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  Land Use
in the Great Lakes Region

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What's New
EDITORIAL: Protecting open space: Land trusts preserve areas from pressures for development
Watertown Daily Times (7/26)
Lands along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Indian River lakes face ever-increasing demands for development. As a result, land trusts have emerged to preserve wild and undeveloped lands.

Meeting set for residents in Racine, Kenosha Counties that need “urgent” help with bluff erosion issues
WITI-TV Milwaukee, WI (7/13)
In parts of Wisconsin’s Racine and Kenosha Counties, bluff erosion has put homes at risk of falling into Lake Michigan -- along with roads and utility lines.

More than $1 million in environmental projects to benefit Marquette, Lake Superior
WLUC-TV - Marquette, MI (7/7)
The Superior Watershed Partnership, working with state, federal and private funders, has secured more than $1 million in funding to implement a variety of conservation, restoration and pollution prevention projects in the greater Marquette, Mich., area.

Make Rouge National Urban Park 10,000 acres larger, advocates urge Ottawa
CBC News (6/16)
Supporters of Rouge National Urban Park are asking the federal government to add 10,000 more acres to the park by cancelling plans for a Pickering, Ont. airport.

New plan to halt chemical leak from Bonaventure into St. Lawrence River
The Montreal Gazette (6/9)
Since the mid-19th century, the area that runs under the Bonaventure Expressway and the city’s Technoparc, has housed a landfill, and an old rail yard. After decades of study, the federal and provincial governments and the city of Montreal will embark on a project to clean up the site.

Land donation to Indiana Dunes, National Lakeshore celebrated
Chicago Tribune (5/26)
An array of officials from NIPSCO, the National Park Trust and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore came together to celebrate the dedication of 37 acres of land in two parcels.

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The continued growth of cities and the virtually uncontrolled suburban sprawl have negative effects on the Great Lakes ecosystem, including increased water and air pollution, higher transportation and residential energy use and increased encroachment on agricultural lands and natural areas. In addition, former big city industrial sites, known as brownfields, remain neglected because the liability associated with cleanup is too risky for many businesses. Instead, these businesses turn to cleaner, rural areas to develop. The development of these outlying greenfields and rural areas continues unabated. In Michigan, for example, between 1980 and 1990, farmland was converted to some other use at the rate of 10 acres per hour.
Wetlands and the wildlife who rely on them for habitat also feel the brunt of unwise land-use practices. More than two-thirds of the natural Great Lakes wetlands have already been filled in or drained for agriculture, urban uses, shoreline development, recreation and resource extraction (such as peat mining). The loss of these lands poses special problems for hydrological processes and water quality because of the natural storage and cleansing functions of wetlands.
Fortunately, people are now recognizing the harm caused by unwise land-use practices and are developing better options. For example, conservation tillage, which keeps crop residue on fields, is now widely practiced in the Great Lakes Basin. This approach reduces soil erosion, keeping sediment and associated chemicals from entering rivers and lakes.

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General Resources
Directional Oil Drilling
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Lake Michigan as a source of oil?

Great Lakes Sustainable Land Use
Great Lakes Commission
A clearinghouse for brownfields-related information; provides opportunities for Great Lakes jurisdictions to showcase their individual programs and activities.

Impacts of Changing Land Use
Environment Canada
This paper describes land use trends and their impacts on the nearshore of the Great Lakes.

Linking Brownfields Redevelopment and Greenfields Protection for Sustainable Development (PDF)
Great Lakes Commission
An analysis of state and provincial brownfields redevelopment, farmland and open space protection policies and presents a series of strategic actions for pubic and private sector implementation to advance and link these efforts.

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Conservancies, Stewardships and Trusts
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania
Committed to promoting land use policies and actions that will enable Pennsylvania to strengthen its diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities and reduce sprawl.

1000 Friends of Minnesota
Devoted to promoting a sustainable landscape where finite natural resources are protected, cities are vital and livable, and all citizens have access to clean air, water and soil.

1000 Friends of Wisconsin and the Land Use Institute
Educates citizens and policy makers about the benefits of responsible land use.

American Farmland Trust
For the past 16 years, American Farmland Trust has worked to protect our nation's best, most productive farmland while encouraging farmers to improve the stewardship of their land.

Centre for Land and Water Stewardship (CLAWS)
University of Guelph
Devoted to promoting research in the areas of conservation and nutrient management, as well as disseminating information related to land and water resources.

Conservation Ontario
Conservation Ontario is a network of 36 Conservation Authorities of Ontario, community-based environmental organizations dedicated to conserving, restoring, developing and managing natural resources on a watershed basis.

Gathering Waters
A land trust conservation organization formed in 1995 to assist land trusts, landowners and communities in their efforts to protect Wisconsin's land and water resources.

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Since 1991, the Regional Conservancy has established 21 nature preserves in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Kalkaska Counties in Michigan, and they have protected nearly 9,000 acres of land, including over 25 miles of shoreline.

Huron Land Use Alliance
The Alliance provides information to Washtenaw County, Mich. residents and decision-makers bout alternatives to the suburban sprawl model of growth.

Michigan Land Conservancies, Trusts and Nature Centers
Little Traverse Conservancy
This site contains information and links to the land conservancies nature centers and other organizations in Michigan that are involved in land conservation and environmental education.

Ontario Stewardship
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Links southern Ontario landowners with funding information and expert resources.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
Through preservation and education, the OWLT protects the natural areas and open spaces of Ozaukee and Washington counties in southeastern Wisconsin.

People and Land (PAL)
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
PAL grew out of the Kellogg Foundation's interest in preserving Michigan's rural and agricultural heritage and exploring how farm and rural populations can work with partners to address issues of land use.

The Nature Conservancy's Great Lakes Program
Preserves the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life in the region by protecting the lands and water they need to survive. Great Lakes States' Chapters: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is the state's largest private land conservation organization. It has one essential purpose: to conserve water, land, and wildlife.

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TEACH Great Lakes: Urban Sprawl
Many communities in the Great Lakes region are feeling the effects of urban sprawl: loss of farmland, destruction of wildlife habitats, loss of community.

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Programs and Projects
Geographic Information Systems Advisory Services Program
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Provides assistance on the application of computer-based GIS. Stimulated by recent state legislation, all 72 Wisconsin counties, plus many cities, villages and townships, are actively pursuing the modernization of their land records.

Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program
A cooperative initiative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Great Lakes Regional Headquarters) and the Great Lakes Commission to develop sediment transport models for tributaries to the Great Lakes that discharge to federal navigation channels or Areas of Concern.

Land Cover Mapping
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Using Landsat satellite imagery, DNR scientists have compiled a comprehensive database of the state's surface cover.

Landowner's Guide to Natural Resources Management Incentives
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Discusses cost shore programs, technical assistance and property tax incentives available to landowners.

Michigan Land Use Institute
The Michigan Land Use Institute was founded in 1995 to establish an approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects the state's unmatched natural resources.

Openlands Project
Openlands is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing public open space in northeastern Illinois.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Environment
GLIN: Agriculture in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Coastal Zones of the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Local Planning in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Sanctuaries and Reserves in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Soil Erosion in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Wetlands in the Great Lakes Region
Brownfields: Sustainable Land Use (Exit GLIN)
Great Lakes Commission

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Updated: July 27, 2016
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