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Wetlands Map Viewer: Making Wetlands Geospatial Data Accessible

Wetlands have been described as "nature's kidneys" for the services they provide - filtering pollutants from stormwater before they reach lakes and streams, providing habitat for fish and other creatures, and acting as a sponge to retain stormwater that might otherwise flow into basements and backyards.

A trove of information about Michigan's wetlands is available through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy's (EGLE) Wetlands Map Viewer (WMV). The viewer is the clearinghouse for all of EGLE's geospatial wetlands information, and the second most visited GIS Viewer on EGLE's webpage.

Containing all the wetland inventory information currently available in Michigan, WMV is a one stop shop for landowners, wetland professionals and EGLE staff to access the wealth of wetland mapping available in our state.

The Part 303 State Wetland Inventory, the 2005 National Wetland Inventory, Hydric Soils, and Potential Wetland Restoration Areas are all available as layers, which can be overlaid on multiple years of aerial imagery and other backdrops to get site level wetland locational information.

Because of wetland regulations in Michigan, these maps cannot be used for regulatory determinations of wetland boundaries and conditions, however, these layers serve as an invaluable resource for landscape scale wetland identification and can give the public ready access to the data that can signal them to the need for follow up with EGLE.

In addition to wetlands geospatial information, WMV is also an excellent resource for all manner of other GIS data. Data are grouped by category and include: Coastal Data, FEMA Floodplain Data, Stream Data, Historic Landcover, SSURGO Soils Data, and a whole host of other EGLE Authoritative GIS Data.

Tools are available for geospatial analysis, so users can measure distance and areas, buffer wetland and stream features, search by any geography (TRS, Lat/Long, Street, etc.), and select features to identify details on any water feature contained in our inventories. WMV also includes built in functionality for users to create custom maps containing any of the GIS data available and share an email link or PDF export for use by others. For the GIS professional, many of the Wetland GIS Layers can be clipped to the map extent and downloaded for use in desktop GIS applications.

Several of the latest tools developed for WMV give our stakeholders even more access to the information we use to make informed resource decisions, including our Status and Trends tool.

This advanced functionality allows a user to generate a Wetland Status and Trends report (wetland gains and losses since pre-European settlement) for any geography in the state, including County, Watershed, Township, and City filters. Results can be exported to Excel for further analysis or viewed in the map with one click. Coming soon in 2021, will be the addition of our Wetlands Monitoring information which includes nearly 10 years of intensive site level wetland information for hundreds of sites across the state. Monitoring Sites will be viewable within WMV, and users will have the option to access detailed information on vegetative species, invasive cover, and overall quality of the sites sampled right from the Viewer.

All in all, as Wetlands Map Viewer has evolved over the last 15 years, it has become an indispensable tool for EGLE permitting staff, wetland professionals, and the public to get site level information on wetland quantity, site condition, and site history.

Caption: Wetlands Map Viewer screenshot from webpage

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