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.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System has a proven track record of successfully transferring and translating reserve science to a broad suite of educators through teacher workshops. In recent years, teachers have expressed a need for curriculum, data sets, and professional development related to climate change. This grant will enable the New England reserves to develop and offer a series of high-quality teacher workshops focused on the story of climate change impacts on coastal habitats, using a variety of data collected at the reserves. The delivery of new and existing curricula will arm over 50 teachers with the tools and confidence they need to effectively bring the discussion of climate change into the classroom.
Fishwerks is a web-based decision support tool that allows users to access optimization tools that identify barriers which, if removed, would maximize habitat improvements for migratory fish in the Great Lakes Basin. This tool was developed by Dr. Peter McIntyre and his team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with support from several partners including the Water Center.
Learn how the Graham Institute helps the U-M community engage with external partners to maximize sustainability impact: Safeguarding our Planet's Life-Support Systems
Infographic overview of how the Graham institute helps support collaborative sustainability solutions throughout the University of Michigan and beyond.
An overview of the Graham Sustainability Institute's work and approach.