Goal: Great Lakes coastal wetlands have a balance of species comparable to natural conditions

The Coastal Assembly will track progress towards this goal by collecting data for the following metrics:

  • Health of aquatic insects and other invertebrates
  • Amphibian Health
  • Plant Community Health

Great Lakes coastal wetlands are most viable when they support diverse and sustainable populations of invertebrates, amphibians, and plants.

The Assembly envisions coastal landscapes that support the unique structure and 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 that “Great Lakes coastal wetlands have a balance of species comparable to natural conditions.” Tracking progress towards this goal requires us to monitor the health of plant and animal communities in coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes basin.

  • Health of aquatic insects and other invertebrates
  • Amphibian Health
  • Plant Community Health

These metrics are tracked through Indicators of Biotic Integrity (IBIs) for frogs and toads (anurans), wetland plants (aquatic macrophytes), and aquatic macroinvertebrates such as insects, snails, and mussels. Species IBIs can be used to comparable species communities between different wetlands, such as between restored and natural wetlands. Healthy ecological communities provide insight into a wetland’s water quality, habitat suitability, and biological integrity.

Invertebrate, amphibian, and vegetation IBIs are sensitive to changes in coastal wetland conditions which makes them good indicators of coastal wetland health. IBI monitoring has been ongoing basin wide and provides a strong baseline dataset to reference when evaluating wetland health.

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