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What's New | Overview | General Resources
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What's New
Federal Duck Stamp now available for online purchase
(7/24)
The federal migratory bird hunting stamp (also known as the Duck Stamp) can now be purchased online! The online purchasing option is part of a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Duck Stamp Office, designed to make the Duck Stamp more readily available and increase participation in this successful wetland conservation program.

COMMENTARY: New plan for Lake Ontario water levels would help regenerate vital wetlands
The Buffalo News (7/6)
A new plan developed by the International Joint Commission would allow more variation in Lake Ontario water levels to mimic natural fluctuations crucial to wetland health.

Warning of 'disaster,' two Cayuga County state reps seek rejection of Lake Ontario plan
Auburn Citizen (6/25)
Two of Cayuga County's state representatives want Congress to reject a plan developed by the International Joint Commission that recommends allowing water levels to vary naturally in order to restore Lake Ontario's wetlands.

Eco-friendly revamp of Lake St. Clair Metropark's parking lot unveiled
The Detroit News (6/12)
At Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, Mich., the redevelopment of the parking lot is designed to eliminate all the storm run-off to the Black Creek and redirects the flow to the Point Rosa Marsh through a series of vegetative filters and detention ponds.

EDITORIAL: Does the 1972 Clean Water Act cover tributaries and wetlands? Editorial Board roundtable
The Plain Dealer (6/12)
Members of the editorial board of The Plain Dealer share their individual thoughts about the proposed redefinition by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of "navigable" waters covered by the 1972 Clean Water Act.

MVCA and Howick Optimists get grant
Blakburn News (3/17)
The Maitland Valley Conservation Authority and the Howick Optimist Club in Ontario have been awarded a grant through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund to restore stream banks and improve water quality.

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Overview
The extensive freshwater marshes of the Great Lakes coasts 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.
 
The basin has four main types of wetlands, each with it own set of chemical and physical characteristics, plants and wildlife. Marshes are usually associated with ponds, lakes or streams. Typical plants include rushes, reeds, cattails and lily pads. Swamps are wooded wetlands characterized by conifers, hardwoods or shrubby vegetation. Bogs are areas with minimal water flow, highly acidic peaty soils and carpets of mosses, especially Sphagnum. Vegetation such as black spruce, blueberries, cranberries, orchids and insect-eating plants are typical. Fens are similar to bogs but with less acidic soil, due to more ground and surface water flowing through. Sedges and low shrubs prevail, with some orchids and insect-eating plants.
 
Wetlands provide habitats for many kinds of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else. For ducks, geese and other migratory birds, wetlands are the most important part of the migratory cycle, providing food, resting places and seasonal habitats. Wetlands also play an essential role in sustaining a productive fishery, with many species of Great Lakes fish depending on coastal wetlands for successful reproduction.
 
Unfortunately, wetlands and the wildlife who rely on them for habitat 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.

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General Resources
Amphibians and Reptiles in Great Lakes Wetlands: Threats and Conservation
Environment Canada
This fact sheet describes the importance of Great Lakes wetlands to people, to the ecology of the biosphere, and especially to the amphibians and reptiles that depend upon wetlands for their survival.

Aquatic Habitat and Wetlands of the Great Lakes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)
This July 1994 paper introduces Great Lakes habitat types, presenting their ecological significance and their present state. It also addresses the types of impacts on habitats, and presents existing habitat protection and restoration initiatives along with a discussion on management implications.

Coastal Wetlands Ecosystem
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)
Presented at the '98 SOLEC conference, this paper builds on the work begun in SOLEC '96. The ultimate objective is to identify areas of the Great Lakes shoreline that contain high quality faunal habitat that could be identified as "Biodiversity Investment Areas".

Ducks Unlimited
Dedicated to fulfilling the annual life cycle needs of North American waterfowl.

Ducks Unlimited Canada
Dedicated to conserving wetlands and associated habitats for the benefit of North America's waterfowl.

Ducks Unlimited: Great Lakes/Atlantic Region
The Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office provides comprehensive conservation solutions to help restore and protect diminishing wetlands in 18 states, from Wisconsin to Virginia and north to Maine.

Great Lakes Wetlands Conservation Action Plan
Environment Canada

National Wetlands Inventory
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Provides such information as wetlands classification, the national list of wetland plant species and maps.

National Wetlands Research Center
U.S. Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior is custodian of approximately 500 million acres of federally owned land and has an important role to play in the management of wetlands. This page summarizes the departments activities regarding wetlands.

