NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

The latest news and information about NOAA research in and around the Great Lakes


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A message from the Director – Hearts of GOLD: An opportunity for leadership training on diversity and inclusion

By Deborah H. Lee, Director, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Heartsof GOLD_Logo

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Hearts of GOLD (Geosciences Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity) in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 24-25. Hearts of GOLD is a National Science Foundation sponsored project led by a group of six investigators including NOAA’s LaToya Myles of the Office of Oceanic Research, Air Resources Laboratory. The goal of the project is to help leaders in geosciences become champions for diversity by teaching new tools, skills, and attitudes that include learning how to work with colleagues “different” from ourselves.

The driving question posed at the training was, “Why should we value diversity?”  In answering this question and others, we learned that social science research reveals that a diverse workforce can advance core elements for organizational success, such as enhanced innovation through creativity, increased diligence and a committed work ethic, more balanced decision making, robust problem-solving, as well as boosting a company’s bottom line. In looking beyond our organizational boundaries, diversity essentially produces a healthier society by including all of its members.

Our instructors, Drs. Dena R. Samuels and Stephany Rose of University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, led us through two days of often emotional and soul-searching discussion as we examined inclusivity, diversity, and social justice. We learned about implicit bias—a term that describes when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. This bias often prevents us from achieving diversity by choosing to work with people most like ourselves or associated with positive stereotypes. To get a better sense of what is meant by this, you can assess your implicit biases at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/.

We also learned that even if we can overcome implicit bias to achieve a diverse organization, it may not be enough to drive innovation without a culture of genuine inclusivity.  Inclusivity is an intention or policy of including people who are considered “different,” resulting in them being excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial or sexual minorities.  We were encouraged to seek out new experiences that challenge our bias, slow down and be present in the moment to catch the bias, and then act differently and practice “priming”—observing positive images of people from stereotyped groups or simply calling to mind counter-stereotypical information. We were reminded that “If you aren’t actively including, you are probably accidentally excluding.”

One topic that struck a personal chord with me was the subject of “microaggression”—an act I had experienced many times over in my career, even recently, as a woman in a non-traditional field.  Microaggressions are subtle words, cues, and/or behaviors that insult, invalidate, or exclude individuals. They are often based on a disadvantaged social identity and often cue stereotypes, labeling one as an outsider.  The recipient often feels disempowered to address the giver of these microaggressions, due to a balance of power, causing the recipient to be impacted cumulatively via a “death by a thousand cuts.”  The intent of the giver is to perpetuate systems of power—to keep those in power, in power, and those oppressed, in oppression.

Another challenging topic was the systemic impacts of privilege and its counterweight, oppression.  Privilege is being treated in ways that make you feel automatically included and valued and is generally an unearned advantage, versus a personal achievement, based on how your identity aligns with what is considered normal and accepted.  It significantly affects performance in academics, interviews, life chances and longevity. To illustrate the impact of privilege, we played a game where each player was allotted 12 pennies, which were then pooled in the center of the table.  When asked a series of questions regarding our experiences of privilege, or lack thereof, and depending on the answers, we were instructed to either to take a penny (benefited from privilege) or put a penny back in the pool (denied privilege).  By the end of the game, some players had “earned” 12 or more pennies from the pool, while others had no pennies or even “owed” pennies. The lessons learned from playing this game were profound, to say the least.

Through my experience at Hearts of GOLD, I became keenly aware that diversity and inclusion are not only important for creativity and innovation, but they are also fundamental for social justice to come to fruition.  The principle of social justice requires that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities.  This popular graphic (https://ehhsdean.com/tag/equity/#jp-carousel-959) illustrates the concepts of equality and equity, but makes the case that until barriers to entry are removed, social justice cannot be achieved.

As leaders in the geosciences, we left the class with a stronger awareness and understanding of the challenges we face both within ourselves and externally within our organizations, the skills and tools we could bring to bear, and how to remove the barriers to social justice to create the next generation of geoscientists.


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GLERL Director participates in stakeholder forum on the state of Lake Erie

Slide01NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) Director, Deborah Lee, participated in the State of Lake Erie Forum, facilitated by Ohio Congressional Representative, Marcy Kaptur. The forum—held on July 10 in a suburb near Cleveland, Ohio—provided an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about the latest environmental and economic developments impacting Lake Erie. Other regional Great Lakes leaders participating in the forum included Jeff Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant Special Advisor; Charles Wooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Dorothy Baunach, Cleveland Water Alliance. In sharing information on NOAA’s products and services with stakeholders, Director Lee focused on a range of water forecasting tools that support public health and safety, commerce, recreation, and emergency response in communities in the Great Lakes region.

