U-M Water Center
U-M Water Center Update, Winter 2016
Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant

Continued green infrastructure support in the city of Detroit

With a grant from the Erb Family Foundation, the Water Center is continuing to support research collaboration among the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and researchers from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University as they work to integrate green infrastructure designs into urban blight removal practices.

This collaboration, led by Joan Nassauer, professor of landscape architecture in the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, builds on previous work by the research team and their City of Detroit and neighborhood collaborators to design and build pilot stormwater, or bioretention, gardens in the former basement space of abandoned and demolished homes. Read more

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Putting Hydrodynamics Research to Work for Fish

Restoring riverine fish habitat, especially in high energy systems such as the St Clair and Detroit Rivers, is a complex process and requires input from biologists, engineers, and people that use the river system. The Water Center has been working with researchers from the U-M College of Engineering to improve the way artificial fish spawning reefs are designed. Read more


The Lure of Pheromones: Sea Lamprey Follow the Scent

Last month, the first vertebrate pheromone was registered by the USEPA as a biopesticide to help control the invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. Learn more about this milestone from sea lamprey pheromone expert and Water Center researcher, Cory Brant. Read more

Microplastics in the Great Lakes: Towards establishing a long-term multidisciplinary research platform to assess the impact of microplastics on Laurentian Great Lakes ecosystem health

Project Photo

A cross-disciplinary team is taking a comprehensive approach to understanding the ecological and environmental health risks of plastics in the Great Lakes. This foundational research is helping to answer critical questions about an emerging and high profile water resources issue. Read more

A standardized method for monitoring the treatment and control of invasive Phragmites australis along the Great Lakes coastline

Project Photo

Phragmites australis is an aggressive, invasive plant species contributing to the overall degradation of wetland quality and ecosystem services. Significant resources are expended on its control but assessments of treatment activities, particularly at the landscape scale and with regard to native vegetation recovery, are often lacking. This study developed methods for monitoring the effectiveness of herbicide spraying for controlling Phragmites. Read more

Comparing water quality measurements from different sources: A Bayesian hierarchical modeling approach

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The continuing assessment of large water bodies, such as Lake Erie, relies on water quality monitoring data from a network of stations managed by different institutions. Often sampling protocols and analytical methods differ and may not be comparable across institutions. This project involved developing and testing a statistical model for linking data gathered with different sampling methods. The result is that existing data sets may now be combined to carry out holistic lake analysis in a way not previously possible. Read more

Birds as indicators of contaminant exposure in the Great Lakes: Chromosomal damage assessment via flow cytometry

contaminants and birds

There are currently 36 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes region and there is a tremendous need to monitor these sites, particularly during and after remediation efforts. The use of sentinel species to monitor the impact of contaminants on wildlife is well established. This project made use of tree swallow samples from across the Great Lakes region to assess contaminant-induced DNA damage. Read more

Freshwater Perspective: An interview with a sea lamprey pheromone expert

As researcher Cory Brant will tell you, pheromones are the name of the game when it comes to promising new strategies for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes. Learn more about the diversity of research Cory has been engaged in, including his current efforts to collect oral histories from individuals who dealt with the destructive nature of the sea lamprey. Through this project, Cory will gain a new understanding about why sea lamprey control remains successful in the Great Lakes and determine how this information may inform control of new aquatic invasive threats entering the Great Lakes. Read more

Cory Brant photographed by Andrea Miehls


Learn more about water research and its applications through these Water Center supported products.


Rooted in our Great Lakes experience, the University of Michigan Water Center addresses critical and emerging regional and national water resource challenges. Our mission is to foster collaborative research that informs the policy and management decisions that affect our waters.


Graham Sustainability Institute


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