Blue Accounting partners with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track investments, impacts in Great Lakes coastal wetlands
Great Lakes Basin – In a historic agreement, Blue Accounting has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better track investments in restoring and protecting Great Lakes coastal wetlands. The Service has agreed to share its Habitat Information Tracking System (HabITS) database for publication in a public platform, substantially increasing the number of coastal wetland projects tracked on www.blueaccounting.org.
With this agreement, Blue Accounting will incorporate the two largest sources of coastal wetland project data in the Great Lakes Basin: the HaBITS database and Great Lakes Restoration Database, which tracks projects funded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Blue Accounting will soon be able to connect information on the vast majority of U.S. coastal wetland investments in the Great Lakes Basin initiated since 2010.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to collaborative approaches for fish and wildlife conservation across the Great Lakes Basin,” said Charlie Wooley, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Region. “The principles of being collaborative, outcome-driven, data and science-informed, and adaptive are shared between the Service and the Blue Accounting Initiative. We are proud to have supported and participated with Blue Accounting since its inception as a means to join with other agencies to develop shared objectives and track progress toward goals. This agreement will allow for better tracking of the region’s progress toward restoring and protecting critical Great Lakes coastal wetlands.”
“Coastal wetlands protect our communities from floods, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, filter our water, and serve as economic drivers for the Great Lakes states and provinces,” said Sharon M. Jackson, chair of the Great Lakes Commission and deputy general counsel to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. “We are excited to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the investments in wetlands that Blue Accounting is tracking, in order to make sure we are best protecting, restoring and utilizing this invaluable resource.”
The Blue Accounting coastal wetland team, led by The Nature Conservancy, works with a regional partnership of state, federal, tribal, nongovernmental and academic organizations to report on investments in Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. This regional partnership, called the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly, is co-chaired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and has identified a collective vision and goals for coastal wetlands. This vision and goals act like a roadmap ensuring our collective actions create healthy coastal wetlands supporting fish, wildlife, plants, and people. The USFWS data provided through this agreement will help track investment and progress toward meeting these shared coastal wetland goals.
Through Blue Accounting, key experts and stakeholders track progress toward shared goals for the Great Lakes, helping decision-makers improve how they are protected and restored. The Great Lakes Commission leads Blue Accounting in partnership with dozens of 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 Sharon M. Jackson, Deputy General Counsel for Governor Eric J. Holcomb of Indiana, is an interstate compact agency established under the Great Lakes Basin Compact of 1955. The Commission is authorized by 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 Basin and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, industry and nonprofit leaders and agency officials from eight states and two provinces. 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 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.