CMU leads $10 million grant to preserve Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands

Notre Dame film crew captures research
Beaver Island wetlands
Film crews followed Institute for Great Lakes Research scientists from Central Michigan University and the University of Notre Dame, creating a documentary on their study to preserve and restore the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. Preserving coastal wetlands is critical to enhancing water quality in the Great Lakes, which represents 21 percent of the world’s fresh water supply.
 
Wetlands help support a $7.5 billion per year commercial and sport fishing industry and serve as a filter for pollution before entering the Great Lakes. Additionally, they provide major breeding and migratory habitats for wildlife, and some coastal wetlands are crucial for flood control.
 
“Coastal wetlands are critical to the health of the Great Lakes,” said Don Uzarski, founding director of CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research. “We’ve already lost 50 percent of the coastal wetlands surrounding the Great Lakes. We can’t afford to lose more.”
 
With a $10 million federal grant and support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the team is working to protect these vital geographic areas that serve as nature’s filter in maintaining water quality in the Great Lakes.
 
“By boosting the awareness of our impact and long-term effect on these watersheds, people are becoming more educated on how important these bodies of water are to our world,” said Uzarski.
 
The coastal wetland monitoring program supported by the CMU-administered grant measures the ecosystem health of every coastal wetland in the Great Lakes basin, searching for trends in health and water quality. Researchers from 10 universities have been collecting samples of water, vegetation, invertebrates, fish, amphibians and birds.
 
Universities collaborating as part of the grant include CMU, University of Notre Dame, Grand Valley State University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Lake Superior State University, University of Windsor, SUNY Brockport and Oregon State University. Agencies involved in the project are the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Environment Canada and Bird Studies Canada.
 
The Great Lakes watershed covers areas in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania as well as two Canadian provinces.
 
Watch the WaterLogged Wetland Documentary at http://go.cmich.edu/pages/epa.shtml.

Related Images