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Mapping effort charts restoration tack for Great Lakes
Date:12/17/2012

ied many high-stress sites where particular environmental problems such as toxic chemicals or an invasive species are highly visible. Such remediation efforts, the authors of the new report argue, can be further enhanced by accounting for the full range of environmental stresses at these priority sites, thereby avoiding the risk of cleaning up one problem only to find that others continue to degrade the ecosystem.

In addition to identifying environmental problems, the team led by Allan, McIntyre and Sigrid Smith, also of the University of Michigan, mapped where in the Great Lakes key environmental services such as recreational fishing, marinas, beach use and bird watching reside. The resulting comparative analysis shows a startling overlap of threats in areas where the services are the highest.

"We looked for a nexus between our threat maps and service maps," says McIntyre, "and were shocked to see that most of the high service sites are also on the high end of the threat spectrum."

The new analysis and the resulting maps of Great Lakes environmental stresses and services set the stage for a new generation of restoration efforts, the study authors write in the PNAS report. The study highlights, for example, the potential to broaden the current portfolio of restoration projects by identifying locations of high cumulative stress not currently targeted for restoration. In addition, the maps detail areas of low stress that could be protected by mitigating just one or a few problems.

"Basically, our work systematically inventories the laundry list of things that need to be fixed and where they occur," says McIntyre. "This information can then be used in any given location by local officials and citizen groups."
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Contact: Peter McIntyre
pmcintyre@wisc.edu
608-890-3416
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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