Highlighted was the NOAA Lake Erie Operational Forecast System (GLOFS) using observations and forecasts on water level, current speed and direction, and water temperature coupled with NOAA weather and water models to generate forecast guidance 4 times a day for each of the Great Lakes. Lee also discussed GLERL research on developing water models to predict meteotsunamis (large weather-induced waves that can reach 7 feet in height) to protect the safety of beachgoers from unexpected meteotsunami waves that can occur long after a storm has passed and sunny conditions have returned.  

Of particular interest to this group of stakeholders, were developments related to harmful algal blooms plaguing the western basin of Lake Erie. Director Lee briefed stakeholders at the forum on current NOAA GLERL research projects addressing HABs, highlighting the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) – GLERL’s underwater robotic “lab in a can” used to monitor and analyze blooms for algal toxins (e.g., cyanobacteria). She also shared information on NOAA’s operational HAB Bulletin and the experimental HAB Tracker, both valuable tools to keep the public informed on the status of HABs in Lake Erie as well as predicting the movement and concentration of a bloom up to 5 days into the future.  Another product reported on was the “Runoff Risk Decision Support Tool,” targeting the source of the HAB problem in Lake Erie. NOAA is working in conjunction with the Great Lakes states to develop and implement this product to reduce nutrient loading contributing to HABs. The tool focuses attention on the timing of nutrient application to help farmers decide the best timeframe to apply fertilizer and avoid times when runoff from rain or snowmelt will wash fertilizer into streams and eventually run into Lake Erie.

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NOAA GLERL Director, Deborah Lee, discusses NOAA’s role as an integral partner in the development of runoff risk tools for agriculture producers and nutrient applicators, during a July 10, 2017 public forum on the state of Lake Erie.

Director Lee emphasized the complexity of development and operation of these forecasting tools that are dependent upon NOAA’s environmental information systems—satellite images, buoy data, ship and ESP collected water samples, weather models and observations—running on supercomputers at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction.  As is the case with NOAA’s National Weather Service forecasts, water forecasting would not be possible without the long-term commitment of NOAA, partners, and other federal funding.  

Extending discussion on the use of forecast modeling, Lee explained how GLERL is using foodweb modeling to predict the potential impacts of the bighead and silver carp on Lake Erie’s commercial and recreational fishery. When running the model scenario of successful invasion of Asian carp in Lake Erie, the GLERL foodweb modeling study showed declines in most fish species, which would result in a significant impact on our Great Lakes fishery valued at $7 billion a year.

Another important NOAA program covered in Lee’s presentation was the Lake Erie restoration projects, executed with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). NOAA has awarded nearly $13.5 million in GLRI funding for restoration projects targeting habitat conservation to improve the Lake Erie fishery.

In closing, Lee acknowledged the valuable role that NOAA is playing in collaboration with partners by providing products and services based on sound, cutting-edge science to protect our Great Lakes economic and environmental assets. Through this work, NOAA is committed to maintaining the quality of life that our Great Lakes residents so deeply cherish.

A recording of the forum is available via Facebook Live.  

(Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly named the forum panel members.)


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A summer intern’s perspective on why diversity and inclusion is the way to go

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By Char’Mane Robinson, NOAA EPP/MSI Scholar

My name is Char’Mane Robinson  and I’m working this summer at NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) as a NOAA Educational Partnership Program (EPP) with Minority Serving Institutes (MSI) Scholar. I will be receiving a BS in environmental science with an emphasis in natural resources at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). The NOAA EPP with MSI is a federal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational program, preparing for diversity and inclusion in the workforce for NOAA and the NOAA mission-related enterprise. My program provides for two summer research experiences to undergraduate students from minority serving institutions. These summer research experiences were set up to help students further achieve their career goals through the development of enhanced academic discipline and professionalism needed for success as future NOAA employees.

My research here at GLERL has focused on modeling  the growth potential of Asian carp in Lake Michigan. I am working with guidance from Drs. Ed Rutherford (GLERL), Doran Mason (GLERL), Mark Rowe (Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR)), and Hongyan Zhang (CIGLR), Peter Alsip (CIGLR), and Henry Vanderploeg (GLERL).  This research experience is helping me to better understand how to use advanced software to make models that predict future environmental conditions used to inform management strategies for invasive species like Asian carp. Being new to modeling, it was important for me to have a great group of mentors who could teach me the fundamentals of using advanced programming software R to perform model calculations and then analysis. While it’s been a challenging project, I have learned so much, especially as I work on adjusting my model to get realistic output.

