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Online Map Tool Available to Guide Wetland Conservation

The Nature Conservancy is collaborating with citizens, public agencies, academic institutions and other nonprofit groups to restore the health of Green Bay for people and nature. 

One of the many challenges facing the bay is the loss of coastal wetlands, which clean polluted water, intercept waste, protect our shorelines from erosion, provide food and shelter for migratory birds and serve as nurseries for fish and other aquatic life. Another challenge is the bridges, dams and culverts that can disrupt the connection between those wetlands, tributary streams and the open waters of the bay. 

With funding from the Environmental Protection Agency via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Joyce Foundation and other private support, we developed an online tool to identify and prioritize habitat protection and restoration in the Green Bay watershed. The tool considers the important roles played by wetlands and waterways in providing services for people and habitat for wildlife, and in maintaining the health of the watershed and the bay. 

You can find the tool for the entire Green Bay Watershed at: maps.tnc.org/coastalwetlandtool.

You can find the tool for just the Duck-Pensaukee Watershed at: http://maps.tnc.org/duckpentool

For more information about the creation of the Wetland Protection and Restoration Prioritization Tools, please see the complete report at: The Duck-Pensaukee Watershed Approach: Mapping Wetland Services, Meeting Watershed Needs.

How This Tool Can Help You 
Prioritize Wetland Protection

Funding for wetland protection in the Green Bay watershed is limited, so prioritizing the most important wetlands for protection is essential. This tool will help you identify which wetlands provide the most services to people and wildlife and focus your protection efforts by allowing you to:

  • Review where services have been lost in the watershed.
  • Identify which services are most important to you.
  • Select the wetlands that are ranked the highest for the services you are interested in. 
Prioritize Wetland Restoration

Wetland restoration is expensive and time-consuming. In the past, there has not been a way to value restoration sites for wildlife and people for the purpose of setting priorities. This tool will help you select restoration sites based on a diverse set of services by allowing you to:

  • Review where services have been lost in the watershed.
  • Identify which services are most important to restore.
  • Select the restoration opportunities that are ranked the highest for the services you are interested in. 
Prioritize Fish Barrier Removal

Fish populations are declining in Green Bay because of the loss of spawning habitat and barriers that prevent fish from reaching suitable habitat. Deciding which barriers to remove to open the most river habitat for the least amount of time and money can be challenging and may require more information than you currently have. This tool integrates several variables to recommend the most efficient way to increase available spawning habitat.

  • The tool bases the value of barrier removal on both the amount and quality of reconnected habitat.
  • It will identify the priority stream barriers in the area where you are interested in working, based on cost per habitat area restored.

Questions about this online prioritization tool can be directed to John Wagner.

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