Workshop 3.12: Planning for an Integrated Habitat Classification System and Map for the Lake Erie Basin
LEMN Workshop 3.12: "Planning for an Integrated Habitat Classification System and Map for the Lake Erie Basin" was a binational workshop that was held at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario from January 30th to 31st, 2006.
Under the auspices of the Lake Erie Millennium Network (LEMN), participants attended an experts’ workshop held at the F.T. Stone Laboratory in June 2005, to identify and review existing habitat classification schemes for five natural environmental 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. Five environmental zone sub-groups were formed to each arrive at a consensus as to thresholds and protocols for a new unified habitat classification scheme. This included an ongoing evaluation of existing classification protocols and ways to harmonize (cross-walk) these protocols across five major environmental zones. Participants also identified regional geospatial datasets that could be incorporated and used to classify habitats based on the newly developed habitat classification protocols.
This second Experts’ Workshop will be held January 30-31 to integrate the work of the subgroups undertaken since the June 2005 workshop into a unified, integrated, consensus-based habitat classification system for Lake Erie. Specifically, we will:
- Re-convene the team of habitat experts to evaluate and summarize existing and newly developed habitat classification schemes and geospatial datasets for five major environmental zones – terrestrial, inland lakes and rivers, wetland, coastal margin (nearshore), and open lake environments within the Lake Erie basin.
- Report on the progress of each of the environmental zone sub-groups, including specific recommendations as to how best to classify habitats within each of the major environmental zones.
- Reach consensus on a unified hierarchical habitat classification scheme for the entire Lake Erie basin.
- Initiate development of classification protocols that can be readily applied across the basin.
The project team, guided by the workshop results, applied and tested the integrated habitat classification scheme in two watersheds (Maumee River, OH, and the Grand River, ON) using existing geospatial (GIS) coverages and databases. In the next activity phase, key data and coverages were compiled to produce a habitat map for each of the two watersheds, based on the unified, integrated classification system. The goal was to detail a complete mosaic of Lake Erie habitats in a common format for both the United States and Canada. This work was supported by a grant from U.S. EPA – Great Lakes National Program Office.