As  a NOAA EPP/MSI Scholar last summer, I worked in Silver Springs, Maryland analyzing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the fish species from Cocos Lagoon, Guam. In addition to my research studies, I am a pivotal leader in my community, mentoring lower division students in applying for STEM research opportunities. I speak to underrepresented middle school students from the local community about the importance of going to college and about careers in the STEM fields. I bring to the EPP/MSI program my education, research, leadership, and a strong commitment to becoming a future NOAA employee.

One important observation I have noticed throughout my time as a college student and as an intern in the environmental sciences is the lack of minority representation in the scientific community. This includes underrepresentation of women, racial/ethnic minorities, native Americans, people with disabilities, among others. I think it’s important to work on cultivating a more diverse workforce which is in everyone’s best interests.  In recognizing the value of diversity and inclusiveness, NOAA has created educational programs to build a more diverse workforce.  NOAA education initiatives are actively seeking accomplished underrepresented students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to develop their workforce with equal representation.

As an EPP/MSI Scholar, I view diversity in the workforce as way to embrace each other’s differences and have an open discussion with each other, no matter who we are, where we come from, and what we do in our life experiences. I am incredibly grateful to NOAA’s EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program for giving underrepresented students on the undergrad level, such as myself, the opportunity to work with NOAA scientists.

The world needs—now more than ever —scientists who not only conduct significant research but also can understand cultural differences to explain those results to the every single member of society.  I also strongly believe that we need to educate the public to become more environmentally aware and empower all citizens to support political initiatives that protect and preserve our planet for future generations to come.


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GLERL receives two RTAP awards for transitioning HABs and ice forecast model to operations

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The 3rd generation NOAA GLERL Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System (GLCFS) uses an unstructured grid (i.e., triangular shapes of adaptable size) to better model physical processes

GLERL’s Dr. Eric Anderson has recently been awarded funding from the Research Transition Acceleration Program (RTAP), placing two of GLERL’s FVCOM modeling projects on the fast track to transition from research to operations (R2O).  R2O is the pathway by which fundamental research is developed into a useful tool or product and implemented into an automated or operational environment accessible for use by the public. RTAP, a highly competitive grants program, prioritizes projects based on their ability to advance NOAA’s mission and benefit society with the ultimate goal of accelerating the transition of promising NOAA research to operations and applications.

Anderson focuses primarily on hydrodynamics, using computer modeling to study how forcing conditions, such as meteorological (weather) events, affect the motion and energy of a body of water. His research on the physical nature of the Great Lakes in response to natural forces is improving our ability to make predictions on currents, temperature, water levels, waves, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and ice characteristics. The RTAP awards will provide Anderson and his collaborative team of researchers the resources needed to advance the following two projects: “Implementation of a 3D HAB forecast model for Lake Erie using FVCOM” and “Implementation of the FVCOM-Ice model for the Great Lakes Operational Forecasting System (GLOFS).” Project outcomes will support services such as safe drinking water, recreation, and navigation.

GLCFS_FVCOM vs POM grid

Notably, both forecast models are built upon the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM), an open-source community model that uses an unstructured grid (triangular shapes of adaptable size) to represent the Great Lakes and connecting channels (such as the coastline illustrated above) with increased grid resolution and model accuracy.  FVCOM solves the three-dimensional (3-D), integral form of the equations of motion.   This modeling approach also provides for an established framework for coupled modules (interconnection between the biological and physical components in the ecosystem, such as biological processes, currents, sediment, ice, etc.).  The seminal research paper explaining the structure and function of the FVCOM is provided in the Oceanography journal article, “An Unstructured Grid, Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model FVCOM System” (Chen, et al., 2006) with further background on the FVCOM and its research application available on GLERL’s webpage, Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting: Next Generation.

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Example of the HAB Tracker forecast showing surface extent and intensity of the bloom from 2015

The first of the RTAP awards listed above will enable Anderson with a group of NOAA partners to accelerate the implementation of a 3-D harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecast model by at least two years— providing decision makers with unprecedented real-time information on HAB extent, vertical distribution, and concentration. The experimental version of the model, known as the “HAB Tracker,” was first developed by GLERL in 2014 and has since been improved in collaboration with the National Ocean Service (NOS) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) as a tool that combines remote sensing and modeling to produce daily 5-day forecasts of bloom transport and concentration. The HAB Tracker is based on the 3-D FVCOM Lagrangian particle model, a sub-component of the FVCOM hydrodynamic model system currently being transitioned to operations. This transition will occur on NOAA’s high performance computing system for the NOAA production suite by NOS’ Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) as part of the next-generation Lake Erie Operational Forecasting System (LEOFS).

