Great Lakes coastal wetlands have critically important ecological values and functions. However, coordinated monitoring of coastal wetland quantity and quality is lacking. The Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium was formed in 2000 to address this critical need for North American Great Lakes. This paper presents the background, framework, objectives, and current and future work of the Consortium. The Consortium consists of wetlands researchers and managers from the United States and Canada. Several Consortium members present papers on specific topics in this journal issue. The Consortium's goal is to design a plan for implementing a long-term monitoring program focused on a concise set of environmental indicators. A year of development work and a year of field work have been completed to date. The Consortium is currently working toward final development and implementation of the monitoring program.

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