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GLIN==> MI Sea Grant News: Foundations Consider Great Lakes Climate Change Adaptations

Title: MI Sea Grant News: Foundations Consider Great Lakes Climate Change Adaptations
September 10, 2008

Major Foundations Consider Great Lakes Climate Change Adaptations at Michigan Sea Grant Workshop

Ann Arbor, MI—A workshop led by Michigan Sea Grant brought together some of the region’s largest foundations and agencies in June to consider potential policy changes and practices that will likely be needed for communities and ecosystems to adapt to climate change in the Great Lakes region, and to identify strategies for implementing those changes.
Financial and programmatic support for the workshop came from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.  “We were pleased to see the level of interest among foundations, federal and state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and academia participating in this important workshop,” said Molly M. Flanagan, Environment Program Officer for the Joyce Foundation. “There is much work to be done to prepare for the impact of a changing climate, and the work discussed here provides a good starting point.”
The workshop began with an overview by resource and policy experts emphasizing the environmental changes that are already occurring in the region and how quickly.  They emphasized that over the past two decades, air and water temperatures have risen in the Great Lakes region, winters are getting shorter, rain storms are becoming more intense, and lake ice is decreasing.  They said that most models indicate these trends are likely to continue.
Several resource management issues emerged as key components of an adaptation strategy. These include non-point source pollution, flood control, and storm water management in light of heavier and more frequent storms; shoreline management strategies to address more extensive lake level fluctuations; and growing demand for Great Lakes water.  
General consensus was that priority issues could be addressed by adopting or revising policies in several areas including water conservation and efficiency; wetland restoration; land use planning and community development; and State fiscal policy.
“Although these issues are not new, climate change will likely exacerbate them and push them to the forefront of the policy arena,” said Michigan Sea Grant Director Don Scavia. Participants agreed that addressing these key issues in the context of watershed planning and community–based assessment would have the most impact on restoring and promoting ecosystem resiliency, and thus preparing for additional climate-induced stress.
To read a summary of the workshop, see: <http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/climate>
Michigan Sea Grant, a joint program of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, is part of the NOAA National Sea Grant network of 30 university-based programs.