By collaborating with scientists, stakeholders turn research into action for safe and healthy Great Lakes.
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, freighter captains, public water system operators, beach goers, public health professionals, natural resource mangers, and many others.
By including members from these groups in our research, we work to accomplish our stakeholder engagement goals:
- Create Great Lakes research products that answer critical stakeholder questions and meet their most pressing information needs.
- Ensure that our research products are easy to use, easy to access, and appreciated by stakeholders
- Facilitate positive and effective communication between Great Lakes scientists and stakeholders
- Build CIGLR’s reputation in the region as an authority on Great Lakes research, and a resource for community groups
1. Harmful Algal Blooms
CIGLR’s harmful algal blooms (HABs) research team have incorporated stakeholder engagement efforts into the development of two short-term HAB forecast products, the Lake Erie HAB Tracker and the experimental Saginaw Bay HAB Tracker.
Lake Erie HAB Tracker: In 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 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 HAB Tracker supports continued fishing during HABs by giving anglers a tool to identify fishing locations with clear water.
Experimental Saginaw Bay HAB Tracker: CIGLR is partnering with Michigan Sea Grant to actively engage with 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 a short-term HABs forecast for Saginaw Bay. Work to understand the state of HABs in Saginaw Bay and related stakeholder information needs is ongoing.
2. Lake Erie Hypoxia
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.
3. Great Lakes Ice
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 will 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.
Stay up-to-date on the most recent news and scientific media generated from our HABs research here:
- Runaway robot found in Lake Erie; Local 4 Click on Detroit, 8/15/2017
- Great Lakes underwater mission; Local 4 Click on Detroit, 8/15/2017
- Underwater Robot Labs Monitor Toxins; Smithsonian.com, 8/10/2017
- Robotic lab tracking toxicity of Lake Erie algal bloom; The Monroe News, 7/25/2017
- Underwater Lab Helps Fight Lake Erie Algae; The Wall Street Journal, 7/24/2017
- New robotic lab tracking toxicity of Lake Erie algal bloom; Michigan News,7/19/2017
- Algae Bloom Tracker Developed by Anglers & Boaters (Radio Interview); Afternoon News on iheartradio, 7/14/2017
- New Tool for the Tackle Box: An Algal Bloom Tracker; Great Lakes Connection, 7/10/2017
- Severe algae bloom forecast; The Advertiser-Tribune, 2/17/2017
- Tracking harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie; NOAA Research Press Release, 9/23/2015
- Scientists launch “lab in a can” to detect toxins in Lake Erie; Michigan Radio, 9/15/16
- A “lab-in-a-can” could pioneer protection network for Great Lakes water; Great Lakes Echo, 9/9/16
- NOAA, partners predict smaller harmful algal bloom for western Lake Erie; NOAA.gov, 7/7/2016
- Stay out of the scum, warns NOAA’s latest bulletin on Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Bloom; Climate.gov, 8/19/2015
- Hear from the scientists who saw the Ohio algae blooms coming; PBS Online, 8/3/2014
- Lake Erie: big algae problems, more to come; Christian Science Monitor, 4/2/2013
- Record-Setting 2011 Lake Erie Algae Blooms Could Become The New Norm; RedOrbit, 4/2/2013
- 2011 Lake Erie algae bloom an omen of worse to come: report; CTVNews, 4/2/2013
- Report Predicts Ever-Bigger Lake Erie Algae Blooms; CBS Detroit, 4/2/2013
- Extreme algae blooms: The new normal?; EurekAlert!, 4/10/2013
- Record-breaking 2011 Lake Erie algae bloom may be sign of things to come; EurekAlert!, 4/1/2013
- Extreme algal blooms: The new normal?; EurekAlert!, 4/1/2013
Publications & Presentations
- 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.
- Devin Gill. 2019. Assessing Community Need for a Saginaw Bay Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast [Presentation]. International Association for Great Lakes Research Annual Conference.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist:
Stakeholder Photo Gallery
CIGLR Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Devin Gill (left) and Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome (right) at the Great Lakes Ice Forecast Needs Assessment Workshop. Photo Credit: Devin Gill.
Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome at the Great Lakes Ice Forecast Needs Assessment Workshop. Photo Credit: Devin Gill.
CIGLR Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Devin Gill (middle) at the Great Lakes Ice Forecast Needs Assessment Workshop. Photo Credit: Devin Gill.
Devin’s important work to connect research teams with data users ensures that our products are useful and relevant to society. “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.
“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 Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Devin Gill during an interview with the Ocean Conservancy.