The Great Lakes Environmental Indicators Project Includes Cooperators from Across the Basin

The Great Lakes Environmental Indicators Project Includes Cooperators from Across the Basin

We should all be aware of this project spanning the Great Lakes. The goal of the Great Lakes Environmental Indicators (GLEI) Project is to develop a set of species and chemicals that can serve as environmental indicators to assess the condition of Great Lakes coastal wetlands and coastal margins. Coastal margin conditions are influenced by land uses in the Great Lakes watershed. The indicators identified by this project will allow Great Lakes managers to guide development of monitoring programs to measure change, and to identify areas in need of restoration or conservation.

To accomplish this goal, cooperating scientists will concurrently sample amphibians, fish, invertebrates (“bugs”) , vegetation, algae, and analyze water quality at the same locations in coastal wetlands and coastal margins of the U.S. Great Lakes shoreline from Duluth, Minnesota, to Watertown, New York.

In addition to researchers at The Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) of the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), the project will include experts from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University (New York), University of Windsor-Canada, John Carroll University (Ohio), and the University of Michigan. Scientists from the U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division in Duluth and research station in Grosse Isle, Michigan, are also major cooperators on the project.

Study sites for this massive project will span the 200,000-square-mile Basin. Research will be broken into five major components: water quality and diatoms (group of microscopic algae); fish and macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, crustaceans, and worms); wetland vegetation; birds and amphibians; and chemical contaminants.

Visit the project website at



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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.