Research Engagement

The Research Engagement Team at CIGLR helps scientists collaborate with stakeholders & rights holders to turn research into action for the Great Lakes community. 

Have you ever looked for information about Great Lakes water conditions to make a decision? If the answer is yes, then you are a CIGLR stakeholder! Our stakeholders include community groups like anglers, ship captains, public water system operators, beach goers, public health professionals, natural resource managers, and many others.

Research engagement is a two-way interaction between researchers & end-users for the mutually beneficial development & transfer of knowledge. When stakeholders, rights holders, and end-users engage in the development of research projects and products, we are able to achieve our engagement goals:

    1. Create Great Lakes research products that answer critical stakeholder questions and meet their most pressing information needs.
    2. Ensure that our research products are easy to use, easy to access, and appreciated by end-users
    3. Facilitate positive and effective communication between Great Lakes scientists and stakeholders, rights holders, and end-users
    4. Build CIGLR’s reputation in the region as an authority on Great Lakes research, and a resource for community groups

2. Harmful Algal Blooms

CIGLR and GLERL’s harmful algal blooms (HABs) research team have incorporated stakeholder engagement efforts into the development of research priorities and products, including the Experimental Lake Erie HAB Tracker.

Example HAB Tracker animation.

Lake Erie HAB TrackerIn 2016, CIGLR conducted focus groups with recreational anglers and charter captains to understand the decisions they make related to fishing during harmful algal blooms (HABs). Participants varied in their perceptions of health risks and the impacts of HABs on fish, but all agreed that they prefer to avoid fishing in HABs because it detracts from the overall fishing experience. This was valuable information for scientists developing the Experimental Lake Erie HAB Tracker, a decision-support tool that predicts bloom occurrence over a five-day period. By engaging people who are impacted by HABs during the development process, scientists were able to design this product in a way that ensures that it is useful. The Experimental HAB Tracker was transitioned to the operational Lake Erie HAB Bulletin in 2020, where it continues to support recreation in Lake Erie by identifying  locations with clear water.

Monitoring HABs in Saginaw Bay: CIGLR has partnered with Michigan Sea Grant and other regional stakeholders in the Saginaw Bay watershed to understand information needs related to Saginaw Bay HABs. In 2019, a workshop was held to explore stakeholder concerns regarding the blooms, share CIGLR monitoring data for Saginaw Bay, and explore interest in the development of research products for Saginaw Bay. Work to understand the state of HABs in Saginaw Bay and related stakeholder information needs is ongoing.

3. Hypoxia

Experimental Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecast. Click image to see animation.

CIGLR and the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab are partnering with Cleveland Water and other Ohio public water systems to develop a hypoxia forecast for the central basin of Lake Erie. Prolonged periods of hypoxia can increase levels of manganese in the water. When this water infiltrates public water intakes, it creates public health risks and increases the difficulty of drinking water treatment. This short-term forecast will give predictions of hypoxia events at the time scale of a typical weather forecast (5-10 days. The hypoxia forecast is active from July to October, and provides advance warning of hypoxic events to drinking water treatment plants that draw their water from Lake Erie. By planning ahead for treatment actions, plant operators will be better prepared to respond to changes in source water quality.

4. Ice Forecasting

Experimental Great Lakes Ice Forecast. Click image to see animation.

CIGLR and NOAA GLERL are working to improve the usability of NOAA’s Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS) by including stakeholders in the design of a Great Lakes Ice Forecast. An easy-to-use ice forecast will be designed to help lake vessels and the 9th District U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) navigate dangerous ice conditions, prepare for emergency responses, and reduce risk of vessel damage due to ice. Workshops, surveys, and focus groups continue to be conducted to assess information needs and develop a forecast user interface. A stakeholder engagement report for the Great Lakes Ice Forecast workshop held on July 11th, 2019 in Cleveland can be read here.

In addition, the team continues to conduct interviews and focus groups in the follow-on project in collaboration with Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment (GLISA). The final report from this follow-on project is expected to be available in April 2022.

