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.

  1. Objective: reach Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) action plan II and III annual coastal wetland acreage target values
    • Metric: total coastal wetland acreage protected, enhanced, or restored by GLRI projects

GLRI Action Plan II Annual Targets

YEAR20152016201720182019
ACREAGE7,00015,00030,00052,00060,000

This table shows the number of acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands protected, restored, and enhanced by GLRI funded projects. When finalized by the EPA, acreage targets by year will be published for GLRI Action Plan III.

North Point Peninsula, coastal fen, north shore
<div class="text-formatted field field--name-field-media-tooltip field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>North Point Peninsula, coastal fen, north shore. Photo Credit: © The Nature Conservancy</p></div>

Great Lakes coastal wetlands are most self-sustaining and are better able to provide benefits to fish, wildlife, and people when wetland extent and diversity are at or close to their natural range of variability across a diversity of regions.

The Assembly envisions coastal landscapes that support the structure and natural processes essential for sustaining healthy species populations, resilient natural communities, and for providing benefits to human society. In its  focus on coastal wetlands, the Assembly has stated a goal of “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.” Tracking progress towards this goal requires us to monitor the state of coastal wetlands across the Great Lakes basin.

Tracking coastal wetland area is important for assessing the condition of wetland ecosystems across the Great Lakes basin. More than 50% of the historical range of coastal wetlands has been lost. Sizable wetland areas across a diversity of regions within the Great Lakes basin are critical for breeding and migrating birds, spawning and nursery habitats for fish, and other ecosystem services.

  • Objective 1 highlights the efforts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to set coastal wetlands acreage goals and measure progress towards achieving them through GLRI projects.

A basin-wide assessment of coastal wetland area or extent has not been completed since 2004. A forthcoming project to update this baseline was mentioned in the State of the Great Lakes 2017 Technical Report. Additionally, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Monitoring Program (GLCWMP) and the US EPA are exploring improved methods to assess coastal wetland extent by considering potential wetland areas and – ideally – incorporating hydrologic connection to the Great Lakes and accounting for fluctuating water levels. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), through its Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Restoration Assessment decision support tool, has mapped areas where coastal wetlands could be restored.

Objective 1:

  • GLRI Action Plan 1’s (FY 10-14) measurement of protected, restored and enhanced coastal wetlands acres includes wetland-associated uplands for both progress and target values.
  • GLRI’s Action Plan 2’s (FY 15-19) measurement of protected, restored and enhanced coastal wetlands acres only includes coastal wetlands and does not include wetland-associated uplands for both progress and target values.
  • Both GLRI’s annual acreage values and target values are measured cumulatively.
  • GLRI individual project acreage was not provided by EPA. It was identified by GLRI publicly available project descriptions and/or by funding recipients.
  • The Blue Accounting coastal wetlands individual project acreage includes wetland-associated uplands since individual coastal wetlands project acreage is not available currently.

Metric status is tracked as progress towards our objectives.

  • Objective 1: Total coastal wetland acreage protected, enhanced, or restored by GLRI projects compared to GLRI Action Plan target values is published annually for the preceding year by the U.S. EPA in a report to the U.S. Congress.
  • Fluctuating water levels can effect wetland size and extent
  • Not all coastal wetlands project data is publicly available