ISTC Sustainability Seminar: Lake and Wetland Restoration: A Tale of Three Systems

April 27, 2017 , noon-1pm CST
In person at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign) or online at

Presented by Alan Steinman, Ph.D. — Director of Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (MI)

Excess nutrient runoff is negatively impacting aquatic ecosystems in the Great Lakes and throughout the world. Understanding these impacts and how to mitigate them have become, for better or worse, something of a growth industry in the environmental and ecological disciplines. In this talk, I will describe three coastal systems located in west Michigan that have been exposed to a history of environmental abuses. Excess nutrients, phosphorus in particular, have resulted in impaired ecological structure and function, including potentially toxic algal blooms. I will discuss the unique attributes of each system, the nature of the key stressor(s), our restoration approach, and how successful we have been in meeting our restoration targets. Two key themes underpinning our efforts include: 1) a modest upfront investment in scientific investigations can save substantial resources in the long run, despite societal anathema to “studies”; and 2) post-restoration monitoring is critical to assess restoration success, and when necessary, be sufficiently nimble to make adjustments as necessary.

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