Standardized Measures of Coastal Wetland Condition: Implementation at a Laurentian Great Lakes Basin-Wide Scale

Donald G. Uzarski, Valerie J. Brady, Matthew J. Cooper, Douglas A. Wilcox, Dennis A. Albert, Richard P. Axler, Peg Bostwick, Terry N. Brown, Jan J.H. Ciborowski, Nicholas P. Danz, Joseph P. Gathman, Thomas M. Gehring, Greg P. Grabas, Anne Garwood, Robert W. Howe, Lucinda B. Johnson, Gary A. Lamberti, Ashley H. Moerke, Brent A. Murry, Gerald J. NiemiChristopher J. Norment, Carl R. Ruetz, Alan D. Steinman, Douglas C. Tozer, Ryan Wheeler, T. Kevin O’Donnell, John P. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Since European settlement, over 50 % of coastal wetlands have been lost in the Laurentian Great Lakes basin, causing growing concern and increased monitoring by government agencies. For over a decade, monitoring efforts have focused on the development of regional and organism-specific measures. To facilitate collaboration and information sharing between public, private, and government agencies throughout the Great Lakes basin, we developed standardized methods and indicators used for assessing wetland condition. Using an ecosystem approach and a stratified random site selection process, birds, anurans, fish, macroinvertebrates, vegetation, and physico-chemical conditions were sampled in coastal wetlands of all five Great Lakes including sites from the United States and Canada. Our primary objective was to implement a standardized basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program that would be a powerful tool to inform decision-makers on coastal wetland conservation and restoration priorities throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Neil Schock, David Schuberg, Alexandra Bozimowski, and Thomas Langer reviewed the manuscript. We also thank the editor, associate editor and two referees for their substantial contributions. Drs. Leah Minc and Alan Tepley assisted in the data analyses that led to the current plant metrics. The research was carried out by researchers from 11 US and Canadian universities, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and Bird Studies Canada. Funding for this work was provided by the Great Lakes National Program Office under the United States Environmental Protection Agency, grant number GL-00E00612-0 as part of the US federal government’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Although the research described in this work has been partly funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it has not been subjected to the agency’s required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. This paper is Contribution Number 76 of the Central Michigan University Institute for Great Lakes Research and Contribution Number 613 of the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).


  • Disturbance
  • Ecosystem health
  • Great Lakes
  • IBI
  • Indices of biotic integrity
  • Monitoring
  • Stressor
  • Wetlands


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