Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mapping Threats to the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project (GLEAM) three year study  culminated recently in the release of a comprehensive map outlining the impact of environmental "stressors" on the world's largest freshwater system.  The environmental stress map was developed by academic researchers and environmental organizations, representing both the United States and Canada, drawing upon the latest and best data from federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental organizations and individual researchers.  UW-Madison's own Assistant Professor, Peter McIntyre is one of the project's leaders.  

The map complements the report published online for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).  Ongoing Great Lakes restoration efforts are aided by offering this "merged high-resolution spatial analyses of environmental stressors with mapping of ecosystem services for all five Great Lakes"according to the PNAS report. Thirty-four individual stressors were considered, including coastal development, agricultural pollutants, over-fishing, climate change, invasive species and toxic chemicals.  Users are now able to scan the entire 900+ mile chain of lakes, zoom in, and see evidence of environmental impacts to the scale of one half a mile.  Truly an outstanding tool for promoting discussion and aiding actions taken to restore and protect our Great Lakes resources.

View the full map at the GLEAM website here
Access the full PNAS report "Joint analysis of stressors and ecosystem services to enhance restoration effectiveness" is available here
Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's article about GLEAM here