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Example of the FVCOM-Ice model forecast of ice concentration from winter 2017

The second RTAP grant awarded to GLERL will facilitate incorporation of an ice model (FVCOM-Ice) in the Great Lakes Operational Forecasting System (GLOFS) by directly coupling it with the hydrodynamic FVCOM model.  RTAP funding will provide the personnel and infrastructure needed to support the development, validation, and implementation of the FVCOM coupled hydrodynamic-ice model and accelerate transition as part of the GLOFS upgrade. This transition to operations will provide the first-ever ice forecasts of extent/concentration, thickness, and velocity for the Great Lakes. The process will occur first for the Lake Michigan-Huron Operational Forecast System (LMHOFS) and then add to the existing Lake Erie Operational Forecast System (LEOFS). The coupled hydrodynamics-ice modeling systems for Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie will provide users with operational 120-hour forecast guidance of ice conditions, water temperature, currents, and water levels, updated four times per day during the winter as well as spring months.

Anderson recognizes the value of these RTAP awards by providing “the resources and personnel we need across Line Offices to validate and transition these models into operations, and avoid the so-called ‘valley of death’ between fundamental research and operational applications.”


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A message from the Director: Integrating science-based adaptive management into GLERL research

One thing that can be said with certainty about the Great Lakes ecosystem, is that it is in a constant state of change. The primary question for NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) is, how can we most effectively research and manage the lakes given their changing biological, physical, and chemical conditions? The answer, in part, is to build our capabilities in taking an integrated, science-based adaptive management approach in the conduct of research and ecosystem management.

Adaptive management—a concept that has been evolving in the Great Lakes region since enactment of the 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA)—integrates well-defined feedback loops in the process of doing science-based research and management, thus providing a way to respond to ecosystem changes. The ultimate goal of using an adaptive approach is to continually evolve the research and management of the Great Lakes ecosystem while accounting for uncertainty in the conduct of science. Though it could be said that adaptive management is a common sense, verify as you go approach, in order to render a significant impact in the mitigation of problems/stressors threatening the Great Lakes, an integrated, science-based, adaptive management approach must be purposefully executed and institutionalized on a long-term basis with reliable funding.

So what do we really mean by taking a science-based, adaptive management approach? And how are we doing it?  The International Joint Commission (IJC), established by the United States and Canada to prevent and resolve disputes about the use and quality of the Great Lakes boundary waters, has played an important role in shaping adaptive management as an approach to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Through the lens of the IJC, “Adaptive management is a planning process that provides a structured, iterative approach for improving actions through long-term monitoring, modelling, and assessment. Adaptive management allows decisions to be reviewed, adjusted, and revised as new information and knowledge becomes available, and/or as conditions change.”  (Upper Great Lakes Lakes Study, IJC 2012).  There is growing awareness that we need to be adaptive in our approach given that managed resources will always change as a result of human intervention, that surprises are inevitable, and that new uncertainties will emerge. Adaptive management should not be considered a ‘trial and error’ process but rather one that is built on “learning while doing.” (Williams et al., 2007).

At GLERL, we are striving to integrate adaptive management in a deliberate way in the design, conduct, and overall management of our research projects. On the most basic level, adaptive management provides a framework upon which research is structured, using measurable goals and objectives to assess and evaluate outcomes with each cycle of research. The role that adaptive management is expected to play in GLERL research is delineated in GLERL’s 2016 Strategic Plan (pp. 17-23). This approach is exemplified by research on the causes and impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and hypoxia (a condition when oxygen levels within the water become extremely low) in western Lake Erie as conducted by GLERL, in conjunction with Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR, formerly CILER). Further information on GLERL’s HABs and hypoxia research is available on GLERL’s webpage, Great Lakes HABs and Hypoxia.

