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Environmental threat map highlights Great Lakes restoration challenges
Date:12/17/2012

ANN ARBOR A comprehensive map three years in the making is telling the story of humans' impact on the Great Lakes, identifying how "environmental stressors" stretching from Minnesota to Ontario are shaping the future of an ecosystem that contains 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

In an article to be published online Dec. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group led by researchers at the University of Michigan reports on an expansive and detailed effort to map and cross-compare environmental stresses and the ecological services provided by the five lakes.

Their efforts have produced the most comprehensive map to date of Great Lakes' stressors, and also the first map to explicitly account for all major types of stressors on the lakes in a quantitative way.

"Despite clear societal dependence on the Great Lakes, their condition continues to be degraded by numerous environmental stressors," said David Allan, the project's lead researcher and a professor of aquatic sciences at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment. The map gives federal and regional officials an unprecedented scientific foundation upon which to sustainably manage the Great Lakes, the researchers conclude.

The environmental stress map was developed by a bi-national team of researchers from academia and environmental organizations known as the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping (GLEAM) project. The team drew upon the latest and best data from federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental organizations and individual researchers.

The map represents the combined influence of nearly three dozen individual stressors and is incredibly detailed for a region spanning nearly 900 miles, showing impacts at the scale of half a mile. Thirty-four stressors were examined, including coastal development, pollutants transported by rivers from agricultural and urban land, fis
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Contact: Kevin Merrill
merrillk@umich.edu
734-417-7392
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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