Enhancing Conservation Efforts in Wisconsin

GIS has helped many conservation organizations enhance their work. But GIS is now being applied productively by smaller conservation organizations who previously lacked the resources to do little more than create some occasional maps. In this presentation, by Mike Koutnik, you will hear about how GIS is helping Wisconsin land trusts and the Lake Superior Reserve to carry out their missions. You will learn how Gathering Waters has created a statewide database of all members’ interests in land. This database serves as source data for dashboards to allow staff, elected officials and the public to see and explore the cumulative conservation impact of land trusts across the state. You will also hear about how one land trust, Landmark Conservancy, is working with Gathering Waters and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to refine their proactive land conservation practices to focus on “resilient and connected landscapes.” They are using GIS to bring together a wealth of data, in particular TNC’s Resilient and Connected Landscapes data, to create focus areas for future projects. Finally, you will hear how GIS is being applied to several projects for the Lake Superior Reserve, including detailed habitat mapping, developing a 5-year management plan, and creating a “site profile” for the Reserve. 

The speaker, Mike Koutnik, is WLIA’s Allen H Miller Sustained Service Award winner for 2019 and highly respected in the land information industry, working at Esri for the last 25 years. Coupling his connection to environmental conservation with his knowledge of GIS and its tools in a presentation at this venue on arguably the greatest of Great Lakes makes for a special event. The location of this conference is a sort of homecoming for Mike. He was first introduced to GIS in 1988 while doing volunteer work for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. He has continued to stay involved in the area, helping apply GIS to efforts related to the environment and conservation. Mike is currently a Board member and Secretary for Gathering Waters. He is also a founding board member and immediate past chair for Friends of Lake Superior Reserve. He also consults on GIS with Lake Superior Reserve, Gathering Waters and Landmark Conservancy. Mike lives with his wife and daughter in Eagan, MN, but escapes to the Lake Superior area any chance he gets.

Mike Koutnik – 2019 recipient of the Allen H Miller Sustained Service Award

Mike’s presentation will take place at 1 PM on Thursday October 24th. For more Fall Regional Meeting information and posts will be coming soon please keep up on the latest by following us on Twitter and visiting our Fall Regional Meeting Page.

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