Blue Accounting releases most comprehensive database of coastal wetlands projects in the Great Lakes
Ann Arbor, Mich. – Blue Accounting has released the most comprehensive database of coastal wetlands protection, restoration and enhancement projects in the Great Lakes Basin on their information hub at www.blueaccounting.org. For the first time, decision-makers and stakeholders can view state, federal, provincial and private investments side-by-side and track progress toward acreage goals identified for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
“The list of organizations that invest in and manage coastal wetlands is long and getting longer all the time,” said John Linc Stine, chair of the Great Lakes Commission and executive director of the Minnesota-based Freshwater. “To understand how much progress we are making and where the next investments should be, the Commission and all the investing organizations need a big picture view of the work that is being done across all of these state, provincial, federal and private partners.”
Through Blue Accounting, key experts and stakeholders come together to identify shared goals, track progress toward those goals, and deliver that information to Great Lakes decision-makers, helping them improve how the lakes are managed. Blue Accounting worked with the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly to launch the Coastal Wetlands issue on the hub. The Coastal Assembly is a regional partnership of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and academic researchers dedicated to working together to conserve and restore lands and waters in the critically important coastal zones of the Great Lakes.
“There is a great community of coastal wetlands practitioners and experts around the Basin,” says Michelle Selzer, Lake Coordinator with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and Coastal Assembly member. “These ecosystems not only provide critical habitat, but also buffer our shorelines during storms, filter runoff, and attract tourism. We’re excited to work with Blue Accounting to raise the profile of these important systems and have an accessible, transparent way to track our progress toward protecting, restoring and enhancing them.”
The information hub has interactive maps displaying investments and progress toward GLRI acreage targets. These maps allow users to filter results by attributes like jurisdiction and congressional district and generate custom tables and graphs. The interface also supports networking by allowing users to access individual project details and contact information. Going forward, Blue Accounting and the Coastal Assembly will continue to grow the hub’s data sources, with the goal of delivering data from all states, provinces, federal agencies and private organizations working on coastal wetlands. The suite of goals and metrics tracked will also be expanded to include additional environmental goals and metrics, as well as social and economic ones.
Christie Deloria, co-chair of the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly said, “We care about wetland acreage because of the value those acres provide for fish, wildlife, and people. I’m excited to begin developing stories and visualizations in the next several months that complement the acreage data and begin showing those values.”
The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and The Nature Conservancy co-lead Blue Accounting, in partnership with federal, state, provincial, local and private sector organizations. Blue Accounting receives funding support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chair John Linc Stine, former commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission office is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.