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The wetlands that border Lake Michigan are an extremely important component of the lake ecosystem. Wetlands are considered to be among the most productive and ecologically diverse habitats on earth, with attributes of both upland and aquatic ecosystems. Although wetlands comprise only a small fraction of the total area of Lake Michigan, they provide habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals and perform environmental functions that affect the whole lake (Wilcox, 1995; Environment Canada, 2002). However, unlike open waters of the lake that have been studied for nearly a century, wetlands have been studied for only a few decades. The numerous forms of degradation and assault on wetland resources have been documented, but few are understood thoroughly. Management of wetlands and the problems they face has thus not progressed quickly, and debates still occur regarding descriptions of wetlands. In this paper, I will review the status of wetland classifications used for Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes, as well as the major management concerns and opportunities presented by Lake Michigan wetlands.


Author Wilcox was a government employee when he wrote this article.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

State of Lake Michigan: Ecology, Health and Management,pp 421-437 Edited by T Edsall & M Munawar · © Ecovision World Monograph Series 2005 Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society