Research scientist David Schwab simulated 840 hypothetical spill cases. In the most comprehensive study of Line 5 oil spill impacts publicly available, Schwab presents three potential levels of oil discharge — measured in barrels (bbl), each containing 42 US gallons of oil — including 5,000 bbl, 10,000 bbl and 25,000 bbl in the report. Schwab simulated 840 hypothetical spill cases. More than 700 miles of shoreline in Lakes Michigan and Huron and their islands are potentially vulnerable to an oil release in the Straits. This summary provides an overview of the key findings, based on the full report, Statistical Analysis of Straits of Mackinac Line 5: Worst Case Spill Scenarios (March 2016).
This summary report presents key results of a study to identify potential options for managing agricultural phosphorus loads and lessening future Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie. The research team applied multiple watershed models to test the ability of a series of land management scenarios, developed in consultation with agricultural and environmental stakeholders, to reach the proposed phosphorus loading targets.
This fact sheet describes a new collaborative research project facilitated by the U-M Water Center. This study will model the nutrient dynamics within the watersheds that drain into the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. The planned modeling approach is designed to characterize Detroit River nutrient loads to Lake Erie and then compare the efficacy of different management options. A project advisory group has been assembled to provide feedback on the policy context, planned research approach, and potential information products. For more information, see project web page.
Following a national pattern, Michigan’s honey bee populations are declining rapidly. Since 2005, 30% of all honey bee colonies in the US have been lost each year, a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Because honey bees pollinate nearly all of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in Michigan, this population decline is emerging as a significant threat to the state’s food production.
For a nation with five percent of the world’s population, the United States has an outsized environmental footprint. Americans consume a third of global resources and create a third of the planet’s waste. The food industry plays a significant role in this resource imbalance: results from the 2010 US Food and Agriculture Organization survey show that American’s consumed 271 pounds of meat per person, per year, nearly three times the global average.
This report summarizes lessons learned through a series of restoration projects completed between 2004 and 2015 in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. This information was compiled to help others — including local leaders, project coordinators, restoration funders and professional engineers and biologists — learn from and apply the knowledge we’ve acquired through our adaptive management approach.
Southern California lagoons are complex, both in their environments and their management. In their natural states many estuaries will periodically open and close to the sea, but the strategy in recent decades has been to actively manage these lagoons to be largely open to improve water quality. Recently, however, scientists and managers have been reconsidering this one-size-fits-all approach. Managing a lagoon mouth to be continually open can be expensive, and a lagoon that is allowed to close may engender a unique set of species and environmental services. This fact sheet outlines how the study, supported by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), will focus on using existing knowledge and gather new data to provide managers with the information they need to improve the health of this resource.
The national estuarine research reserves form a network of coastal sites protected for long-term stewardship, research, and education. To support this mission, the reserves conduct long-term monitoring of water quality, weather, coastal habitat, and biological communities using consistent methods. This system-wide monitoring program has great value to support coastal resource management and research. However, this value has not been fully realized because reserve staffs often lack the time, technical expertise, and computational resources to analyze large, complex data sets. This project will provide research staff members from the mid-Atlantic reserves with targeted tools, graphical support, and training to facilitate the use of reserve monitoring data. The project team will focus on deciphering trends in water quality parameters, which are related to management issues such as storm surge mitigation. Through workshops and the development of statistical applications, this project will increase capacity to distill monitoring data into a format that resource managers can use. The project team will share their approach and project outputs with the larger reserve system, and collectively, these efforts will demonstrate the value of the reserve monitoring program.
Communities in the Kenai Peninsula are already coping with a variety of impacts related to a warming climate, including reductions in wetland areas, glacial ice coverage, and freshwater availability, and increases in temperatures, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms. Efforts to document these recent changes will be leveraged to create tangible recommendations and a long-term local strategy for adaptation to rapid climate change. Barriers hindering effective climate change planning on the peninsula include the uncertainty of future trajectories, a need for a synthesis of regional data, and limited capacity for interagency collaboration. This project aims to address these needs and help coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula plan for a changing climate.
Drawing upon experience using scenario planning to help local communities prepare for climate change in the Tijuana River Valley (Southern California), the project team will use the best available science to facilitate local dialogue addressing how climate change may impact the Kenai Peninsula. The project will engage regional leaders and community stakeholders to collaboratively develop plausible future planning scenarios based on a wide range of possible environmental responses to a changing climate. Ultimately this process and the resulting scenarios will help to inform area resource managers and land use planners as they lay the groundwork for future research, regulation, and development. Additionally, the project will document the process and lessons learned to further demonstrate the applicability of scenario planning across geographically distinct communities.