New Report Shows Gaps in State, Federal Policies Put Great Lakes Wetlands at Risk

Wetlands are essential for fish and wildlife habitat, flood prevention, and the outdoor recreation economy. A new report examines whether state and federal policies are helping--or hurting--efforts to protect wetalnds in the Great Lakes region.

07-07-2009 // Jeff Alexander

As efforts to restore the Great Lakes gain momentum in the White House and Congress, a new report by the National Wildlife Federation claims that gaps in state and federal policy endanger Great Lakes wetlands.

“Great Lakes wetlands remain threatened,” said Marc Smith, state policy manager for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “Successful restoration of our Great Lakes depends on the protection and restoration of the region’s wetlands.”

A vanishing resource for fish, wildlife in the Great Lakes 

The Great Lakes region has already lost more than 50 percent of its historic wetlands, according to the report. Some coastal areas have lost more than 95 percent of wetlands.

Wetlands filter pollution out of water, control flooding, prevent erosion and provide a home for waterfowl, fish and wildlife that is the foundation of the region’s recreational economy.

The report assessed how well the states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota are protecting wetlands. State efforts to protect and restore wetlands, according to the report, are hampered by incomplete wetland inventories, inadequate staffing, insufficient public engagement, and a lack of priorities to protect and restore wetlands.

Additional Resources:

Press Release: New Report Shows Great Lakes Wetlands at Risk

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