Regulatory Programs
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Great Lakes Regional Headquarters
An overview of the Corps' regulatory programs with links to the four districts that maintain the permits for the Great Lakes basin.

Status and Trends of U.S. Wetlands, 1986-1997
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This report provides the most recent and comprehensive estimates of the current status and trends of wetlands in the contiguous 48 states on public and private lands. A major report finding is that the nation's estimated wetlands loss rate has declined by 80 percent from the previous decade.

Wetlands Factsheet
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Great Lakes Science Center
Defines a wetland and outlines their natural functions, value and unique importance.

Wetlands for Wildlife
National Audubon Society
Home page for the Society's Wetland Campaign.

Wetlands Interactive Mapper Tool
National Wetlands Inventory
Integrates spatial processing (eg. zoom, pan, identify, etc.) to allow users to view and identify NWI data in a spatial context. Currently, the applet is designed to display three spatial themes: National Wetlands Inventory, streams and road data. This tool allows the general public to view digital wetlands data, conduct simple processing and print a custom map on their letter sized color printer.

Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA)
WWA was established in 1969 to protect Wisconsin's wetland resources through education, training, advocacy, and research on key issues that affect wetlands.

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State and Provincial Resources
ILLINOIS
Illinois Wetlands
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
The mission of the Wetlands Program is to promote the protection, management, restoration and creation of wetlands to ensure a high quality of life for present and future generations.

Lake Calumet Wetlands
Sierra Club
Dedicated to protecting the wetlands of Calumet region, covering southeast Chicago, some south suburbs, and northwest Indiana.

Twin Groves Virtual Wetland Preserve
Created for Illinois' Museums in the Classroom program
Learn about biodiversity through this online educational tour of Illinois wetlands.

INDIANA
Indiana Wetlands
Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Information on efforts to protect Indiana's wetlands.

MICHIGAN
Great Lakes Wetlands
Michigan Sea Grant
Provides information on Michigan's wetlands as well as maps of the wetlands found in the Great Lakes Region.

Wetlands of the Great Lakes
Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension
These web pages will take you on a tour of some Lake Huron wetlands and explain some of the features.

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Wetlands
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Provides information on wetlands, maps, programs, and permits.

Wetlands of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Educational information on wetlands.

NEW YORK
OHIO
Ohio Wetlands Foundation
The Foundation's mission is to provide cost effective, high quality, wetland off-site compensatory mitigation credits and to fund wetlands research and education.

PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania's Wetlands
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

WISCONSIN
Assessment and inventory of coastal wetlands in Manitowoc County, WI
The final report of a project between the Water Resource Management Program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the Manitowoc County Planning and Parks Commission to examine the coastal wetlands of Manitowoc County.

Assessment of Coastal Wetlands of Wisconsin's Great Lakes
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Learn about wetlands in Wisconsin's Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Mississippi basins in this series of public products.

Waterway and Wetland Permits
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Designed to address many questions regarding Wisconsin's Water Regulation and Zoning requirements and other water related issues.

Wisconsin Wetlands
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
From the calcareous fens near Waukesha to the sedge meadows in Cherokee Marsh, to the tamarack forests of northwestern Wisconsin, wetlands cover a dazzling array of landscapes. Learn how to reverse the decline in Wisconsin wetland acreage and quality.

Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA)
WWA was established in 1969 to protect Wisconsin's wetland resources through education, training, advocacy, and research on key issues that affect wetlands.

CANADA
Canada's Aquatic Environments: Wetlands
Canada's Aquatic Environments: Wetlands
Includes background, types of wetlands and descriptions of wetland regions in Canada.

wetkit: Tools for working with wetlands in Canada
North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada)
wetkit is a web-based tool kit designed to streamline access to practical tools that can help Canadians better understand and manage wetlands. Common questions are answered including: What does the law require? and How can wetland conservation benefit my business?

Wetland Habitat Fund
Provides private landowners in Ontario with financial assistance for projects that improve the ecological integrity of wetland habitats.

Wetlands in Canada
Environment Canada's Freshwater Web

Wetlands Research Centre
University of Waterloo

Working Around Wetlands?
Environment Canada
Published as part of the Great Lakes Wetlands Conservation Action Plan (GLWCAP), this document describes the issues and laws of working near a wetland.


 
Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Environment
GLIN: Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Endangered and Threatened Species in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Environmental Research in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Habitats of the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Invasive Species in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Land Use in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Watersheds in the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: July 26, 2014
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