Biodiversity, or biological diversity, refers to the number of species found within a certain area. It can often be used to measure the health of an ecosystem. Biodiversity contributes to healthy ecosystems, allowing them to function well and providing many benefits to humans, plants and animals.

In the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes provide a home for many different species of plants and animals. However, that biodiversity is under stress from a number of factors. For example, in the Lake Huron watershed, invasive species, habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, rapid residential and industrial growth, particular agriculture practices, pollution of tributaries and open waters, altered hydrology, mining and harvest of fish and forests are all potential threats to biodiversity.

Natural resource management agencies and organizations around the Great Lakes are responding to these threats by developing biodiversity conservation strategies for each of the lakes. Michigan Sea Grant recently participated in the development of the Lake Huron Conservation Strategy, profiled here.

Lake Huron Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

The Lake Huron Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is a collaborative, international vision for conserving the diversity of life found in the Lake Huron basin. The Strategy provides conservation practitioners across the basin with a framework for conserving and restoring Lake Huron’s native flora and fauna and answers questions like:

  • How healthy is biodiversity in Lake Huron?
  • What are the most critical threats to Lake Huron’s biodiversity?
  • Where are the most important unprotected coastal wetlands on Manitoulin Island?
    What coastal region of Saginaw Bay is under the greatest threat?
  • Where are the last coastal areas with high-quality bird stop-over habitat in southern Lake Huron?

The Sweetwater Sea: Summary is an abridged, reader-friendly version of the Strategy’s full technical report and is intended to succinctly put the substance of the Strategy and priority biodiversity conservation areas in the hands of decision makers and implementers.

The Sweetwater Sea: Technical Report provides much more detailed information about the findings and recommendations of the Strategy, as well as the planning process and broad stakeholder participation used to develop the Strategy and next steps for implementation. Both documents are available through the links at the right.

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