Blue Accounting and the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly, a diverse working group of experts, together envision progress toward a diverse system of Great Lakes coastal wetlands supporting native fish, wildlife and plant species as well as Great Lakes coastal communities.

To that end, our goals for Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands are:

  • Goal 1: Support a sustainable assemblage of native species, including priority species
  • Goal 2: Support diverse wetland types that are resilient and adaptable to changing conditions
  • Goal 3: Support sustainable economic and social benefits complementary to ecological benefits.  As a result:
  • Goal 4: People in the Great Lakes recognize benefits of, and engage in the protection, restoration and conservation of coastal wetlands.

Tracking Progress

A resilient system of coastal wetlands would have enough space, biodiversity, and connectivity to withstand changes in lake levels, invasive species, climate and human actions.  How do we know we are getting closer to this ideal?

Blue Accounting measures progress using metrics informed by documents including the State of the Great Lakes reports, Great Lakes Biodiversity Conservation Strategies and the Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs).

To date we are tracking metrics for our first two goals.  For more details, see below:

A resilient system of Great Lakes coastal wetlands supporting a sustainable assemblage of native fish, wildlife and plant species, including priority species at desired population levels.

Objective 1: Maintain or restore Great Lakes coastal wetlands to improve ecological conditions for wetland breeding bird populations in each Great Lake by 2030 (as calculated and reported in the State of the Great Lakes (SOGL) reports.) 

Specific objectives by lake: 

  • All Lakes: Show an 'Improving' trend. 
  • Lake Superior: Maintain 'Good' status. 
  • Lake Huron: Maintain 'Good' Status. 
  • Lake Michigan: Achieve a 'Good' status.
  • Lake Ontario: Achieve a 'Good' status. 
  • Lake Erie: Achieve 'Fair' status.

Metric 1: Mean wetland breeding bird IEC (index of ecological condition) as reported in SOGL 2017.  

Objective 2: Maintain or restore Great Lakes coastal wetlands to improve ecological conditions for amphibian populations in each Great Lake by 2030 (as calculated and reported in the State of the Great Lakes (SOGL) reports.) 

Specific objectives by lake: 

  • All Lakes: Show an 'Improving' trend. 
  • Lake Superior: Maintain 'Fair' status.
  • Lake Huron: Maintain 'Fair' status.
  • Lake Michigan: Achieve 'Fair' status.
  • Lake Ontario:   Achieve 'Fair' status.
  • Lake Erie: Achieve 'Fair' status.

Metric 2: Mean Index of Ecological Condition (IEC), an objective indicator that relates breeding frog populations to wetland condition as reported in SOGL 2017.

A resilient system of Great Lakes coastal wetlands that is able to function within an extended range of variability, supports diversity of wetland types throughout the region, and adapts to changing climatic and hydrologic conditions.

Objective 1: reach Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) action plan II and III annual coastal wetland acreage target values

Metric 1: total coastal wetland acreage protected, enhanced, or restored by GLRI projects

A resilient system of Great Lakes coastal wetlands with characteristics supporting positive and sustainable economic and social benefits complementary to ecological benefits.

Objectives and metrics for this goal are under development

Great Lakes communities recognize the many benefits of, and engage in the protection, restoration and conservation of coastal wetlands.

Objectives and metrics for this goal are under development

Why it Matters Slide Show -Coastal

Habitat

Goal 1: Sustainable assemblages of priority species.

Wetlands provide habitat for a diverse array of rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals, spawning and nursery habitat for fish, nesting and feeding areas for waterfowl, and migratory bird stopover sites.

Source: Great Blue Heron, Detroit River, Michigan © Michael David-Lorne Jordan/David-Lorne Photographic

Ecosystem Services

The 62-acre Bete Grise Wetlands Preserves consists of just over 4,000 feet of sandy shoreline along Lake Superior leading to dune and swale wetlands and 1,000 feet of frontage on the Mendota Ship Canal. The larger area of Bete Grise contains an excellent quality Great Lakes Marsh and nearly one and a half miles of high quality sand beach along Lake Superior, possibly the longest in the Keweenaw. Common Loon, Merlin, and Bald Eagle nest at the site and four species of special plants are found in the wetland
<div class="text-formatted field field--name-field-media-tooltip field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The Nature Conservancy - Michigan.  Photo Credit: Gina Nicholas</p></div>

Goal 2: Support diverse wetland types that are resilient and adaptable to changing conditions.

Wetlands provide a host of ecosystem services, improving water quality, capturing pollutants, reducing erosion and beautifying communities.

Source: The Nature Conservancy, Bete Grise Wetlands Preserve. © Gina Nicholas.

Fisheries

Goal 3: Sustainable economic and social benefits 

Wetlands support the world-class Great Lakes fishery by providing critical habitat for fish to spawn and grow.

Source: Northern Pike. Photo Credit: © Kletr/Shutterstock

Recreation

Goal 4: People in the Great Lakes recognize benefits of, and engage in the protection, restoration and conservation of coastal wetlands.

Wetlands provide recreational and tourism opportunities for communities, including birding, sport fishing, duck hunting, and boating.

Wetlands provide a host of ecosystem services, improving water quality, capturing pollutants, reducing erosion and beautifying communities.

Source: Detroit, Michigan © Michael David-Lorne Jordan/David-Lorne Photographic

Highlights