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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Conservation By Design: Promoting Resilient Coastal Wetlands In The Laurentian Great Lakes

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AUTHORS: Mark A. Davis*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Bradly A. Potter*, Upper Midwest & Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative; Christie Deloria, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Heather Stirratt, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; John Rogner, Upper Midwest & Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative

ABSTRACT: Across the Great Lakes basin, coastal wetlands have been lost or degraded to an alarming degree, ultimately diminishing their capacity to maintain ecological functioning and provide ecosystem services to coastal communities. Global climate change threatens to further exacerbate loss and degradation of coastal wetlands. Finally, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is committed to the protection, restoration, and enhancement of 60,000 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands by 2019. Given the above, protection of Great Lakes coastal wetlands is a conservation imperative. To directly address this issue, the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Coastal Conservation Working Group has embarked on a Resilient Coastal Wetlands initiative that includes a Landscape Conservation Design. In this initiative, we envision a diverse assemblage of sate, federal, tribal, and non-governmental interests collaborating via a science-based process to conserve and restore a resilient, well connected, and geographically broad system of Great lakes coastal wetlands that provide wetland functions and values essential for water quality, fish and wildlife, and people throughout the basin. In this paper we detail the process being employed to achieve this objective, discuss a preliminary suite of ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural conservation targets, and identify expected products that will comprise the coastal wetland Landscape Conservation Design. Finally, we will discuss the overarching objective of the initiative, which is the effective and efficient leveraging of conservation knowledge, capacities, and resources to achieve and sustain ecosystem functions and values of Great Lakes coastal wetlands for current and future generations.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST