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Fringe benefit: Value of restoring coastal wetlands for Great Lakes fisheries
Hoffman, J. Fringe benefit: Value of restoring coastal wetlands for Great Lakes fisheries. Seminar, Duluth, MN, March 31, 2016.
Fishery support is recognized as a valuable ecosystem service provided by Great Lakes coastal wetlands, but it is challenging to quantify because multiple species and habitats are involved. Recent studies indicate that coastal wetland area is proportional to fishery harvest among the Great Lakes, that a majority of commercially and recreationally harvested species in the Great Lakes use coastal wetlands, and that wetland condition is related to the number and abundance of high-value fisheries species. This is particularly concerning, as recent monitoring programs demonstrate widespread degradation of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Spawning and seasonal movements between wetlands and the Great Lakes provide the connection between these two habitats. New studies using chemical biomarkers are providing increasingly detailed information on the frequency and duration of these movements. Over the past decade, we have gained substantial knowledge about the ecological role and status of this important resource. Restoring their ecological function will require attention to both maintaining and restoring the quality of coastal wetland habitats, as well as the connectivity between coastal wetlands and the Great Lakes.