershed; 
    • studies and reports on soil erosion and sediment transport specific to the Great Lakes.
    • training programs on soil erosion and sediment transport, monitoring sediment in streams, use web-based tools, etc.;

For additional information on the program, check out the Great Lakes Tributary Model program on the Great Lakes Commission website.