Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 9, 2013

Great Lakes Study

Bird Studies Canada 1995-2012 recently completed the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, an 18 year survey of birds and frogs as indicators of ecosystem health. The report summarizes changes in populations of marsh birds and frogs from 1995 to 2012 at various scales within the Great Lakes basin, upstream from the Ontario-Québec border on the St. Lawrence River.

Populations of most marsh breeding birds declined across the Great Lakes basin during the study period, whereas populations of most frogs remained stable. The results suggest that marsh ecosystem health has not improved in the Great Lakes basin over the past 18 years. Ten of 19 marsh-associated breeding species (53%) showed population declines across the Great Lakes basin .  Species experience population losses included Least  Bittern, Canada Goose, Forster’s Tern,  American Coot, Common Gallinule, Least Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe, Sora, and Virginia Rail. Wetland loss and environmental stress linked to human population surrounding coastal marshes probably contributed to most of the patterns in the report.


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