Latest On The Conservation Gateway

A well-managed and operational Conservation Gateway is in our future! Marketing, Conservation, and Science have partnered on a plan to rebuild the Gateway into the organization’s enterprise content management system (AEM), with a planned launch of a minimal viable product in late 2024. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, reach out to for more info!

Aquatic Connectivity 

Each spring when the ice starts to break up, more than 30 species of fish begin migrating from the Great Lakes up tributary streams to spawn, feed or seek refuge. But they are not always successful due to hundreds of thousands of dams and poorly-designed or improperly-functioning culverts that block their passage up and down most large rivers in the Great Lakes basin.
It is not just fish, however, that are harmed by these barriers. They also disrupt the movement of sediment, minerals, nitrogen and other nutrients that plants, fish and other organisms need to grow and thrive. The result is a decline in our fisheries, increased barrier maintenance and replacement costs and loss of recreation opportunities.
The Nature Conservancy is working with federal, state, county and tribal agencies; universities and other partners to restore the natural flow of key Great Lakes rivers and streams by:
  • Identifying and mapping the locations of all potential barriers in the Great Lakes basin and determining how passable they are for fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Working with partners to set priorities for barrier removal, replacement and modification to open the most river habitat in the most cost-effective way.



The Great Lakes region is known for its bountiful and diverse agricultural production. Its fertile lands and waters provide ideal conditions for corn, soybeans and hay crops, as well as 15% of the country’s dairy products. Between the production of crops and livestock, the region produces $14.5 billion in annual agricultural sales.

 But the use of these lands and waters have come at a cost. In many places, there has been a decrease in water quality, loss of essential fish and wildlife habitat, and an increase of toxic algae blooms. As demand for agricultural products continues to grow, so will the pressures facing the Great Lakes.
The Nature Conservancy is working with all parts of the agricultural sector (farmers, farm organizations, agribusiness, universities, government agencies and policy makers) to improve water quality and flow in Great Lakes agricultural watersheds. Examples of our work include:
  • Developing models and other tools to identify what improvements to water quality and flow are needed and then determining the best mix of conservation practices to achieve those improvements.
  • Establishing performance-based demonstration projects to implement conservation practices at watershed scales.


Great Lakes WESS