Lake Superior Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Released
BY HENRY QUINLAN, ASHLAND FWCO
Lake Superior is the least environmentally impacted of all the Great Lakes, and many of its aquatic habitats, watersheds and coast remain healthy and intact. It is a lake of extraordinary biodiversity, supporting endemic and disjunct fish, unique deepwater forms of Lake trout and multiple life history forms of Brook trout, artic-alpine plants, and Woodland Caribou. The diverse and unadulterated coastal wetlands and rocky shorelines, extensive sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and free-flowing tributaries provide an unparalleled global opportunity for binational conservation and maintenance of biological reference sites in the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem.
The Lake Superior Biodiversity Conservation Strategy was developed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Lake Superior Binational Program Superior Work Group. Henry Quinlan, Assistant Project Leader at the Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) in Ashland, Wisconsin, serves as a member of the Steering Committee that developed the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. Over the past 15 months, he has coordinated input and review of fishery and aquatic habitat information from the Binational Program Aquatic Community Committee and Great Lakes Fishery Commission Lake Superior Technical Committee for this effort. This Biodiversity Conservation Strategy provides a summary of the health and threats to the biodiversity of Lake Superior, and presents a guide to implementation of effective lakewide and regional conservation strategies. The Steering Committee continues to work on twenty detailed corresponding Regional Plans.
The completion of the Lake Superior Biodiversity Conservation Strategy satisfies a commitment in the Habitat and Species Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It can be found at http://binational.net.
Other documents completed wholly or in part by the Superior Work Group include; the Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Complete Prevention Plan (2010), currently being used by USFWS Great Lakes FWCOs for development of lake specific implementation plans for the early detection of non-native fishes and benthic macroinvertebrates, the Lake Superior Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Plan (2014) and, an angler’s guide for identification of aquatic invasive species (2014).
Henry Quinlan has served as the U.S. Co-chair of the Binational Program Superior Work Group Aquatic Community Committee since 2002.