Graham Sustainability Institute
Freshwater Features
June 2014
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
A Whirlwind Year and a Half 

Since establishment in the fall of 2012, the U-M Water Center has awarded more than $5.7 million to support freshwater research including restoration efforts across the Great Lakes region ($4.2M) and on-campus freshwater research capacity ($1.5M). These numbers are only the tip of the iceberg; there is more to share about the U-M Water Center approach and what has been a whirlwind first year and a half.
In This Issue
Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Maximizing Project Impact Through Evaluation and Adaptation

A key component of the Water Center's approach to program management is evaluation to support adaptation and maximize impact. Evaluation is essential for understanding impact and establishing a learning and adaptation process where project teams can adapt their approach to maximize their potential.
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Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Support for the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

This spring the Water Center played a key role in convening a meeting of Lake Erie modelers, agency personnel, and others tasked with assessing the capabilities of existing ecological models to relate nutrient loads from Lake Erie watersheds to response variables of concern like harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.
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Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Success

In March 2014, the Water Center partnered with the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership, the International Joint Commission, and LimnoTech to host a Great Lakes Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Modeling Workshop at the University of Michigan. Key outputs of the workshop include a strengthened network of individuals working on SWAT applications in Great Lakes agricultural watersheds and a prioritized list of modeling issues and plans to address them.
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Featured Projects

Water researchers Environmental and socioeconomic factors associated with public-private partnership wetland restoration projects benefiting wildlife in the Great Lakes watershed (New York). This project is designed to determine which environmental and socioeconomic factors are key indicators and drivers of success in public-private partnership wetland restoration efforts and to identify ways to increase landowner participation in such programs.
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Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
A comprehensive stressor-response model to inform ecosystem restorations across the Great Lakes Basin (Basin-wide). Working to integrate land-based Great Lakes Environmental Indicators and lake-based Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping stressor gradients into a single map, this project explores stressor-response relationships using a suite of lake condition indicators to assess lake condition, diagnose causes of impairment, and provide guidance for managers to use stressor distribution approaches in decision making.
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Water research Restoring the health of the Green Bay ecosystem under a changing climate: Modeling land use, management, and future outcomes (Wisconsin, Green Bay). This project focuses on integrating existing watershed, biogeochemical, and hydrodynamic models with down-scaled regional climate scenarios in order to assess current and future conditions and the efficacy of available hypoxia mitigation strategies for Green Bay.
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Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Image courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant
Stuck in the Muck: Comparing how experts and local communities see beach muck in the Great Lakes (Michigan, Saginaw Bay). This project will improve efforts to resolve beach "muck" (shore deposits of benthic algae) issues in Saginaw Bay and thereby contribute to a larger integrated assessment project by investigating public and expert perceptions of the problem.
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Water research
Monitoring fish community responses to restoration activities in the Rouge River watershed (Michigan, Rouge River). Researchers are characterizing the fish community composition in southeast Michigan's highly urbanized Rouge River watershed in order to understand how it is impacted by watershed-level restoration efforts.
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Dr. Sandra McLellan
Freshwater Perspective: An Interview with Dr. Sandra McLellan

Learn what it's like to be freshwater researcher focusing on the linkages between environmental processes and human health in this interview with Dr. Sandra McLellan, Professor and Senior Scientist at the School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. McLellan is the principal investigator of the Water Center supported project Urban pollution footprints on the Great Lakes.
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The Water Center is part of the University of Michigan's Graham Sustainability Institute. The Water Center is supported by funds from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the University of Michigan.