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Search below to access a wide array of products that were generated or supported by the Graham Institute. For more U-M publications related to sustainability, search the U-M Deep Blue database.

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Fact Sheet

There is growing evidence that the New England coast faces mounting challenges due to sea level rise. One of the ways sea level rise threatens the coast is through degradation and loss of salt marshes. Salt marshes play an important role for society in maintaining healthy fisheries, mitigating shoreline erosion, reducing flooding, and protecting water quality. Research has identified southern New England salt marshes as among the most vulnerable in the country, prompting researchers and practitioners to evaluate mechanisms of resilience and opportunities for conservation and management of these important ecosystems.

To build capacity for addressing salt marsh resilience, the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in collaboration with the three other New England reserves, will host a regional workshop for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss the growing body of literature on salt marshes and sea level rise. The workshop will also address the steps that can be taken to minimize loss while adapting to unavoidable change. The one-day event, held in conjunction with the New England Estuarine Research Society’s 2018 spring meeting, will provide a timely forum for information sharing, collaboration building, and the coordination of efforts. The workshop will be an important touch-point for attendees as they consider the challenges and solutions for salt marsh resilience in the face of sea level rise.

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

October 2017
Fact Sheet

This project develops educational materials and tools to educate the general public and decision-makers about the ways engineered land-use changes affect water quality, fisheries, and human health in the region around Grand Bay, Mississippi. Research from a previous Science Collaborative research project, Legacy Effects of Land-Use Change and Nitrogen Source Shifts on a Benchmark System, will inform the educational materials produced. Researchers reviewed the history of land-use change in the region and how it shifted nutrient and pathogen sources within the Grand Bay system over time. At the end of the project, the research team and stakeholders worked together to determine what educational outreach materials produced from the research results were of the greatest value to enhance local water quality.

The project team produces educational outreach materials for audiences throughout Grand Bay. The materials will raise awareness of the positive and negative effects of land-use change for the general public, community organizations, and decisionmakers within the region. The materials will educate audiences about the ways to preserve and protect Grand Bay from waterborne pathogens and excess nutrients. The team will use science-based information to reinforce the importance of reducing stormwater contamination, improving wastewater management, and implementing land-use planning that takes water resources into account.

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

October 2017
Fact Sheet

This project transfers risk communication materials and training sessions developed through a collaboration between the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, with the help of a risk communication expert. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Jacques Cousteau Reserve and the Office for Coastal Management recognized that coastal decision-makers needed effective risk communication skills to help community decision-makers and residents understand and implement resiliency planning and risk hazard management. Their collaboration resulted in the development of a new Office for Coastal Management risk communication training for coastal decision-makers.

These risk communication skills have broad value for National Estuarine Research Reserve System staff and their coastal partners around the country. This project aims to apply the training resources and materials developed by the Jacques Cousteau Reserve and the Office for Coastal Management to build risk communication capacity in four coastal communities. The project combines a general risk communication training with a technical assistance workshop designed to meet the needs of the local decision-making community. The two-day event will allow coastal outreach personnel to be equipped with general skills, as well as with expert insights for specific projects involving risk communication.

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

October 2017
Fact Sheet

Black soldier flies are an innocuous insect with the ability to consume twice their weight in a day during the larval stage, thus transforming large quantities of most organic material like food waste, into fat and protein. This fact has caught the attention of scientists, farmers, and composters all looking for a better way to both feed an increasing population and recycle the growing amount of organic waste produced by that population. With a $5,000 seed grant from the Dow Distinguished Awards competition, a U-M student team conducted a study to determine the demand for a black soldier fly feed production facility, and how this might contribute to an emerging agriculture and waste management industry. Keywords: Black soldier flies, Kulisha, food waste, waste management, agriculture, animal feed

September 2017
Fact Sheet

Southwest Detroit is a community with many needs, including access to affordable housing and healthy food. For Detroiters living in an older home, this means paying high utility bills, unless you can find a house renovated to be energy efficient. To address both the need for energy efficient housing and access to healthy food, a University of Michigan team of graduate students interested in urban socioecology developed the Crow House project. Inspired in part by the settlement house tradition popular at the turn of the 20th century, students began implementing a plan that focused on creating common ground for community and college collaboration among local activists, agencies, and scholars living in neighborhoods. Keywords: Affordable Housing, Detroit, Community Gardening, Energy Efficiency

September 2017
Fact Sheet

As you enter the city, Detroit’s reputation as the Motor City is readily apparent. With wide streets and long blocks, Detroit is a city made for cars. In many places, it is difficult to access amenities – fresh food, jobs, healthcare – without a vehicle. Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based non-profit focused on addressing racism, poverty, and injustice launched the HOPE Village initiative to improve the lives of Detroit residents and break the cycle of poverty. To address transportation challenges in the community. Focus: HOPE partnered with a team of graduate students from the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan (U-M).