We view the process of adaptive management guiding Great Lakes scientific research and ecosystem management as a coupled feedback loop (see below graphic, Adaptive Integrated Research Framework) driven by water quality/quantity problems, stakeholder engagement, and existing policy (e.g., NOAA/GLERL mission and vision, 2012 amended GLWQA). As an example, it has been well established that HABs and hypoxia threaten the Great Lakes ecosystem and ecological services provided by the lakes as well as pose human health risks and socio-economic impacts. Importantly, stakeholder engagement continues to play a key role in articulating these problems and guiding priorities in the conduct of HABs/hypoxia research, such as the following:

  • Reducing nutrient loading of phosphorus and nitrogen.
  • Understanding impacts of HABs on food web structure and potential impacts on fisheries, increased water treatment costs, lost opportunity costs for recreation, and shoreline property values.
  • Understanding toxicity level impacts on human health.

The next step in an adaptive management approach is formulating research goals, objectives and questions—based on identified priorities—that are measurable and can result, in part, from stakeholder engagement. A measurable goal established for HABs research and management is a 40 percent target reduction in spring loads of phosphorus to minimize the size and impact HABs in western Lake Erie. Fundamental to an adaptive management approach is the measurement of progress toward reaching the research and management goals and making adjustments accordingly.

Another important driver in the adaptive management cycle is feedback based on the assessment and evaluation of research and management results and other outcomes. The transfer of results/outcomes to the scientists, managers, as well as stakeholders, provides an opportunity for the adaptive approach to refine and improve the next round of HABs research. For example, recent HABs research has pointed to nitrogen as an important driver of bloom toxicity; these findings have played an important role in shaping GLERL’s future research agenda.

In our ongoing commitment to serve the Great Lakes community through our research, GLERL’s efforts can only be strengthened through adaptive management by ensuring that stakeholders—such as water intake managers, fisheries managers, land use managers, public health agencies, environmental groups, and the general public—are given the products and tools needed to mitigate the sources and impacts related to HABs and hypoxia (see story on hypoxia stakeholder workshop). This approach holds great promise in improving the ecological as well as economic health of the Great Lakes region.

Deborah H. Lee, PE, PH, D.WRE
Director, NOAA GLERL

Adaptive Integrated research framework at GLERL

This diagram was developed to depict the adaptive, integrated approach that characterizes GLERL’s scientific research. The iterative, longterm, systematic process of using an adaptive integrated research framework provides an opportunity to refine research and ecosystem management approaches. The cycle of an adaptive integrated research framework used in conjunction with the best available science, provides iterative feedback loops incorporated as part of GLERL’s research methodology. The coupled feedback loops depicted above show the interrelationship between research management and ecosystem management, both driven by assessment and evaluation as well as stakeholder input.


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Update on Lake Erie hypoxia forecasting stakeholder workshop (May 23, 2017)

Researchers partner with drinking water plant managers to forecast hypoxia in Lake Erie

By Devin Gill, Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research and Kristin Schrader, Great Lakes Observation Systems

Lake Erie’s “dead zone” not only impacts the lake’s ecosystem, but also poses challenges for managers of drinking water treatment facilities. The Lake Erie dead zone is a region of the central basin where oxygen levels within the water become extremely low, creating a condition known as hypoxia. Great Lakes researchers are sharing their scientific expertise to help managers be fully prepared for threats to drinking water resulting from hypoxic conditions.

Scientists from NOAA GLERL, Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) and the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) met on May 23 in Cleveland, Ohio with water plant managers from the southern shore of Lake Erie for a stakeholder engagement workshop to discuss the hypoxia issue. An important focus of the workshop was the development of a new hypoxia forecast model that will act as an early warning system when hypoxic water has the potential to enter intakes of water treatment facilities. The depletion of oxygen in hypoxic water occurs when the water column stratifies (separates into warm and cold layers that don’t mix). Oxygen in the lower, cold layer becomes depleted from the lack of mixing with the upper (warm) layer that is exposed to air, as well as from the decomposition of organic matter (dead plants and animals) in the lower layer. The process of hypoxia is illustrated by GLERL’s infographic, The Story of Hypoxia.

Stakeholders who attended the workshop explained that water treatment operators must be prepared to respond quickly during a hypoxic event to ensure that drinking water quality standards are met. Hypoxic water often is associated with low pH and elevated manganese and iron. Manganese can cause discoloration of treated water, while low pH may require adjustment to avoid corrosion of water distribution pipes, which can introduce lead and copper into the water.

