Sharing great science from the Great Lakes

Sunset over Wilson Island, Lake Superior, Ontario (Photo by Michelle Derosier, Thunderstone Pictures)

Sunset over Wilson Island, Lake Superior, Ontario (Photo by Michelle Derosier, Thunderstone Pictures)

February 25, 2014 | by Dan Kraus

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and The Nature Conservancy (U.S.) recently published a paper in the journal Environmental Practice that analyzes the results of the recently completed biodiversity conservation strategies in context of the new Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and other initiatives. 

“Make No Little Plans: Developing Biodiversity Conservation Strategies for the Great Lakes" chronicles recent changes in policies that impact the management of the Great Lakes, and the role that biodiversity conservation strategies can play in conserving and restoring the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. The paper also explores some of the challenges of conservation planning in large, complex ecosystems.

The paper outlines that the Great Lakes remain threatened by six key issues: 

  • aquatic invasive species
  • coastal development
  • climate change
  • coastal invasive species
  • dams and barriers that impede fish migration
  • non-point-source pollution

Conservation and restoration of the Great Lakes will require both lake-wide and place-based conservation strategies. The biodiversity conservation strategies identified some of these priority areas for action.

The recommended strategies are characterized by six themes:

  • coastal conservation
  • invasive species
  • connectivity and hydrology
  • fish restoration
  • nearshore water quality
  • climate change

 NCC has integrated many of these strategies into the conservation plans for natural areas that include the Great Lakes, such as Lake Superior and Manitoulin Island.

 The title of the paper incorporates a quote from American architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham:

"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized."

Download a copy of the paper here >

Dan Kraus

About the Author

Dan Kraus is the director of national conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.

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