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Improving the Ecological Health of the Water Resources of the Great Lakes

Year Awarded: 1999
Awarded: $300,000
Team Leader:  University of Michigan

This team identified geographical patterns of flow and evaluated them to determine the influence of land use and structures on flow regimes in the Great Lakes. The team conducted an historical analysis of flow regime for 425 gages in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Results showed that tributary flows have increased in magnitude over the latter part of the 20th century, with extreme flows increasing in frequency. Team members created the most extensive basinwide inventory of dams ever, as well as tools to help users judge the hydrologic alteration of a watershed and identify flow restoration opportunities. The team’s GIS product includes mapped gages with hydrologic information, dams with attributes, and biological information. Hydrographs created with this tool could then be utilized by the Ecologically Sustainable Water Management (ESWM) analysis tool. The results of this team’s work will allow for better decision-making through greater understanding of the effects of flow alterations.