Keywords: Urban Transportation, Focus: Hope, Community-based Participatory Research, CBPR

September 2017
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The Emerging Opportunities program, part of the Graham Sustainability Institute, supports collaborative sustainability research and assessment activities that span multiple disciplines and sectors and connect science to real-world decisions and actions. To support these efforts, which range from one-time meetings and workshops to multi-year projects, we offer a variety of regular funding opportunities and resources. This summary outlines a variety of funding opportunities.

For more information, see Emerging Opportunities

August 2017
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Fact Sheet

This project will promote watershed stewardship by developing video modules in American Sign Language, providing professional development for teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, and field experiences for their students. The project team will develop an American Sign Language video module focusing on the concepts and vocabulary of watersheds and estuaries. Education coordinators from the Wells, Waquoit Bay, and Narragansett Bay reserves, along with content experts, will provide training for teachers and interpreters at a Teachers on the Estuary workshop at the Waquoit Bay Reserve.

After receiving training, participating teachers will infuse the curriculum in their classes and bring their students to the reserve in their state for an estuary field study experience. The American Sign Language STEM module will be embedded in the new ASL Clear, an online STEM educational resource made possible through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and developed by researchers at the Boston University School of Education and The Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf. The modules will be posted online for future use by other teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for American Sign Language interpreters. This project has great potential to produce systemic change for deaf and hard of hearing students, their teachers, and interpreters on issues related to watersheds and coastal/marine habitats, furthering the Science Collaborative’s goal to address critical management issues identified by the reserves in order to improve the long-term stewardship of the nation’s resources.

 

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

 

August 2017
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Fact Sheet

Salt marshes and tidal creeks maintain healthy water, protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion, provide nursery and essential habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries, and support recreational activities that are a part of the coastal lifestyle. This project seeks to educate K-12 students on the importance of restoring these ecosystems, using approaches that also meet current science curriculum standards. The Guana Tolomato Matanzas, ACE Basin, North Inlet, North Carolina, and Sapelo Island reserves will create a region-wide student-driven program for teachers that will further the understanding of restoring degraded or lost estuary habitats.

This project will build upon the successes of previous efforts to teach the importance of the salt marsh habitat through cultivating and transplanting smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, the dominant plant in this region’s salt marshes. The project team will transfer information on successful growing techniques for smooth cordgrass among the southeast region reserves. Using existing data on smooth cordgrass cultivation and experiences from past and current efforts, reserve staff, in partnership with the Sea Grant Consortium, will create an online, interactive resource center with a topic-based elementary-targeted curriculum. Teachers will be trained to use these products through four professional development opportunities, one in each of the southeastern states. Ultimately, this will increase the community of practice among participating schools and teachers, increase the use of standards-based curriculum, increase plant growth success, and increase the project’s overall long-term success.

 

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

August 2017
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Fact Sheet

Climate change impacts on Alaskan coasts are occurring at a rate that is challenging the ability of resource-dependent businesses to respond and adapt. Climate change-induced threats to Alaskan fishing communities include changing oceanographic conditions of circulation and temperature, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms, as well as changing stream temperatures, turbidity, and nutrient conditions. Adequate resilience tools for local fishery-related businesses in Alaska have not yet been designed and implemented, which is a barrier to effective community resilience. These issues were identified in a series of climate resilience workshops the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted for decision-makers in 2016 and 2017.

The goal of this project is to strengthen local fishery-related businesses, which buoy coastal communities in the face of natural hazards and disasters. This project will transfer a Resilience Index business self-assessment developed by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. The project team and partners will collaboratively adapt the self-assessment for Alaska businesses using best available science and local issues. The project will convene a network of partners, including fishery industry leaders, resource managers, business owners, non-profits, and resilience experts, to identify and organize focus groups of target audiences. Multi-sector business resilience workshops will be developed using the updated Fisheries Resilience Index, and curriculum and publications will be distributed for additional training sessions in other Alaskan communities. By generating resources and tools for businesses, the project will increase the effects of the Kachemak Bay Reserve’s resilience efforts and further demonstrate the applicability of business self-assessments on impacted estuarine ecosystems and economies.

 

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative

August 2017

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