Graham Sustainability Institute

Water Center Awards $214,600 Grant for Development of New Great Lakes Ecosystem Management Tools

Monday, March 31, 2014
Sandhill Cranes: Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant

Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant

Contact: Jennifer Read, U-M Water Center, (734) 769-8898,

ANN ARBOR -- University of Michigan Water Center has awarded a $214,600 grant to support the development of new, web-based, ecosystem management tools for the Great Lakes region. The tools will facilitate access to habitat data at multiple spatial scales to support planning and research analysis such as predicting land use impacts on harmful algal blooms and effects of invasive species or climate change on the food web. The project will link planning, restoration, and management needs from across the basin to identify and prioritize objectives for the tools as identified by the management and research community.


Catherine Riseng, U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment (
Kevin Wehrly, U-M/Michigan DNR Institute for Fisheries Research (

Project summary

Great Lakes resource managers commonly express a need for publically accessible habitat data and decision support tools that can be applied to a multitude of issues throughout the Great Lakes basin. The project team has been developing the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework (GLAHF), a geo-referenced, spatial, framework for aquatic habitat data for the Great Lakes. The project will leverage investments by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust in the GLAHF and the team’s existing relationships with resource managers in the development of web-based applications and decision support systems (DSS).

The project is structured to ensure that the tools developed are useful and tailored to managers’ needs. The first step of the project is to conduct a thorough survey, comparison, and gap analysis of existing DSS tools. The project team will then organize bi-national workshops and iterative meetings with managers across the basin to share the gap analysis, and receive input on design and implementation of tools that will be useful to support Great Lakes habitat management, restoration, and policy decisions. These workshops will be comprised of state, provincial, and federal managers from the U.S. and Canada. Feedback from these workshops will provide the basis for development of useful web-based tools.

This work will increase the reach of water research at U-M by providing tools that synthesize GLAHF datasets, and by developing collaborations among the Water Center, GLOS, the Institute for Fisheries Research, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, state and federal agencies, NGOs, and various bi-national efforts across the basin.


Robert Goodspeed, U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Ed Rutherford, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Lizhu Wang, International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Office
Lacey Mason, U-M/Michigan DNR Institute for Fisheries Research

Detailed descriptions of this and all other Water Center supported projects are available at

Since establishment in the fall of 2012, the Water Center has awarded more than $5.6 million in grants to support freshwater research across the Great Lakes region.

The Water Center is part of the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute. It is supported by funds from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the University of Michigan.