Stay up-to-date on the most recent news and scientific media generated from our Research Engagement Team here:


Harmful Algal Blooms


Ice Forecasting


Publications & Presentations

Lower, E., Sturtevant, R. and Gill, D. 2020. Sharing Feedback, Sharing Screens: Videoconferencing as a Tool for Stakeholder-Driven Web Design. Journal of Extension.

Harmful Algal Blooms


  • Johengen, T. 2019. A review of Saginaw Bay Water Quality and Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring. [Presentation]
  • Rowe, M. 2019. Development of an Experimental Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast for Saginaw Bay. [Presentation]
  • Devin Gill. 2019. Assessing Community Need for a Saginaw Bay Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast [Presentation]. International Association for Great Lakes Research Annual Conference.
  • Stow, C. 2019. Saginaw Bay Harmful Algal Blooms – Nutrient Status. [Presentation]
  • Rowe, M. 2019. Saginaw Bay Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast. [Presentation]
  • Tompkins, J. 2018. Focus Group Presentation. [Presentation]
  • Devin Gill (September 26, 2018). Using Knowledge Coproduction to Engage Stakeholders in Great Lakes Research [Webinar]. In USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf-Water Science Center Science Seminar.
  • Gill, D. 2017. Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie: HAB Tracker. [Presentation]
  • Devin Gill. 2016. Understanding the Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting Needs of Lake Erie Anglers [Presentation]. International Association for Great Lakes Research Annual Conference. 


  • Gill, D., M. Rowe, and S. Joshi. 2018. Fishing in Greener Waters: Understanding the impact of harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie anglers and the potential for adoption of a forecast model. Journal of Environmental Management (227): 248-255. (DOI:10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.08.074).
  • Guo, T., D. Gill, T.H. Johengen and B.J. Cardinale. 2019. What determines the public’s support for water quality regulation to mitigate agricultural runoff? Environmental Science and Policy. (101):323-330. (DOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.09.008).



  • Devin Gill. 2018. Applying Natural Science and Social Science to Co-produce a Hypoxia Forecast with Public Water Systems [Presentation]. International Association for Great Lakes Research Annual Conference.
  • Rowe, M. 2018. Experimental Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecasting for Public Water Systems Decision Support. [Presentation]
  • Stow, C. 2018. Saginaw Bay Harmful Algal Blooms: Nutrient Status. [Presentation]
  • Gill, D. 2018. Experimental Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecast Focus Group & Evaluation Survey Results. [Presentation]
  • Rowe, M. 2018. Hypoxia in Lake Erie: An Overview. [Presentation]
  • Rowe, M. 2018. Developing a Hypoxia Forecast Model for the Central Basin of Lake Erie. [Presentation]

Ice Forecasting


  • Gill, Devin, Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome, Kripa Jagannathan, Maria Lemos. 2020. Improving Environmental Forecast Models through Stakeholder Engagement. [iPoster].
  • Devin Gill. 2019. Assessing Stakeholder Need for a Short-Term Great Lakes Ice Forecast. [Presentation]. 2019 Great Lakes Ice Conference held by the 9th District US Coast Guard. 
  • Fujisaki-Manome, A. 2019. Great Lakes Ice Forecast Model Development. [Presentation]


  • Improving the Usability of Great Lakes Ice Forecasts through Knowledge Co-production. 2021. [Website]
  • Fujisaki-Manome, A., D. Gill, E.J. Anderson, T. Guo, M. Carmen-Lemos. 2019. Report on The Great Lakes Ice Forecast Workshop. [Report]


Research Engagement Program Lead:
Riley Ravary

Research Engagement Specialist:
Megan DiCocco

Research Engagement Specialist:
Aubrey Arnt

Research Engagement Specialist:
John McClure

Research Engagement Photo Gallery
Video Library

Hear former Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, Devin Gill, talk about her important work to connect research teams with data users ensures that our products are useful and relevant to society in the video below. “My goal as the stakeholder engagement specialist is to build a relationship between scientists and community groups to ensure that we’re all working together to promote this hugely important resource, the Great Lakes,” says Devin.

Video Library

“We want to begin speaking with community members, stakeholder groups from the get-go to understand what their interests are, what their problems are in dealing with water quality. So, that we’re working with them to develop solutions,” says former Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Devin Gill during an interview with the Ocean Conservancy.