Mapping the Lake Michigan Basin

One of the Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance's, or LMSA's, major initiatives is the creation of a comprehensive conservation plan to identify priority areas for protection amid this landscape full of opportunity. A key element of this endeavor is the production of maps to help reveal critical areas of concern and guide conservation planning.

A Critical Resource Evaluation (ACRE) of the Basin

Recently, LMSA set out to update the Landscapes of Opportunity, our first basin-wide mapping endeavor outlined below.

LMSA teamed up with the Trust for Public Land to conduct a Critical Resources Evaluation, or ACRE, of Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Basin, (a project funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation). 

The ACRE process incorporates multiple disciplines. It melds ecosystem data and GIS mapping tools together with community input to create maps that illustrate land with ecological, economic and cultural value. These will help land trusts identify the best opportunities for land conservation, promote the value of private land conservation in their communities, and target resources for conservation strategcially.

LMSA aligned their data to show where permanent conservation will have the greatest positive impact on: protection of prime agricultural lands, critical wildlife habitat preservation, creation of recreational opportunities and protection of water quality in the basin.

You can see PDF versions of each map below:

Critical Farmland Map

Critical Habitat Map

Critical Public Access and Recreation Areas Map

Critical Surface Water Quality Areas Map


Landscapes of Opportunity

In 2003, the coalition of land trusts that was to become LMSA convened with the goal of developing a comprehensive conservation plan for the Lake Michigan Basin. The result was Landscapes of Opportunity, a report and series of maps that intend to highlight important natural resource areas within Wisconsin's Lake Michigan basin. These places are those which will protect the most important land and water habitats of the region, and will provide the greatest opportunities for leveraging financial and institutional resources for protecting those habitats.

Read the full Landscapes of Opportunity report

View the map of Priority Conservation Projects

Landscapes of Opportunity was LMSA's seminal initiative. The planning approach and the resulting recommendations laid the groundwork for LMSA's goals, vision, mission and purpose--all to protect the precious land and water resources of Wisconsin's Lake Michigan basin now and for the future.


photo courtesy of Mario Quintana

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