As of 2014, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has started 429 projects in Michigan that were funded by $208 million. The wildlife recreation industry in the state totals $6.1 billion, according to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. Both anglers and hunters spent $2.4 million to travel to and spend time in Michigan. About 20 percent of the 1.7 million anglers traveled from out-of-state to spend time in Michigan. Those who traveled to the Great Lakes specifically spent an average of $727 per trip. Unlike the other eight Great Lakes states, the vast majority of Michigan’s land area is located within the Great Lakes watershed. Tributaries into the Lakes can be strengthened for wildlife recreation within the state, but will also contribute to the health of the Lakes overall.
Over the last several years, the state of Michigan has launched a region-wide marketing campaign aimed at attracting visitors to the state. The Great Lakes play a prominent role in the campaign, which has helped boost tourism and create 20,000 new jobs since 2010. Since 2003, tourism-related employment has increased by 33 percent. Overall, the presence of the Great Lakes that surround the state provide more
than 800,000 jobs to Michiganders. And besides outdoor recreation and tourism, the manufacturing interests in the state rely heavily on the availability of fresh, clean water. Michigan produces 60 percent of the steel in the United States and 60 percent of the automobiles—both industries that need access to water.
Healthy Lakes mean that people can share the joy of fishing, boating, and swimming with their children, but it also means that industry can stay in the state. Hunters can experience the wildlife that relies on the health of the Lakes to thrive. Wildlife watchers of all types benefit from the increased health of the Lakes ecosystem. And the state as a whole benefits from the economic activity each of these opportunities creates.