Great Lakes One Water Resilient Future

Sunset over Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota.

Image credit: M. Thoms.

The Great Lakes One Water project brings together a diverse community leadership team focused on equitable access to information and participation in planning and strategies.

Great Lakes communities experience frequent large coastal storms, flooding and degraded water quality from expanding urbanization. Communities most affected are often low income and communities of color. These communities also tend to have the fewest means to adapt to and mitigate issues of water quality and quantity. Improved community resilience through focused community-government collaborations can protect lives, save infrastructure, and increase community health in these neighborhoods.

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Project description

The Lake Superior Great Lakes One Water team developed the Great Lakes One Water Resilient Future project, which seeks to build a community of civic and municipal leaders with the vision and drive to raise awareness of water-management infrastructure tools. These tools can help mitigate negative impacts of extreme weather on the health and well-being of communities across the the Lake Superior region. This project is part of the Great Lakes One Water Partnership, which is a multi-year, basinwide initiative designed to help communities around the Great Lakes region develop and implement projects to protect the regions freshwater resources.

The Lake Superior team is made up of representatives from the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation, Ecolibrium3, City of Duluth, and Udac.

Why Minnesota Sea Grant?

Minnesota Sea Grant is leading and facilitating meetings of the Lake Superior team, sharing resources and up-to-date science and connecting research and policy to on-the-ground community-based efforts.

This project supports Sea Grant's mission to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources in order to create a sustainable economy and environment. This project also directly supports Minnesota Sea Grant's focus areas to help create resilient communities and economies and healthy coastal ecosystems in the Lake Superior basin.

What have we done lately?

In 2020, the Lake Superior team secured an AmeriCorps VISTA member to conduct a landscape analysis within marginalized socio-economic neighborhoods in Duluth, Minnesota to identify the needs of these communities in developing rain-ready housing, including identifying financial and resource needs, community partners, and knowledge gaps.

The Lake Superior team was successfully awarded two small grants to further our work: a Partners for Places Mini Grant and a Community-Based Participatory Research Technical Assistance Grant from the River Network. Both projects focus on the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Duluth, Minnesota and will help to identify the greatest water-related needs of residents and build opportunities for local community leaders to work alongside city government in tackling water challenges. Both projects will serve as small pilots of an engagement process proposed for a larger, future project.

Since its founding, the work of the Lake Superior team has been focused on increased information sharing, capacity building and collaboration of the organizations involved in the team - Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Minnesota Sea Grant, City of Duluth, Ecolibrium3, and Udac. To accomplish this, Minnesota Sea Grant facilitates monthly meetings where these diverse organizations are able to learn from one another, share resources, develop grant/project proposals, and build a supportive network focused on best practices for engaging community members around resilience.

Participants & Audience

Residents and community members of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood and municipal staff in Duluth, Minnesota.


Current support for the Great Lakes One Water Partnership is provided by the Great Lakes Protection Fund.


  • City of Duluth, Minnesota, State/Local Government
  • Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Federal Government
  • Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation, NGO
  • Ecolibrium3, NGO
  • Udac, NGO