Inventory and Classification

As part of Phase II of the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium program, a binational team completed a comprehensive Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Inventory. (See links to inventory data and metadata below.) Built upon the best coastal wetland data currently available and incorporating a standard classification process, the binational inventory provides a standard reference for the Great Lakes wetland community. The Inventory consists of wetland polygons and points, along with extensive attribute data, compiled from the best existing data sets throughout the basin. All the data have been standardized and the polygons have been stitched together into one seamless GIS coverage (see coverage metadata below for technical details).

Links to Inventory and Metadata

This seamless inventory is now available to download. The Inventory is posted here in five components. The first three are coverages in ESRI export format. These are the original format. The inventory has also been converted to a shapefile and compressed to a zipfile, for those using earlier ESRI products. You will need to save these to your local computer before opening. The metadata can be viewed online and it is also part of the export package.

  1. The complete polygon coverage:  glcwc-cwi
  2. Coastal wetland centroid point coverage:  glcwc-cwi-xy
  3. Herdendorf wetland centroid point coverage — used for reference:  hwi-cwatlas
  4. The complete polygon coverage in shapefile format:  glcwc_cwi_polygon
  5. Link to product metadata

This dataset, a collaborative effort between Canada and the United States, is a basinwide digital coastal wetland inventory of all the Great Lakes coastal wetlands classified using the Consortium’s classification scheme (Albert, D.A., J. Ingram, T. Thompson, and D. Wilcox, on behalf of the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Consortium, 2003). The inventory is the most broadly accessible, comprehensive binational collection of coastal wetlands in the U.S. Great Lakes Basin and will serve as the framework for long-term monitoring of coastal wetlands.

There is a related article, Hydrogeomorphic Classification for Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands, published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research in 2005.

The mapping of the U.S. coastal wetlands was done using geographic information systems (GIS) by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Discipline (USGS WRD) in Columbus, Ohio. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) identified and classified all coastal wetland complexes. Candian Wildlife Service – Environment Canada, in cooperation with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, constructed the map for the Canadian coastal wetlands. A workshop was held to solicit input into both the mapping and classification aspects of the project on May 14, 2003 at the Great Lakes Commission offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The coastal wetland inventory is available for all eight states that surround the five Great Lakes: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The corresponding Canadian dataset can be obtained from the Great Lakes Commission.

Inventory and Classification Reports

Albert/Simonson (MNFI/USGS): Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Assessment and Classification (US)
Interim Report – October, 2003

Ingram/Potter: (EC/CWS, OMNR): Development of a Coastal Wetlands Database for the Great Lakes Canadian Shoreline
Final Report – February, 2004
Interim Report – October, 2003

Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Inventory and Classification Documents and Presentations:

Summary of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Classifications
Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium Inventory and Mapping
Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands – Sampling and Classification Overview

Great Lake Coastal Wetlands Inventory Mapping:

Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands – U.S.

Canada Map Index Layers – Great Lakes Basin

Great Lakes Basin NTDB Map Boundaries – 1:50,000
Great Lakes Basin NTDB Map Boundaries – 1:250,000

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