Special Places

The Midwest and Great Plains are home to natural treasures that are both beautiful and important resources.

The Driftless Area that touches parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin is one of the top biodiversity “hotspots” in the Midwest. Michigan’s Saugatuck Dunes is an uncommon assembly of beaches, freshwater dunes, water, woods and wetlands running along 2,500 acres of Lake Michigan. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Northern Wisconsin is a special place covering approximately 1.5 million acres and hosting a number of endangered and threatened species.

The Great Lakes and Mississippi River provide drinking water, food, transportation routes, important habitat and tourism opportunities to almost a third of the country. The Chicago River is an important urban resource that brings thousands of people on the water every year and connects important national waterways like Lake Michigan and the Mississippi.

And countless other lakes, streams and forests are our playgrounds, our drinking water sources, our shipping canals, our watering holes, our summer vacation spots, our homes away from home, and our Midwest vistas. These special places are increasingly threatened by logging, mining, sprawl and other harmful activities.

What is ELPC Doing?

ELPC works with grassroots groups throughout the Midwest to protect our environmental heritage and ensure that fragile ecosystems and habitats are preserved. Our advocacy work includes a mix of legal challenges to unlawful permits, enforcement action for permit violations, policy advocacy to better protect essential resources through new legislation, media outreach to call attention to threatened areas, outreach to businesses that want to do the right thing, and scientific analysis of pollution threats.

Often our work helps protect waterways, prairies, forests and other natural areas that most people haven’t heard of but that are essential to a community’s environmental health and future.  On this website, we highlight our work on a few iconic Midwest natural treasures: Chicago RiverGreat Lakes, Michigan’s Saugatuck Dunes, Mississippi River, and Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

ELPC’s Founding Vision is Becoming Today’s Sustainability Reality

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