Great Lakes Regional Research Information Network Lake Michigan Coordination TeamBrian K. Miller Illinois-Indiana Sea GrantJennifer Fackler Illinois-Indiana Sea GrantPhil Mankin Illinois-Indiana Sea GrantPaul Horvatin Environmental Protection Agency, GLNPOAnders Andren Wisconsin Sea GrantSteve Brandt National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
How it all beganRequested by NOAA in 2006 through Sea Grant programs in all regions.Great Lakes proposal called for 5 committees (one for each lake).Each lake was to form a committee, conduct a needs assessment, and implement a strategy to coordinate/focus research in each of the respective lakes.
Task 1: Establish a regional coordination group to oversee the planning and implementation of the research and information strategy.Anders Andren - Wisconsin Sea Grant (academic)Steve Brandt - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (agency)Paul Horvatin Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (agency)Brian Miller - Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (academic)
Task 2: Conduct a bottom-up needs assessment with broad user and stakeholder input.Web site searches revealed 294 organizations with a strong interest in Lake Michigan.45 had stated priorities/goals. All 294 were contacted to review priorities/goals or to add some 3 sent revisions, 7 new organizations sent priorities.
Priorities and Goals52 organizations provided 379 priorities or needs Priorities reported per organization ranged 140. Priorities provided by organizations represented general topic areas and, in some cases, specific objectives. Many of the priorities listed by organizations were not research oriented, but more outreach based or policy/management. If an organization listed partner institutions, these partners were also added to the list and queried for priorities.
Task 3: Identify research and information gaps.The 379 priorities aggregated into 74 categories. These categories were sorted based on the number of organizations focusing on a specific priority category. The most frequently listed priorities fell into five categories The top five categories contained 154 priorities. These priorities were closely examined and broken down into subcategories of specific topic areas under which agencies and academic institutions conduct research, education, and extension programs. These topic areas were prioritized by the number of organizational priorities occurring under each topic. 14 top topic (subcategory) areas emerged.
5 Major Categories & Associated Topic Areas
AssumptionsWe made the assumption that the 52 organizations working on Lake Michigan issues had selected their priorities on needs assessment processes and/or inputs from their membership. Therefore, the top 14 topic (subcategory) areas in the five categories reflect where future research is needed to support organizational priorities for Lake Michigan.
ConclusionsTo address problems in these topic areas, specific research projects will be dynamic and change frequently as new discoveries are made and new problems arise. Frequent coordination among the agencies and institutions sponsoring and conducting research is needed to prioritize specific research questions and distribute agency attention and resources to these questions as conditions change.
Focus turned to identifying high priority research needed in 5 Categories
Problems encountered by management agenciesMonitoring and indicator trendsResearcher and institutional direction
Top priority issue selectedChanging Food Webs and Influence Aquatic Invasive Species have on these changesAddresses priorities in all 5 categories
Task 4: Develop a research and information plan for the region that prioritizes actions according to management-critical needs.The Lake Michigan team will conduct a workshop on June 3-4, 2008. During this workshop the team will bring together Lake Michigan scientists and funding agency officials to determine critical research questions, time and space scales, and data gaps to be addressed in the 2010 field season. Agencies funding research on Lake Michigan will then discuss which research questions and data needs are most appropriate for each agency's upcoming RFP and/or field season. (For example, the Lake Michigan Sea Grant programs can then incorporate a specific research priority consistent with their available dollars into their respective RFPs.)
Workshop: June 3-4 in Chicagowww.iisgcp.org/glrrinworkshop
Who should attend? Researchers or Resource Managers working on invasive species and food web issues in Lake Michigan.
Task 5: Develop coordination mechanisms to ensure the transfer of technology and information to the appropriate end users.Various organizations have databases of investigators conducting research on Lake Michigan issues. The level of completeness of the information varied considerably between databases. The regional coordinators for GLRRIN determined that it would be more efficient and effective to develop a central web-based database for all investigators involved with the Great Lakes. Coordination for technology and information transfer is in place with the creation of the GLRRIN web site, www.glrrin.info. End users, researchers, and others interested in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes may join for free. Users can explore research priorities for the Great Lakes, search for research topics or researchers, access news, and find funding options.
GLRRIN web site www.glrrin.info
Task 6: Provide an ongoing platform for coordination, collaboration, and resource sharing among participants.The Lake Michigan team will coordinate a one-day workshop every two years to bring together Lake Michigan scientists and funding agency officials. The first workshop will be held in Chicago June 3-4, 2008, The results of each workshop will be discussed by participating funding agencies and will inform their next funding cycle and/or field season.
Workshop: June 3-4 in Chicagowww.iisgcp.org/glrrinworkshop
Please Join Us At this workshop you will engage in a facilitated dialog that is designed to identify specific research questions, data gaps, time and the space considerations needed to conduct research investigating the invasive species impacts on food webs in Lake Michigan beginning in the 2010 field season. Please join us and help set the research and funding agenda needed to address this important ecological issue.