Coastal wetland partners at Ogontz Bay, Michigan Photo: Nat Miller / Audubon
With more than 20% of our planet's freshwater and over 11,000 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.