Workshop 3.11: Planning for an Integrated Habitat Classification System and Map for the Lake Erie Basin
LEMN Workshop 3.11: "Planning for an Integrated Habitat Classification System and Map for the Lake Erie Basin" was a binational workshop that was held at the F.T. Stone Lab, Ohio State University, Gibraltar Island, Ohio from June 6th to 7th, 2005.
In December 2002, participants at a workshop convened by the Lake Erie Millennium Network (LEMN) identified topics for future habitat-related research and development needs. The first of these needs was to develop a unified habitat classification and integrated map of the Lake Erie basin. A binationally integrated and consensus-based habitat classification would be used to track progress toward achieving ecosystem objectives and would facilitate habitat management and restoration in the Lake Erie Basin in the US and Canada. LEMN researchers received a US EPA - GLNPO grant to carry out this work
To bring together and convene a team of habitat experts to integrate existing habitat classification schemes for 5 natural habitat zones in the Lake Erie basin with the goal of developing a unified, integrated, consensus-based classification system for Lake Erie habitats, both terrestrial and aquatic. Specifically, workshop participants:
- Reviewed and evaluated existing habitat classification schemes for five major habitat zones - terrestrial, inland lakes and rivers, wetland, coastal margin (nearshore), and open lake environments.
- Formed subgroups to achieve consensus as to protocols for a new unified habitat classification scheme. Including evaluation of existing classification protocols and ways to harmonize (cross-walk) these protocols across the five major habitat zones. (We proposed to use a hierarchical approach to build a scheme that is applicable across habitat zones at multiple spatial and temporal scales).
- Identified regional geospatial datasets that could be incorporated and used to classify habitats based on the newly developed unified habitat classification protocols, including definition and collection of geospatial data for the project.
A second Experts' Workshop was held in January 2006 (Workshop 3.12
) to integrate the work of the subgroups into a unified, integrated, consensus-based classification system for Lake Erie habitats.
The project team, guided by the results of these workshops, will apply and test the integrated habitat classification system in two Lake Erie watersheds using existing geographic information system (GIS) coverage and databases. The pilot watersheds are the Maumee River watershed in Ohio and the Grand River watershed in Ontario.
Ultimately, these data and coverages are to be used to compile and produce a basin-wide habitat map based on the unified, integrated classification system that will detail a complete mosaic of Lake Erie habitats in a common format for both the United States and Canada.