The Community's Role in Designing a Great Lakes Observing System
by Jen Read, Executive Director
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is providing greatly needed resources for restoring and protecting the region's ecosystems. With this increase in resources allocated to restoration efforts comes the obligation to ensure that the region is adequately tracking the impact of these efforts. In other words, developing baseline measurements prior to, or at the initial stage of, restoration activities and tracking changes in those baselines over time. One important element of that evaluation system is the availability of an observing system that can provide measures of environmental (water) quality - physical, chemical and biological - through remotely sensed and in situ observations as well as modeled outputs, at multiple scales from the Area of Concern level to whole lake assessment.
This effort is being aided by the award of nearly $900,000 to regional environmental modeling and decision support firm, LimnoTech, Inc. A partnership of GLOS, NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, USEPA and USGS, along with an expert advisory panel, will provide leadership and direction to the development of a comprehensive enterprise architecture design for the Great Lakes Observing System.
To be successful, this project will require input from numerous observing system stakeholders in the region, beginning with identifying resource management decision-making and related needs that make the economic, environmental and societal case for the development and eventual implementation of such a system. The final product will include the design, trade studies, price and schedule for the implementation of observing system architecture and alternatives for phased implementation over an initial five-year period. This project builds on the strategic planning and needs assessment work GLOS staff and partners have conducted in the recent past to enhance existing nearshore observing activities and fill key gaps in the system. This technical analysis and design would not be possible without GLRI funding or the participation of many partners, and the end product will be valuable in helping GLOS identify priorities for implementation in the future.
Call on GLOS for Your "Next Top Model" Search
It seems likely that some smart person has developed a model to help explain and predict your management issue, but how would you know where to find it? Where and how do you even begin your search? You could spend hours searching publications or websites looking for a contact or any other lead, or you could visit the GLOS website and find what you are looking for in one quick search.
GLOS is pleased to release the Great Lakes Model Inventory, a collection of information on more than 150 models and decision-support applications developed for the Great Lakes region. The original inventory database was completed by Ann Arbor-based LimnoTech, Inc., and GLOS created a web interface to allow easy search of the records as well as content management access for modelers, developers and researchers to update information and add more models and applications. With a community-driven approach to content updates, this inventory is dynamic and fosters communication not only among modelers but between modelers and resource managers in the Great Lakes region.
To begin, you simply type a keyword into the search bar or refine your search with categories in the advanced search. A list of matching models and applications along with short descriptions will be generated for you to review. Click on a model to find out more information about it including general characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, data requirements, contact information and references, as well as a list of applications that use the model.
If you are a researcher, modeler or developer with a model or application to add to the database or if you already have a model in the inventory and need to make updates, please make sure to register yourself today. Visit www.glos.us/glmi.
Determining Data Needs for Recreational Boaters
In partnership with New York Sea Grant, GLOS held a meeting on June 15 in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., to get initial input from the boating community in the Upper St. Lawrence River area about the type of information they use when deciding to spend the day out on the water. GLOS intends to use this information to support and enhance the hydrodynamic modeling efforts of the St. Lawrence River currently underway by researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research (CILER) and NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab. In addition, GLOS plans to develop a customized web application that will allow boaters to access NOAA's modeling output along with real-time data and other information of interest to harbor communities.
The project was, in part, initiated as a response to the growing tensions surrounding water level issues on the St. Lawrence River. Although GLOS cannot directly address the circumstances that impact water levels, it can facilitate the communication of information that is necessary for boaters to make an informed decision about whether conditions are right to be out on the water. Through a series of more outreach workshops with the local boating community, GLOS will identify and work to address needs for additional data or customized delivery tools that will help boaters use the information available to plan for a fun and safe excursion.
Pardon Our Dust: GLOS Website Update In Process
Over the next few months GLOS will be working on updating the navigation and design of our website to make it easier for visitors to learn more about what we do, find the data they need, and get involved in our projects. We want to hear from you about how you search for data and what kind of information you want to see on the GLOS website. If you are interested in participating in audience interviews for the website update, please contact Kelli Paige at email@example.com or 734-332-6113.
Global Recognition for Binational Data Integration in the Great Lakes
While Canada and the United States have made progress in standardizing the collection and processing of data, there is much that can be done to improve information exchange across the border. The Great Lakes Testbed is a binational effort launched in 2009 as a response to a U.S.-Canada Group on Earth Observations workshop that called for a demonstration to determine what is needed to promote the convergence of observation networks, systems and sensors across international borders. Under the leadership of USGS and Environment Canada, the Great Lakes partnership includes representatives from many U.S. and Canadian agencies that have a role in the collection and exchange of information on the physical, chemical and biological characteristic of the Great Lakes. As the Great Lakes Regional Association of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), GLOS is developing the data management and communications framework for the testbed.
As the group now prepares to facilitate data registration with GEO's Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), GLOS has been endorsed by the GEO Executive Committee and accepted by the Plenary as a Participating Organization. This was a critical step in advancing the testbed's strategic decision to utilize GLOS resources to support binational data integration and subsequent contributions to GEOSS. "The Great Lakes region provides a perfect setting for this testbed," explained GLOS Director Dr. Jennifer Read. "We are building on longstanding cross-border cooperation in the region that, in many respects, put us ahead of other parts of the country. Nevertheless, the challenges of integrating data to support decision making will still test the processes and technologies we're developing here to support cross-border data exchange."