The future of the Great Lakes always is vital — all the more so in a time of tight budgets.
Great Lakes experts and policymakers came together Oct. 20 at Central Michigan University to discuss research, monitoring, sustainability and restoration of the world's largest surface freshwater system.
It all was part of the fourth annual Great Lakes Science in Action Symposium sponsored by CMU's
Institute for Great Lakes Research.
Keynote speaker U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar has supported the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and its work with CMU to protect the Great Lakes. As the congressman representing CMU, he worked on efforts to defend the Great Lakes from Asian carp.
Securing nearly $300 million over the past several years for Great Lakes preservation and restoration has been a bipartisan effort by Michigan legislators in Washington, D.C., Moolenaar said.
"The Great Lakes are a real unifier for Michigan legislators," he said.
Legislators from both political parties in other parts of the country have suggested reducing funding for the Great Lakes Research Initiative. While people living in the Great Lakes region understand their importance for tourism, recreation, fishing and shipping, Moolenaar said others may not.
"It's a continual process for us to keep educating others about the importance and value of the Great Lakes," he said.
Moolenaar praised the researchers within the IGLR, which he recognized as being "on the front lines of understanding the ways the lakes, tributaries and wetlands come together as one ecosystem. Its research is a great asset to scientists and the general public."
Located close to the center of the Great Lakes region, CMU is a leader in research efforts to protect the lakes from toxic algae, pollution and Asian carp.
The research at advanced CMU facilities, including the new Biosciences Building on campus and the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island, supports the university's IGLR.
Central oversees two $10 million EPA grants for Great Lakes wetlands research and allocates funds through these grants to nine other universities and three governmental agencies.
Here are some highlights of other Great Lakes-related CMU research in 2017:
The group that has kept Central Michigan University a key player in the health of the Great Lakes is growing in size and scope.
Earlier this year in research at CMU's new Biosciences Building, baby lake trout feasted on the shrimp. Biology students studying this summer at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island want to know if that trend holds in the wild.
Central Michigan University one of nine research institutions participating in a new effort to head off crises on the Great Lakes.
Laura Moore, a CMU graduate student, targets nitrogen as focus of research into potential nutrient imbalances that cause harm to the Great Lakes.
CMU biologist Daelyn Woolnough investigates how contaminants in the water and sediment impact the ecosystems and life cycles of freshwater mussels.