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Restoration of the Great Lakes Basin Water Through the Use of Conservation Credits

Year Awarded: 2004
Awarded: $540,000
Team Leader:  Michigan State University
Tel: 517-353-3742
Email: bartholi@msu.edu

This team created a significant and powerful prototype assessment and trading platform that helps assess the value and range of ecosystem services that water resources provide and facilitate the exchange of conservation credits. The integrated water balance analysis system presents scientific information alongside conservation credit options, bringing together many previously disparate pieces of data, policy, and knowledge. By being web-based and user-friendly, the user assistance interface makes this tool available to individuals and/or institutions interested in analyzing the ecological consequences of possible surface or groundwater withdrawals before they happen.

The team tested their products in a pilot case study focused on verifying and integrating various flow modeling exercises at Augusta Creek in Kalamazoo County, MI. The advisory team’s support of this project led to the call for the development of an integrated web-based assessment tool (to guide permitting decisions regarding large groundwater withdrawals) in Michigan’s Public Act 34 of 2006, the state’s first comprehensive water use and groundwater management legislation. This tool is the first of its kind nationally and perhaps internationally.