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GLIN==> Great Lakes coastal wetlands monitoring initiative

Great Lakes Commission Media Advisory

For immediate release
January 9, 2001

Contact:  Julie Wagemakers
Phone:  734-665-9135
Fax:  734-665-4370
E-mail:  juliew@glc.org

Great Lakes Commission to lead large-scale Great Lakes coastal wetlands 
monitoring initiative

Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Great Lakes Commission and a binational consortium 
of Great Lakes wetland scientists and resource managers recently were 
awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes 
National Program Office (U.S. EPA-GLNPO) for the first year of a three-year 
effort to assess the ecological health of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. 
 This is the largest binational effort of its kind to date and promises to 
set a new standard for binational cooperation on an issue of shared 

Wetland scientists and resource managers from federal governments, states, 
provinces, nonprofit organizations and academia will further develop and 
refine indicators of ecological health for Great Lakes coastal wetlands 
that were recommended during the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference 
held in Hamilton, Ontario, in October 2000. The consortium also will design 
a long-term program to monitor Great Lakes coastal wetlands and create a 
binational database accessible to all scientists, decisionmakers and the 

Dr. Thomas M. Burton, professor of zoology and fisheries and wildlife at 
Michigan State University, has been appointed chair of the Project 
Management Team.  "I look forward to the challenge of working with a large 
group of researchers and resource managers to accomplish these tasks," says 
Burton. "The extent, ecological and economic values, and functioning of 
Great Lakes coastal wetlands has not been well-documented in the past. This 
daunting challenge is exciting, and I am very happy to be part of the 

"This binational project takes a very important step in determining the 
health of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, which are so essential to the en  
vironmental and economic prosperity of the region," adds Nat Robinson, 
chair of the Great Lakes Commission.

Coastal wetlands are an integral part of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem, 
and they have critically important ecological values and functions, such as 
filtering pollutants and providing habitat for many animal species. 
 However, basinwide data  for assessing their ecological health are 
lacking.  The consortium will expand the monitoring and reporting 
capabilities of the United States and Canada under the Great Lakes Water 
Quality Agreement.  U.S. EPA-GLNPO has contributed $400,000, and the other 
consortium members are contributing more than $200,000 for the first year 
of the project.  Similar funding levels are expected for each of the next 
two years.

More information about the project, including a list of consortium members, 
is available online at http://www.glc.org/monitoring/wetlands.

The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), 
is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. 
federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy 
environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence 
region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, 
agency officials and governors' appointees from its eight member states. 
 Associate membership for Ontario and Quebec was established through the 
signing of a "Declaration of Partnership."  The Commission maintains a 
formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, 
tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests.  The 
Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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