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Great Lakes Article:

Rare Great Lakes species mapped
CBC News
November 14, 2005

A new database shows rare species and lands around the Great Lakes, information that will help scientists and governments to decide which areas most need to be conserved.

The Great Lakes region is the world's largest freshwater ecosystem. It's home to the highest diversity of plants and species in Canada, but also to cities, industry and agriculture.

To map the rare habitats and species, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources unveiled a guide to the land and wildlife around the province on Monday.

"Everything we do comes from nature," said Dan Kraus of the Nature Conservancy. "We rely on it for commerce, for recreation, and by protecting diversity we're protecting our own interests and for future generations."

The map, called a Conservation Blueprint, is a database of facts, figures and maps available on the web or as a CD-ROM.

It highlights imperilled species found only in the Great Lakes basin including the aurora trout and dwarf lake iris, as well as healthy ecosystems such as sugar maple forests and coastal wetlands.

The provincial government said it's already using the guide to devise legislation to protect the environment.

"We're making sure that what we are doing here today is now in law," said David Ramsay, Ontario's minister of natural resources.

The conservation group is planning similar conservation blueprints for all of Canada's southern regions.


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