About Us
What We Do
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition’s mission is to secure a sustainable Great Lakes restoration plan and the federal funding to implement it. Healthy lakes and healthy people go hand in hand. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will endeavor to make our work more relevant and impactful by ensuring that the people of the region have access to clean, affordable, and safe drinking water; can eat fish that are not toxic; and are able to live healthy lives that are not undermined by pollution. Equity in our work means we will strive to intentionally include those who have been historically excluded—specifically people of color and people from impoverished backgrounds—and work to break down barriers to their inclusion within the Great Lakes community, so that the Great Lakes can be enjoyed and used by people now and for generations to come.
What We Do in Washington, D.C.

The Coalition maintains an active presence in Washington, D.C., to help educate elected officials about the importance of Great Lakes restoration investments and policies. In 2020, the Coalition is watching and advocating for the following federal priorities:

  • Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the marquee federal Great Lakes restoration program, so that people, communities and businesses can benefit from healthy lakes. Read more >
  • Fund the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to help communities fix drinking water infrastructure to protect drinking water in the Great Lakes region. Read more >
  • Fund the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help communities fix wastewater infrastructure to prevent sewage contamination in the Great Lakes region. Read more >
  • Enact policies to stop invasive carp—and other aquatic invasive species—from traveling between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and overcoming U.S. waterways. Read more >
  • Support swift and strong implementation of the Domestic Action Plans for Michigan and Ohio to reduce toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie.

For more information, contact the coalition’s policy director, Chad Lord, at clord@npca.org.

What We Do in Your State

The Coalition works with conservation leaders in states around the Great Lakes region to advance our goal to secure federal funding to restore and protect the lakes. Our partners in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York are the backbone of our restoration advocacy. Our state leaders visit members of Congress both in Washington, D.C., and in district offices to talk about the importance of the Great Lakes to our drinking water, jobs, health, and way of life.

Minnesota State Lead:
Clean Water Action – TBD
Minnesota Environmental Partnership – Andrew Slade

Wisconsin State Lead:
Milwaukee Water Commons – Joe Fitzgerald
Clean Wisconsin – Erik Kanter

Michigan State Lead:
Sierra Club – Erma Leaphart
Ducks Unlimited – Kyle Rorah

Ohio State Lead:
Ohio Environmental Council – Pete Bucher

New York State Lead:
Citizens Campaign for the Environment – Brian Smith
National Audubon Society – Erin McGrath

How We Work With Media

Since 2004, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has been telling the story of the Great Lakes and restoration. We harness the collective power of more than 170 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Coalition is a leading voice for Great Lakes restoration and protection in Washington, D.C., and in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Please contact our communications staff to arrange an interview with Coalition staff or Coalition partners.

Jordan Lubetkin
Communications Director

Lindsey Bacigal
Communications Coordinator

You can also stay informed about the latest developments in the effort to restore the Great Lakes by checking out our resources page. There you’ll find all our press releases, reports, letters to the U.S. Congress, and more! Follow @HealthyLakes on Twitter or Facebook and help spread the word on efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes.

Who We Are

Since its inception in 2004, the Coalition has successfully secured a strong Great Lakes restoration plan and more than $2.9 billion in federal funds to clean up toxic pollution that poses a threat to people and wildlife, reduce polluted runoff that causes harmful algal blooms that poison drinking water, stop invasive species that harm fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation, and reverse habitat destruction that harms the environment and hurts the economy. Federal investments are producing results in communities across the eight-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. But serious threats remain, and the Coalition will continue to advocate for manageable solutions that protect our drinking water, jobs, and way of life. Because cutting funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive the longer we wait.

Staff from the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Wildlife Federation run the coalition from offices in Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Mich. Read more >

The Governance Board of 19 organizations provides strategic guidance to the Coalition. Additionally, the board approves the Coalition’s annual budget and campaign plan. Read more >


The Equity Committee advises the Governance Board on equity initiatives, provides guidance on strategic development, and serves as a resource for member organizations.
Read more >

How to Join

Our members and partners form the backbone of our work and have been key to our success. The strength of our coalition draws from the many groups across the region dedicated to local, regional, and national water issues. Becoming a member provides your group access to the resources and partnerships built by the coalition. Our listserv, website, and strong membership network in each state would allow your group to plug into the advocacy efforts of the Coalition on issues pertinent to the Great Lakes. Those issues include protecting drinking water, restoring habitat, fighting invasive species, cleaning up toxic pollution, and reducing runoff.



Joining is easy! An authorized member of your organization should contact our field director, Celia Haven at HavenC@nwf.org to request an application to join. Our board approves new member applications quarterly. All members will be added to the Coalition’s email listserv, which is main form of communicating with our members. There is no membership fee associated with joining the Coalition.

Our Funders

Thank you to our Coalition funders, without whom our work would not be possible.