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Lake Erie Biodiversity Planning Forum


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Presented at Lake Erie Management Plan Public Forum, Sept 2010

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Lake Erie Biodiversity Planning Forum

  1. 1. Developing a Blueprint for Conservation of Biodiversity in Lake Erie A multi-partner initiative with anticipated support from the Great Lakes National Program Office of the USEPA through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  2. 2. Summary of Presentation Introduction • Project goal • Outcomes Process for developing the Blueprint • Overview of the CAP process (with examples from Lake Huron, Western Lake Erie Basin) Project Timeline Discussion
  3. 3. Mission of The Nature Conservancy • To conserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
  4. 4. Binational Conservation Blueprint for the Great Lakes
  5. 5. Biodiversity Conservation Priority Areas in the Lake Erie Basin
  6. 6. Biodiversity of Lake Erie • Great Lakes are a GLOBAL priority for freshwater conservation—a young and conservation— unique freshwater system • Each Great Lake has distinctive physical and chemical attributes and is a unique setting for evolution and biodiversity • Lake Erie is the “warmest, shallowest, and fishiest” (i.e., most productive) of all the Great Lakes • Biodiversity is inextricably linked to human well being
  7. 7. Lake Erie Issues Nutrients, Botulism Sediments, Invasive species Watershed Hydrology, Invasive Species, Climate Change, Habitat loss Contaminants in fish and wildlife VHS Algal fouling Beach postings
  8. 8. Project Goal Develop a multi-partner Blueprint for Biodiversity Conservation for Lake Erie that highlights the conservation features (e.g., species, systems, processes, functions) that represent the biodiversity of the lake, identifies the key threats to these features, and develops long-term strategies to conserve a functioning system.
  9. 9. Project Outcomes • Identify biodiversity conservation needs: • Synthesize regional and spatially-explicit data, spatially- conservation strategies and measures of success • Integrate needs & results from existing initiatives • Identify priorities for protection and restoration activities • Initiate coordinated implementation of biodiversity conservation actions
  10. 10. Lake Erie LaMP Other State/Provincial/ State Local Planning Wildlife Efforts Action Plans Lake Erie Blueprint for Biodiversity Conservation Lake Erie Habitat State of the Classification and Lake Map Lake Erie Nutrient Management Strategy
  11. 11. Conservation Action Planning (CAP) Conservation Action Planning
  12. 12. • US Environmental Protection Agency • The Nature Conservancy • Michigan Natural Features Inventory • State Heritage Programs • State Departments of Agriculture • State Departments of Natural Resources • Environment Canada • State Departments of • Nature Conservancy Canada Environmental Quality or Protection • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources • US Fish and Wildlife Service • Parks Canada • Ohio Environmental Council • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food • Local Conservation Districts and Rural Affairs • Sea Grants • Ontario Ministry of the Environment • First Nations Potential funders • Conservation Ontario Core Working Group • Conservation Authorities Steering Committee (LaMP+) • Local Watershed Groups Experts and Stakeholders
  13. 13. • Conservation targets (or biodiversity features): features): Ecological systems, natural communities, species • Planning scope: scope: Area encompassed by conservation targets, sources of threat, and areas for taking action
  14. 14. Lake Huron Scope Biodiversity: Lake Huron and associated nearshore and aquatic habitats. Planning region: Lake Huron basin. This scope focuses on the geographic area that may impact the biological diversity of interest.
  15. 15. Lake Huron Biodiversity Features • Benthic/pelagic offshore What system • Nearshore biodiversity • Coastal wetlands are we trying • Coastal terrestrial systems to conserve • Native migratory fish • Islands or restore? • Aerial migrants
  16. 16. What is our best estimate of how the biodiversity we care about is doing? Burbot photo © Engbretson Underwater Photography
  17. 17. Lake Huron Viability Summary
  18. 18. What threats are creating problems and what is the estimated seriousness of these threats? Round Goby photo © Engbretson Underwater Photography
  19. 19. Who are the key stakeholders with vested interest in the project, what factors are driving critical threats, and what opportunities exist?
  20. 20. What specific outcomes are we trying to achieve? • GOAL: By 2030, at least 60% of the coastal terrestrial system will be in natural land cover, at least 80% of the high quality migratory bird stopover habitat will be in conservation management, and the artificial shoreline hardening index will be below 15%.
  21. 21. What actions are needed to achieve the outcomes? •Objective: By 2015, the benefits of Farm Bill practices to WLEB targets and KEAs will be understood and decision tools will be developed and implemented to facilitate effective targeting of practices. •Strategy: Develop and make available supportive tools, and encourage decision-making based on spatially-explicit information that can be used to target appropriate BMPs in priority places Action •Action: Partner with Purdue University to develop models and decision support tools, and make these accessible to practitioners. •Action: Work with at least four local USDA offices within the Maumee River watershed, as well as regional and state level offices to test and refine the decision support tools for locating BMP's
  22. 22. Dams and Barrier Strategy: Implement an Integrative Approach to Dams and Barrier Management Objective 1: The 2011 Lake Huron Binational Partnership Action Plan includes plans for tributary management Objective 2: By 2015, Complete a Tributary Management Plan for Lake Huron • Lake-wide objectives for fisheries, invasive species, sediment/wetland values, etc. • Explicitly state tributary management needs • Develop recommendations for dam/barrier management (e.g., keep, remove, modify, allow, prevent barriers). Strategic Actions • Complete Ontario barriers GIS layer • Complete attributes for barrier inventory • Map habitat use for key species • Review of watershed plans, lake-wide objectives, other non-natural resource plans. • Map priority coastal wetland and nearshore areas. • Risk assessment of priorities due to climate changes • Select priority tributaries to develop management objectives • Develop draft management objectives for each priority tributary • Public comment on draft management objectives thru partnership. • Finalize objectives and management plan.
  23. 23. Are our actions achieving the desired outcomes? Key Ecological Attribute: Chemical/physical characteristics Indicator: Average Annual SRP concentrations in nearshore waters in µg/L From “Status of Nutrients in the Lake Erie Basin” 2008.
  24. 24. What do we specifically need to do, and who will do it?
  25. 25. How should we adapt our actions and share results to achieve impact at broader scales?
  26. 26. Implementation Challenges • Garnering support of implementation organizations • Funding • Integrating strategy into local watershed, coastal & land use planning (domestic and binationally) binationally) • Integrating actions across watersheds & coastal areas • Integrating science and monitoring of lakes, coastlines, & watershed • Communication/education especially stewardship
  27. 27. Anticipated Project Timeline • October – December 2010 • Establish steering committee • Establish project scope and identify biodiversity features/conservation targets • Establish project website • January – May 2011 • Compile and synthesize data and information on conservation targets and threats, conservation strategies and priority areas from other plans and initiatives • Complete initial assessments of target viability and threats
  28. 28. Anticipated Project Timeline— Timeline— cont’d • May - June 2011 • Workshop 1 to review and refine viability and threat assessments and develop initial conservation strategies • June – December 2011 • Follow-up webinars to complete viability and threat Follow- assessments • Compile work to date and prepare initial chapters of final report • January 2012 • Workshop 2 to refine conservation strategies and measures of success
  29. 29. Anticipated Project Timeline— Timeline— cont’d • February – April 2012 • Follow-up webinars to refine strategies and measures Follow- • Steering committee develops implementation plan • May – September 2012 • Prepare final report and supporting spatial data • Disseminate products
  30. 30. Questions/Discussion