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What's New | Overview | General Resources | Education | Related Resources

 
What's New
NOAA Fisheries announces funding for Great Lakes habitat restoration
(10/21)
NOAA Fisheries is making available roughly $16.7 million, through President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, for habitat restoration projects in severely degraded areas of the Great Lakes. Funded projects are spread throughout Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and New York.

Piecing together Lake Michigan shoreline: State has eyes on McClendon land
Holland Sentinel (10/3)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is leading a drive to get a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to buy at least 150 acres of a 315-acre privately held land in Saugatuck Township.

Cleanup of Radio Tower Bay in Duluth making progress
Duluth News Tribune (10/2)
In the St. Louis River estuary, the cleanup underway since 2012 is aimed at restoring a more natural ecosystem to the 45-acre bay in the hope that it will serve as a nursery for fish and a nesting area for birds and wildlife.

Slowly, surely, the St. Clair River overcomes its impairments
The Voice (9/25)
Nearly 30 years after it was found to be seriously impaired, the St. Clair River in Michigan is making progress towards being removed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of "Areas of Concern."

Manistee dam removal yields snake hibernaculum
Great Lakes Echo (9/19)
Conservation biologists have built the first artificial home for snakes in northern Michigan, and the biologists removed an entire dam to do it.

Monroe, Wayne County, N.Y. leaders blast lake level plan
Democrat & Chronicle (9/17)
Top leaders from Monroe and Wayne counties in N.Y. voiced their strong opposition to a plan that would change regulatory guidelines for the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River highs and lows.

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Overview
The Great Lakes ecosystem's sand dunes, coastal marshes, rocky shorelines, lakeplain prairies, savannas, forests, fens, wetlands and other landscapes contain features that are either unique to or best represented within the Great Lakes Basin, according to a 1994 biodiversity report by The Nature Conservancy.
 
For example, the Great Lakes sand dunes are one of the largest systems of freshwater sand dunes in the world, ranging from high, forested dunes and linear dune ridges commonly backing sand beaches, to active dune fields covering thousands of acres, such as those near Ludington, Michigan. Native dune species include the dune thistle (Cirsium pitcheri), Houghton's goldenrod (Solidago houghtonii) and the Lake Huron locust (Trimerotropis huroniana).
 
Some of the last, best examples of the continent's most imperiled savanna communities lie along the lakeplains of the southern Great Lakes, near Windsor, Ontario, and along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, in particular. Also occurring in the lakeplains is a unique community of arctic and prairie species that persists from the colder, then dryer climatic periods following glaciation. Often called by the Scandinavian name "alvar," these communities are scattered in an arc that follows the Niagaran Escarpment from upper Michigan through southern Ontario and to northwestern New York. Never widespread, this remarkable open bedrock landscape remains intact in only a handful of places.
 
The extensive freshwater marshes of the Great Lakes coasts also are unique in ecological character, size and variety. They range from small wetlands nestled in scattered bays to extensive shoreline wetlands such as those of southwestern Lake Erie, freshwater estuaries such as the Kakagon Sloughs of northern Wisconsin and the enormous freshwater delta marshes of the St. Clair River.

 
References: Biological Diversity in the Great Lakes Ecosystem, The Nature Conservancy, 1994

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General Resources
Canada's Aquatic Environments: Habitats
University of Guelph
Includes more than 9,000 pages of information on aquatic animals and habitats.

EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office webpage provides up-to-date information on the President's budget proposal to allocate $475 million towards an EPA-led interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Habitat Advisory Board
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has long recognized that habitat quality and quantity relates directly to determining which measures will ensure maximum sustained productivity of Great Lakes fish.

Habitat Management Programs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This index provides information about the various habitat management programs in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

NOAA Restoration Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The NOAA Restoration Center enhances living marine resources to benefit the nation's fisheries by restoring their habitats.

Prairies in the Prairie State
Presented by the Openlands Project and the Illinois State Museum, this exhibit discusses the environment, plants and animals, and human interaction of the Midewin Tallgrass Prairie

Prairies of Illinois
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois is known as the "Prairie State," part of the vast grassland in central North America. Learn about the remnants of tallgrass prairie and related flora and fauna through this series of maps, photos and historic overviews.

The Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Great Lakes Ecosystem: Issues and Opportunities
The Nature Conservancy
This 1994 document provides a "first look" at the special biological diversity of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem and at those human activities that place it at risk.

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Education
Habitattitude
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Adopt a conservation mentality: Protect our environment by not releasing unwanted fish and aquatic plants into the wild. Find out what you can do to help this growing problem on this site.

Living By Water Project
The mission of the Project is "working towards healthier human and wildlife habitat along the shorelines of Canada", and to help shoreline residents obtain information to protect their property, prevent problems like erosion, and protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Environment
GLIN: Biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Land Use in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Sanctuaries and Reserves in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Wetlands in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Wildlife of the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: October 25, 2014
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