Goals of Integrated Assessment
- Clarify a complicated environmental issue, including the history, causes and consequences
- Foster collaboration and build consensus
- Identify and evaluate options for solving the problem
- Develop information and tools that help guide decision-making
- Credible source of information, useful research products
- Modified perspectives
- New partnerships
- Changes in process and policies
- New opportunities and resources
An Integrated Assessment Approach
Michigan Sea Grant supports Integrated Assessments to enhance the sustainable use of Great Lakes coastal resources. The goal of an Integrated Assessment project is to guide decision-making around a particular environmental issue. Based on needs identified by community leaders, technical assessment teams gather and summarize data that can inform planning and policy development. The approach combines data analysis (e.g. GIS and modeling) with stakeholder engagement (e.g. meetings). See: Approach to Research
The project was initiated in the summer of 2005 when Sea Grant staff held a meeting with local and state organizations that became partners in the project, including: Michigan State University Extension, the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Representatives discussed the focus of the assessment, potential involvement, funding sources and the most appropriate scale at which to address the suggested themes.
Efforts were made to ensure that the most complete representation of stakeholder interests was included in the process. After identifying a preliminary stakeholder list, these participants were asked to identify additional community leaders and decision makers to drive the process. In total, 58 individuals representing 32 organizations were involved. See: People
Much of the technical assessment was carried out through in-kind support during the project. The ideas and relationships generated by the process catalyzed new projects in northeast Michigan. See: Broader Impacts
Case Study: Northeast Michigan Integrated Assessment (NEMIA)
Michigan Sea Grant initiated a pilot project in Northeast Michigan to demonstrate how Integrated Assessment can be used to improve environmental decision-making.
The project materials include:
- Documentation of the Integrated Assessment process, including workshops.
- Description of the technical assessments and other project results.
- A summary of new ideas, including policies and potential actions.
- Methods of fostering ongoing collaboration as highlighted in the project impacts.