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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Designing and Delivering Coastal Conservation That Optimally Benefits People and Nature In Western Lake Erie

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AUTHORS: Katie Kahl*, The Nature Conservance; Doug Pearsall, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The coastal region of western Lake Erie is recognized for high biodiversity value, and also supports substantial economic and cultural values. There is a resounding call to prioritize conservation and restoration actions to meet measurable ecological goals and sustain the multiple, nature-based activities and other benefits, such as water quality, that contribute positively to the region’s coastal communities and their economies. Conservation practitioners, funders and decision makers want to understand which stretches of the coast are the highest priority for conservation or restoration to benefit both ecological systems and people. Prior planning has focused on ecological features and threats to these features. The Western Lake Erie Coastal Conservation Visioning process has extended that focus by identifying and integrating aspects of human well-being to create a vision for coastal conservation along 150 miles of coast. Building on prior conservation strategies and using existing frameworks of human well-being values, we've engaged public and private partners to clarify priorities and obtain data to spatially represent these values – including wildlife hunting and viewing, fishing, and boating – and have optimized conservation areas to achieve ecological goals and enhance human well-being. Results confirm that current and potential coastal wetlands and areas of high terrestrial biodiversity are of greatest importance for coastal conservation and support values such as hunting, birding, and public access to water. Inland areas of existing and potential migratory bird stopover habitat that correspond with local parks and trails were also identified as high priority. We have employed this analysis to assess restoration opportunities in Ohio and Michigan and have obtained funding to improve water management for a high-priority state wildlife area that provides multiple benefits for people and nature. We are also developing an online map service to enable partners to access and apply these results for their own purposes.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST