Priorities for lakebed mapping in the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary
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Priorities for lakebed mapping in the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary

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Priorities for lakebed mapping in the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary
  • Description:
    "The Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary has been proposed along the western shore of Lake Michigan between the cities of Two-Rivers and Port Washington, Wisconsin. Much of the proposed sanctuary and rest of Lake Michigan were mapped prior to 1950 and therefore suffer from multiple deficiencies by today's standards. New technologies can efficiently provide more accurate and finely resolved depths, and characterize the lakebed. However, the proposed sanctuary is a vast area covering greater than 1,000 sq. miles and the entire area cannot be mapped in a short timeframe. Smaller areas must be prioritized to address the most urgent needs. To meet this need within the proposed sanctuary, we developed a systematic quantitative approach and online application to gather mapping priorities from researchers and managers spanning a diversity of fields. The application standardized inputs into a GIS framework that enabled us to identify groups of individuals with shared interests depending on their area of expertise, the types of mapping products that they need, the rationale used to justify their needs, and of course the locations that they prioritize for lakebed mapping. The online application ( was customized for the proposed sanctuary using guidance from a Technical Advisory Team and displayed the present status of lakebed maps, and locations of natural and cultural resources. A total of 22 respondents provided their mapping priorities. We explored multiple ways to determine and display mapping suggestions, including partitioning by the disciplines of the participants, their mapping justifications, and their desired map products. Respondents with primarily geological expertise were interested in mapping two areas, eastward from Two Rivers and along the coast of Port Washington. Respondents with historical expertise prioritized areas south of Manitowoc, around Sheboygan, and off the promontory north of Port Washington. The ecologists were somewhat more diffuse in their priorities and had most interest in the central and northern parts of the area. The most commonly used justifications for mapping included topics such as historical resources, sediment movement, and important natural areas. Commonly selected map products included bathymetry and mapping of surface features. When pooled together, inputs from all respondents identified four high-priority regions: northeast of Two Rivers, in the nearshore waters off Sheboygan and Port Washington, and south of Manitowoc. A few additional areas emerged as highly important using different prioritization methods. None of the 22 respondents placed a single coin in the southeastern 1/3 of the area offshore of Port Washington. The results are expected to help researchers and managers find locations where their interests overlap with others. This allows them to seek out opportunities for collaboration and more effectively invest limited mapping dollars. Results here highlight several areas with not only a large number of respondents demonstrating an interest in mapping an area, but also a variety of justifications. Such areas may have both an ample number of potential collaborators and also multiple rationales for mapping which can appeal to a diversity of partners and funding sources. For instance, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science will use the priorities revealed here to locate a mapping mission this summer 2018. We recognize it will be important to revisit the priorities identified here in 5 to 10 years in response to the changing group of experts and interests in the area, and have linked to broader prioritization initiatives working over longer periods, such as the Great Lakes Bottom Mapping Workgroup and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping program (" --Executive summary.
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