Glacial lakes are natural lakes that were formed by glacial activity and are an abundant and recognizable feature of the landscape over much of the upper Midwest. For example, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin each boast of more than 10,000 natural lakes over 10-acres in size within their respective boundaries. The Prairie Pothole Region of the county is an important waterfowl production area for North America and includes portions of eastern Dakotas, western Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa. Clearly, these glacial lakes are a regionally and nationally significant economic and cultural natural resource and yet they are increasingly threatened by a number of human-driven factors affecting sustainable fish and wildlife habitats. These drivers are not universally distributed across the region, but rather most intensely affect glacial lakes on a gradient generally oriented from south to north.
Presently, there is no regional strategy for addressing aquatic habitat protection and restoration in glacial lakes. Many good efforts are occurring in the respective states, however, the coordination of programs and exchange of information and experiences only occurs haphazardly and often as a result of crisis management. This project will develop an aquatic habitat action plan for glacial lakes in the upper Midwest. The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership was recognized by the Board in March 2009.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources