Coastal Wetlands

Photo: David Fuller.

Why should you care about Great Lakes coastal wetlands?

The largest freshwater ecosystem on earth, the Great Lakes hold more than 20 percent of our planet's freshwater. With over 10,000 miles of coastline, the Great Lakes are perhaps our greatest natural resource in the region. From the provision of clean drinking water and fish nurseries, to the buffering effect applied to flood and drought events, the coastal wetlands are deeply connected to the people of the Great Lakes. In the face of climate change these wetlands have never been so important for both birds and people.

Unfortunately, more than two thirds of the original coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes have been lost to agriculture, industry or human residence. The wetlands that do remain are under serious threat from invasive species and altered hydrology. As they often do, our birds have served as messengers of these threats with dramatic and long-term population declines sounding an alarm.

Audubon is working to empower our network in the region to protect and restore Great Lakes coastal wetlands that improves habitat for breeding and migratory birds, builds our coastal communities resiliency to climate change and improves water quality for birds and people.

Our Priority Regions

Priority Region: Calumet
Coastal Wetlands

Priority Region: Calumet

A conservation action plan for the coastal wetlands of Illinois and Indiana

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Priority Region: St. Louis River Estuary
Coastal Wetlands

Priority Region: St. Louis River Estuary

Restoring hemi-marsh conditions Wisconsin's marsh birds need to thrive

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Priority Region: Detroit River & the St. Clair Flats
Coastal Wetlands

Priority Region: Detroit River & the St. Clair Flats

Restoring wetlands in Southeast Michigan to benefit vulnerable marsh birds like the Black Tern

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Priority Region: Green Bay
Coastal Wetlands

Priority Region: Green Bay

Restoring wetlands at a critically important region for Wisconsin birds.

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Protecting Vulnerable Marsh Birds

Black Tern Conservation
Coastal Wetlands

Black Tern Conservation

Saving one of the Great Lakes' most iconic species

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Great Lakes Waterbird Conservation
Conservation

Great Lakes Waterbird Conservation

Priority Coastal Wetlands for Breeding Marsh Birds

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Marsh Bird Monitoring
Marsh Bird Monitoring

Marsh Bird Monitoring Hub

New interactive data tool helping inform restoration efforts in the Calumet Region for birds and people.

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Great Lakes Marsh Birds

American Bittern

Latin:  Botaurus lentiginosus

Illustration for American Bittern

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Latin:  Nycticorax nycticorax

Illustration for Black-crowned Night-Heron

Black Tern

Latin:  Chlidonias niger

Illustration for Black Tern

Blue-winged Teal

Latin:  Anas discors

Illustration for Blue-winged Teal

Common Gallinule

Latin:  Gallinula galeata

Illustration for Common Gallinule

Least Bittern

Latin:  Ixobrychus exilis

Illustration for Least Bittern

Marsh Wren

Latin:  Cistothorus palustris

Illustration for Marsh Wren

Osprey

Latin:  Pandion haliaetus

Illustration for Osprey

Pied-billed Grebe

Latin:  Podilymbus podiceps

Illustration for Pied-billed Grebe

Sandhill Crane

Latin:  Grus canadensis

Illustration for Sandhill Crane

Sedge Wren

Latin:  Cistothorus platensis

Illustration for Sedge Wren

Sora

Latin:  Porzana carolina

Illustration for Sora

Swamp Sparrow

Latin:  Melospiza georgiana

Illustration for Swamp Sparrow

Virginia Rail

Latin:  Rallus limicola

Illustration for Virginia Rail

   

Ways You Can Help