Coastal Wetland Restoration in the Great Lakes: Do We Make the Case for Benefits to People, and Does it Matter?
Doug Pearsall, The Nature Conservancy
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About the Presentation
The Blue Accounting initiative helps Great Lakes communities set shared goals and measure whether we are achieving them by transforming existing data into useful information. Blue Accounting currently comprises five key Great Lakes Issues: Aquatic Invasive Species, Maritime Transportation, Phosphorus Control (ErieStat), Source Water, and Coastal Wetlands. Teams work to articulate goals and identify metrics for their issue, track progress towards goals, and then provide information to improve the decisions we make to ensure the Great Lakes remain a resilient socioecological system. The Blue Accounting Coastal Wetlands team works with the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly, a diverse assemblage of federal and state agencies, tribal governments, and private interests collaborating to conserve and restore lands and waters in the critically important coastal zones of the Great Lakes.
Great Lakes coastal wetlands provide ecosystem services that benefit people across multiple domains of human well-being (HWB), and conservation projects intended to improve ecosystem extent or condition often also enhance these benefits to people. However, project managers do not often recognize or promote these benefits in project descriptions. The Blue Accounting Coastal Wetland team has compiled data for over 200 coastal wetland protection, restoration and enhancement projects across the basin since 2010. As new project data comes in, we re-examine the database for patterns in geographic distribution, funding amount and source, recipient type, and project type. In addition, we have interviewed some project managers for their views on HWB. We have learned that HWB projects are providing not only the intended benefits, but unanticipated benefits such as providing access and education to thousands of people who otherwise would not have experienced coastal wetlands.
About the Presenter
Doug plays a lead role in conservation planning for the Great Lakes and in Michigan, including the biodiversity conservation strategies for Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. He manages the Coastal Wetland issue for Blue Accounting – working closely with the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly. He manages the Science Team for TNC in Michigan and leads a collaborative research project evaluating the cost effectiveness of using biomass from invasive plants as a crop soil amendment. He is co-lead of the Midwest franchise of the Conservation Coaches Network, an international organization applying, promoting and advancing the Open Standards for Conservation. He is a member of the Coordinating Team of the incipient Saginaw Bay Water Quality Monitoring Initiative.
About the Series
The Interagency Ecological Restoration Quality Committee hosts monthly Webinars in an effort to bring restoration practitioners from across the country together to present and discuss the innovations aimed at improving the quality of ecological restoration data. Presentations are approximately 45 minutes in length, followed by open discussion.
About the Committee
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Great Lakes National Program Office established this Committee (including federal agencies, contractors, and ecological restoration practitioners) in June 2012 to share and develop quality practices that facilitate collection of reliable data for ecological restoration projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This Webinar series supports this collaborative effort; please join us! Contact Lou Blume (USEPA Quality Manager) for more details.