Lake Michigan Biodiversity Conservation Strategies

Watershed: Lake Michigan
Project Lead / Organization: Doug Pearsall and Patrick Doran, The Nature Conservancy; John Paskus, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

As you may know, The Nature Conservancy, and Michigan Natural Features Inventory are working with multiple experts and stakeholders to develop biodiversity conservation strategies for Lake Michigan (see attached brief project summary). An important part of developing biodiversity conservation strategies for Lake Michigan is to assess threats to biodiversity, and we would like your help in doing that.

Lake Michigan is large and highly variable, and people—both individuals and communities—often identify with portions of the lake (such as Green Bay, etc). Therefore we have stratified the lake into Reporting Units and Assessment Units, based on major patterns of circulation and bathymetry (see attached map-contact us if you would like more information on the process of stratification) and we are structuring our threat assessment at the Reporting Unit scale to account for that variation and allow us to report at a more meaningful scale than the entire lake. We have set up separate surveys for each reporting unit in Lake Michigan. Please feel free to complete all of these if you are familiar with all portions of the lake, or choose only those with which you are familiar. Each survey should require 10 – 30 minutes depending on how familiar you are with the threats in that reporting unit. Use the attached “Threat Rating Criteria” document to rate the categories seen in the survey. You may even want to print this document or have the pdf open for reference while filling out the survey(s).

For the sake of consistency, we are following a published taxonomy of threats and conservation actions (Salafsky et al. 2008, attached). You will notice that most of the threats that appear in the survey use the wording of this taxonomy, but if you know of a threat that doesn’t quite fit the taxonomy, we encourage you to add that threat to the list for a particular target in a way that makes sense to you; we will sort out the relationship to the taxonomy later.

Finally, please complete your surveys by October 24. We will then close the surveys and begin compiling responses immediately after that date. We will seek feedback on the summarized threat ratings, especially those for which there were large discrepancies among the expert ratings.

Links to the surveys appear below.

Thank you for your time and expertise!

Northern Basin:
Green Bay:
Central Basin:
Mid-Lake Plateau:
Southern Basin:



Unified Classifications of Threats and Actions

Threat Rating Criteria

Lake Michigan Strat Units Map

Member Projects

Forum members are involved with many projects.

Ms. Kae DonLevy

Managing the WI CLean Marina Program. Coordinating the Gatheirng Waters F… Read More

Ms. Kathy Evans

The restoration of coastal habitats, the cleanup of legacy pollution and th… Read More

Mr. Bill Hafs

Agriculture nonpoint control, Northern pike habitat restoration, buffer str… Read More

Ms. Vicky Harris

Fox River TMDL analysis for total maximum daily loads of phosphorus and sus… Read More

Mr. Martin Jaffe

Water supply planning and policy… Read More

Ms. Angela Larsen

Coordinate multi-jurisdictional planning, monitoring, and grant submissions… Read More

Ms. Kathy Luther

Comprehensive regional planning for Northwest Indiana that will protect Lak… Read More

Mr. Greg Mund

Wildlife Habitat restoration; Contaminated sediment clean-ups; Public parti… Read More

Ms. Kay Nelson

Great Lakes Compact, historical (passage) and current implementation activi… Read More

Mr. Todd Parker

Harbor & Marina Eco-EMS work… Read More

Ms. Henrietta Saunders

Public outreach on the importance of improving, conserving, protecting, fun… Read More

Mr. Bill Schleizer

Nature resource valuation and ecosystem markets.… Read More

Mr. Larry Smith

Domestic and international resource management, ecosystem rehabilitation, d… Read More

Dr. Janet Vail Ph.D

The Making Lake Michigan Tour, which is onboard public outreach and eductio… Read More

Ms. Barbara Waller

Environmental education and out-of-doors learning programs for school-age c… Read More