The funding comes by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin Sea Grant.
Dr. Don Uzarski, Director of the IGLR, says this research is crucial to the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
“Imagine a coastal wetland just along the shoreline of one of the Great Lakes. That coastal wetland is somewhere between a truly aquatic system and something upland. It’s essentially the last line of defence of anything coming off the landscape has to go through that coastal wetland, and that coastal wetland has the function of removing that material before it makes it into the great lakes.”
Uzarski says over time, the U.S. has lost half of its native wetlands.
In certain areas, like the Saginaw Bay region, up to 95 percent of the coastal wetlands have been repurposed or severely impacted by invasive species.
The newly announced funding comes on top of a five-year $10-million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that IGLR researchers are already receiving.