At the workshop, researchers shared information on lake processes that contribute to hypoxia and on development of the Lake Erie Operational Forecasting System that provides nowcasts and forecasting guidance of water levels, currents, and water temperature out to 120 hours, and is updated 4 times a day. Information was also shared on preliminary hypoxia modeling results that simulated an upwelling event (wind-driven motion in the Great Lakes, pushing cooler water towards the lake surface, replacing the warmer surface water) that brought hypoxic water to several water plant intakes in September, 2016. Water plant managers reported that advance notice of a potential upwelling event that could bring hypoxic water to their intakes would be useful to alert staff and potentially increase the frequency of testing for manganese.

Dr. Mark Rowe from University of Michigan, CIGLR, researcher and co-lead on this initiative, comments on the value of this hypoxia stakeholder engagement workshop: “At both NOAA and the University of Michigan, there is an increasing focus on co-design of research, which refers to involving the end-users of research results throughout the entire project, from concept to conclusion. If we succeed, a new forecast model will be developed that will be run by the operational branch of NOAA. This can only happen if there is a group of users who request it. This workshop provided critical information to the researchers regarding the needs of the water plants, while also informing water plant managers on how forecast models could potentially help them plan their operations, and on the latest scientific understanding of hypoxia in Lake Erie. ”

Stakeholder Scott Moegling, Water Quality Manager at City of Cleveland Division of Water, also recognizes the value of  engagement between the stakeholders and the Great Lakes researchers. Moegling points out that “the drinking water plant managers not only benefit from sharing of operational information and research, but also by establishing lines of communication between water utilities and researchers that help identify common areas of interest. The end result—researchers providing products that can be immediately used by water utilities—is of obvious interest to the water treatment industry on Lake Erie.”  Moegling also views the GLERL/CIGLR research on the hypoxia forecast model as holding great potential in predicting hypoxic conditions in Lake Erie and believes that once the model is developed and calibrated, there may be a number of other possibilities for highly useful applications.

In addition to sharing the latest research on hypoxia, the stakeholder engagement workshop provided a forum for water plant managers to share information with each other on how to recognize hypoxic events and efficiently adjust water treatment processes. Researchers at CIGLR and NOAA GLERL are committed to conduct research that serves society, and will continue to work with this stakeholder group over the course of the five-year project to develop a hypoxia forecast model that meets their needs.

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NOAA GLERL staff participate in community education events

Two opportunities to highlight NOAA’s mission of Science, Service and Stewardship

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NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) remote sensing scientist, Dr. George Leshkevich, and Information Services team member, Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, participated in Washtenaw Community College’s (WCC) Earth Day Month Celebration on April 6 on campus in Ann Arbor Michigan. In celebration of Earth Month, information was presented about a diverse array of solutions to today’s environmental challenges by local non-profit, business, and government organizations, student clubs (nursing and sustainability) and WCC departments. One such featured challenge was on “Our Amazing Earth” to help students understand the science behind the intricate balance of nature, protect the Great Lakes, help green our campus, and find a green career.

In representing GLERL At the event, George and Kathe shared information on our research, focused on NOAA’s Great Lakes CoastWatch animations, illustrating retrospective satellite observations and in-situ Great Lakes data; research on Great Lakes ecosystem dynamics and threats posed by aquatic invasive species; Great Lakes geography; and information on the laboratory’s Summer Fellows Program (coordinated by the University of Michigan’s Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), in conjunction with GLERL).

The WCC Earth Month Celebration provided a valuable opportunity for GLERL to raise awareness and understanding for the science driving the Great Lakes ecosystem among a diverse group of college students and community members. WCC faculty member and event coordinator, Dale Petty, commented that NOAA GLERL played an important role at WCC’s Earth Month Celebration, presenting the science about what’s happening in our environment.

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Father and son show off their artwork from the GLERL/CIGLR “Create an Invasive Species” activity during Huron Intermediate Schools STEAM Showcase on May 13.

In addition to the event at WCC, NOAA GLERL Information Services team member, Nicole Rice, along with Michele Wensman from CIGLR spent the day in Bad Axe, Michigan, participating in the Huron Intermediate School District’s Thumb Area STEAM Showcase on May 13. During the event, students from Huron County schools showcased their work with the Science Olympiad, the MDOT Bridge Building Challenge, robotics, drones, music, art, and more. Exhibits included a trebuchet, an interactive planetarium, a petting zoo, live music, and a variety of hands-on activities.

The GLERL/CIGLR exhibit featured information about the lab’s science programs and CIGLR’s student opportunities, and interactive activities such as 3D bathymetry maps, a Great Lakes quiz, and a crafting area where kids could create their own invasive species or make a monster from a Great Lake. Check out the photo album on Facebook full of eager participants and their creative creatures!