Protection & Restoration of Ecosystem Services


Identifying land use tipping points that threaten Great Lakes ecosystems

Overview and Objectives

The goal of this project was to identify land use indicators and tipping points that can be used to develop policies, ordnances, and land protection programs, and identify restoration priorities needed to sustain Great Lakes ecosystems in near shore areas. In order for coastal communities to achieve ecosystem sustainability, they must first know what land and habitat components are necessary to sustain their ecosystems. When communities are armed with science-based environmental limits or “tipping-points”, they are able to institute land use policies and restoration plans that ensure critical green infrastructure and habitat sustaining Great Lakes ecosystems are maintained. (For example, the Sea Grant Sustainable Coastal Community Development network has used a 10% impervious cover tipping point to work with communities to measure their existing impervious surface cover, and implement land use change policies, ordinances, comprehensive plans, and smart growth strategies necessary to keep a community’s impervious surface cover below levels that impact their streams.) The objective of this project is to use existing Great Lakes water quality, biological monitoring, and corresponding watershed land use data to identify tipping points that impact Great Lakes ecosystems.


PrincipaI Investigator(s):
Hongyan Zhang (CILER)

NOAA Technical Lead(s):
Ed Rutherford (NOAA-GLERL)