Prioritization campaign launched to inform future lake bottom data collection efforts

By Linden Brinks
Data Coordinator at the Great Lakes Observing System

Part of the Great Lakes Bottom Mapping Working Group newsletter. Subscribe here.

As the need for more lake bottom data becomes clearer and organizations like NOAA and Environment and Climate Change Canada plan future lake bottom surveys, it’s important to prioritize areas based on the most urgent needs. 

In order to balance the needs of hundreds of stakeholders throughout the region, the BMWG is helping to fine-tune and distribute a prioritization campaign that will allow each individual stakeholder to “vote” on which areas are of highest importance to their work and livelihood. The effort is overseen by the US Geological Survey and funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Beginning on July 20 over 400 stakeholders, provided by lakewide action management plans (LAMPs) and the Coastal States Organization, were invited to participate. Once they’ve responded, they will receive a unique login that will allow them to customize a layer of an ArcOnline map. The customizable layer is a grid composed of 10 km squares that users can select and then add additional information on why data is needed, desired data type, and more. 

Part of the national IWG-OCM study, this prioritization effort will be run by the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) and managed by the U.S. Geological Survey and utilizes a tool created by NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NOAA NCCOS) with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and additional project support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

In 2021, results from the prioritization will be available, and those interested in seeing the results or in contributing to the prioritization can email Linden Brinks, GLOS Data Coordinator at

Above: Prioritization participants will vote using the grids of individual lakes like those shown here.

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