Marine Debris Removal and Outreach in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

People pulling a boat ashore that is filled with marine debris collected along a lake shoreline.

The Superior Watershed Partnership is mobilizing its partners to implement on-the-ground clean-up events and educational outreach throughout communities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to reduce marine debris in the nearshore waters of Lake Superior’s coastal and tribal communities.

Type of Project: Removal

Region: Great Lakes

Project Dates: September 2021 - August 2023

Who is involved?
The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) is mobilizing their Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC) and the Lake Superior Volunteer Corps (LSVC), in partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC), the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), and the Earthkeepers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. These removal and outreach efforts are supported by a NOAA Marine Debris Program removal grant.

What is the project and why is it important?
With over 900 miles of Lake Superior coastline, the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is a unique freshwater haven treasured and depended upon by residents and tourists alike. The publicly accessible shorelines, especially those within and adjacent to coastal communities, are a primary draw to the 311,00 people that reside in the UP and the millions of people that visit each year. Further, the species rich waters of Lake Superior are an important resource for both recreational and commercial fishing, including Tribal fisheries throughout treaty-ceded waters. Marine debris, such as large plastics, derelict fishing gear, industrial debris, and other trash have had historic and present impacts to local community economies, as well as natural resources that many depend upon in the UP. 

To reduce marine debris in the nearshore waters adjacent to the UP’s Lake Superior coastal and Tribal communities, the SWP is mobilizing its Great Lakes Conservation Corps (GLCC), the Lake Superior Volunteer Corps (LSVC), local Tribal communities, and the Earthkeepers faith-based network of 220 Upper Peninsula churches to implement on-the-ground clean-up events. Their goal is to remove 5 tons of debris and to use educational messaging throughout communities to reach 217,700 people (70% of the UP’s population). 

For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.