Stakeholder Engagement

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:

    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 stakeholders
    3. Facilitate positive and effective communication between Great Lakes scientists and stakeholders
    4. 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.

Example HAB Tracker animation.

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:


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:

Devin Gill

Stakeholder Photo Gallery
Video Library

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.

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 Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Devin Gill during an interview with the Ocean Conservancy.