About the Program


The objective of the program is to develop tools to assist state and local agencies with the planning and implementation of measures for soil conservation, sedimentation and nonpoint source pollution prevention. Models can be developed at all tributaries to the Great Lakes that discharge to federal navigation channels or Areas of Concern (AOCs).  The ultimate goal of this program is to reduce watershed loadings of sediments and pollutants from tributaries in order to enhance Great Lakes water quality, delist Great Lakes AOCs, and reduce the need for navigation dredging.

A Cooperative Initiative

The Great Lakes Commission provides technical and administrative support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the implementation of this program, as directed by Section 516(e) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. This program is being implemented in close coordination with the Great Lakes states and in partnership with the Great Lakes Commission.  Several site-specific models have been developed in partnership with representatives of agencies and organizations from the watershed, including Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Remedial Action Plans committees, municipal and regional planning agencies, navigation interests, state and federal resource agencies.  In addition to tributary-specific models, a set of web-based tools have been developed in partnership with Michigan State University, Purdue University, and the U.S. Forest Service.


A program strategy was initially developed after surveying state priorities for tributary model development. Since 2001, models have developed at more than 30 tributaries and are being used by local, state and federal agencies for watershed and ecosystem planning, forestry management, navigation maintenance planning, and water quality compliance evaluations. The USACE is providing training sessions throughout the Great Lakes Basin on existing models, field monitoring, and the use of web-based tools developed under this program. These web-based tools enable less technical users the ability to examine the impacts of land use changes and best management practices (BMPs) for soil conservation and nonpoint pollution prevention.


The USACE’ base funding for the GLTM program is through the annual Energy & Water Appropriations. FY 2016 base funding is $600,000 for this program and the President’s FY 2017 Budget includes level funding. The optimal funding for this program in FY 2016 and FY 2017 would be $1.5 million.

For more information, download the Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Fact Sheet.

Informational Seminars on the Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program

Power Point presentations are available on request. Please contact Laura Kaminski.