Background information

Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program

Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario Region), developed the Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP) in Ontario in 1994. With the financial support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency - Great Lakes National Program Office and the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the MMP was launched throughout the U.S. Great Lakes states in 1995. Carried out by a network of dedicated "Citizen Scientist" volunteer surveyors, the MMP functions to provide long-term monitoring of marsh-dependent bird and anuran (frog and toad) species in marsh habitats throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Approximately 750 stations are surveyed each year within Great Lakes basin coastal and inland marshes. Marsh bird surveys are run twice each year, 10 days apart between 20 May and 5 July, and consist of survey routes with 1-8 listening stations spaced at least 250 m apart. The survey period consists of a five-minute silent listening period, followed by a five-minute species call broadcast period, and a final five-minute silent listening period. Surveys are conducted during early morning or evening hours.

For the purpose of this website, abundance indices, based on counts of individuals per survey station, were derived for bird species in each survey year using a mixed-modelling Bayesian framework (e.g., each survey route had its own random intercept) to generate species-specific annual indices. Another model fit an overall linear trend for each species (e.g., to estimate the overall change per year over 15 years).

Please visit the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program website for more information.