A nearly 17,000-acre area encompassing freshwater marshes, uplands and river on the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin became the 28th member of NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System today. Federal, state and local officials officially welcomed the site into the system at a ceremony in Superior, Wis.
"As the first reserve in the upper Great Lakes, the Lake Superior Reserve adds significant value to the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and broadens the opportunities to study, understand and manage America's coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems," said Larry Robinson, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, who represented NOAA at the ceremony.
Official designation of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve culminated a six-year process that began with site selection and continued with development of an environmental impact statement and a comprehensive reserve management plan. This multiyear process was done in partnership with scientists, agency land managers, public officials and citizens representing local, regional and tribal interests.
Research conducted at the reserve will focus on improving the health of local freshwater estuaries and can assist other Great Lakes communities in addressing similar challenges. The reserve's educational programs also will allow individuals to experience freshwater estuaries and their unique resources, making it a community asset and a destination for students and visitors. The reserve will attract scientists and students from across the nation, including up to two national graduate research fellows funded annually by NOAA.
The Lake Superior site was proposed by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in May 2008 after a two-year site selection process. The reserve will be managed by the University of Wisconsin Extension. It is the second to be established in the Great Lakes and the first in the upper Great Lakes. Old Woman Creek Reserve
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