Land Use

Development Along Michigan’s Coasts

From metropolitan Detroit to remote townships in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s coastal communities share management responsibility as well as Great Lakes shoreline. More than 300 coastal communities guide commercial and industrial development, manage population growth and protect natural resources, such as freshwater, coastal wetlands, forests and sand dunes.

Land use is a significant factor in the overall health of the environment. For example, one impact of development includes habitat fragmentation — one of the most serious issues caused by coastal development that can result in loss of native biodiversity. Other consequences can include: loss of natural shoreline features such as wetlands, conversion of unique coastal farmland in microclimate bands, loss of diversity on Great Lakes islands and water quality degradation.

Sea Grant specialists, in partnership with Michigan’s Coastal Management Program, assist coastal communities to support economic development that protects and enhances natural resources.