Land use change and wetland loss have decreased the ability of estuaries to mitigate storm damage and reduce flooding in Wisconsin’s Douglas County. The loss of these valuable services was apparent in the aftermath of severe storm events that caused significant flooding and damage in 2012. And, as the climate shifts, the region is likely to experience more frequent powerful storms. Strategic wetland protection and restoration planning could help communities work together in protecting wetlands and the services they provide. In their 2013 Collaborative Research project, Lake Superior Reserve partnered with natural resource managers, businesses, and communities in Douglas County to create a watershed-scale wetland conservation plan that enables decision-makers to identify and prioritize areas for wetland restoration and collaborate to reduce flooding throughout the watershed.
As part of this project, the team conducted a geospatial assessment of wetland ecosystem services that includes customized GIS dataset layers that illustrate the distribution of existing wetlands and identify locations where restoration is most likely to be successful and have the greatest positive environmental impact. This site contains these GIS layers and accompanying metadata.