Michigan Foundation Helps DU Map Future of Conservation

The Hal & Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation and Ducks Unlimited have partnered to update crucial wetland maps in central Michigan, providing current data for conservation organizations to inform their waterfowl habitat management plans.

Maps of existing wetlands are vital to planning and managing conservation efforts across North America. DU’s Geographic Information Systems staff analyze aerial data to update the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI), a national wetlands map established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The tri-county region surrounding Michigan’s capital city of Lansing is extremely important for birds migrating along the Mississippi Flyway. The NWI map for that area had not been updated since 2005, an eternity for an era in which development is continually changing the wetlands landscape.

“Wetlands are foremost among Michigan’s bounty of natural resource treasures, and the fact that more than half have disappeared since settlement is great cause for alarm,” says Tom Huggler, Glassen Foundation president. “Upon learning that Ducks Unlimited wanted to use GIS mapping technology to inventory wetlands in the three counties surrounding the capital city, the Glassen Foundation was quick to offer support.”

DU staff have successfully completed the project and will share the updated data with the USFWS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for inclusion in their existing wetland maps and online resources.

Learn more about this partnership and mapping effort at ducks.org/conservation/gis.