Port Futures: [Modeling] Adaptive Strategies for Healthy Great Lakes Ports

2016 - Present
Team Leader
Brian Davis | Sean Burkholder
Cornell University | University at Buffalo, SUNY

This is a project design grant that will develop tools to evaluate scenarios for Great Lakes basin ports and small harbors to improve their ecological and economic sustainability. Many ports and small harbors of the Great Lakes Basin require recurring dredging to operate as they were historically intended. But the region’s ability to maintain dredging and sediment disposal activities into the future is uncertain due to ecological concerns, large fluctuations in water levels, and increased costs paired with diminished funding. A diverse group called the Dredge Research Collaborative, co-chaired by this project’s team leader, recognizes the need for outside the box thinking for sustainable alternatives for our ports and small harbors – both ecologically and economically. However, it is recognized that the tools to evaluate these alternatives do not currently exist. This team seeks to develop such tools in this project design effort.

The product from this work will be an integrated decision-making toolkit that will allow for the testing and evaluation of ecological, economic and urban potentials of port management alternatives across multiple temporal and spatial scales. A full proposal for an implementation phase will identify ports (or small harbors) that intend to apply the decision-making tool, and undertake activities that are ecologically and economically sustainable.

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