Sustainable Small Harbors Project Moves Forward
The Sustainable Small Harbors project team recently returned to Au Gres, a town on the shore of Saginaw Bay famous for its walleye fishing, to help develop a shared vision for the community’s waterfront.
The three-day event, called a design charrette, brought urban planners and designers together with community stakeholders to create a vision of what Au Gres’ waterfront could become. It built upon a scoping event in August where team members met with town representatives to tour the waterfront and learn about the community.
During the first two days of the charrette, the team which includes staff from Michigan Sea Grant as well as multiple agency, industry and university partners, facilitated workshops and meetings to gather input from community groups. These groups included the planning commission, local and county parks and recreation departments and a stakeholders team made up of representatives from local government, businesses and interested citizens. Participants were invited to mark maps with assets, weaknesses, connection points — for example, walking trails, bike paths, water trails — and barriers.
According to John Stanley, Au Gres City Manager, the event sparked discussion about the future of the Au Gres waterfront. “The charrette definitely fired up my residents,” he wrote in a recent email. “We had some follow-up discussion at tonight’s planning commission meeting along with people discussing things with me throughout the day. I can’t wait for the follow-up presentation in the coming weeks.”
Based on input from the community, the team conceptualized three potential designs for the Au Gres waterfront. The result was graphical representations of three options for how the waterfront could be revitalized.
The three design options were posted at an open house on the second night of the charrette. The public was invited to comment on the designs, indicating which concepts they liked or disliked, to inform the creation of a single preferred option.
On the third day, the design team crafted a single design based on the most popular features. They presented the updated vision to the community during the charrette’s final “Work in Progress” session.
“These are very full, hectic and ultimately rewarding days,” says Amy Samples, Michigan Sea Grant coastal resilience specialist and project lead for the Au Gres portion of the project. “It’s really fun to see community members engaged and enthused about planning for their future.”
Besides serving as a map for how the Au Gres waterfront could be reinvigorated, the design helps fulfill a requirement the community must meet to receive state assistance for dredging and harbor maintenance. Beginning in 2015, waterfront communities must have a 5-year recreation plan — including a plan for the waterfront — on file in order to receive assistance. This process, and the design it produces, help fulfill that requirement.
The Au Gres project is part of a larger effort to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. In addition to Au Gres, the team has done this work in New Baltimore and Pentwater. They will travel to Ontonagon to conduct the same process later this fall.
Led by Don Carpenter from Lawrence Technological University, the research team includes consulting, economic and industry experts plus support from Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Waterways Commission, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality-Office of the Great Lakes and Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Bill Taylor Named American Fisheries Society Fellow
By Cindy Hudson
“How’s the fishing?” That’s a key question Bill Taylor, Michigan Sea Grant’s associate director, often will ask extension educators during team meetings.
In addition to being an avid fisherman, Taylor is an internationally recognized expert in Great Lakes fisheries ecology, population dynamics, governance and management. He also is a University Distinguished Professor in Global Fisheries Systems at Michigan State University.
So it’s no surprise that the American Fisheries Society (AFS) named Taylor as a fellow during the society’s 145th annual meeting in Portland, Ore., in August. Taylor was part of the inaugural group of fellows honored for making outstanding or meritorious contributions to the diversity of fields included in the society.
“We wanted to honor AFS members who are recognized by their peers as distinguished for their outstanding and/or sustained contributions to the discipline,” said AFS Past President Donna Parrish, who presided over the ceremony.
“Bill Taylor led the society as president in 1997-1998, qualifying him as a fellow, but his involvement with AFS has gone well beyond this to include leadership of several important committees and projects since then,” Parrish said. “He also has edited four AFS books and organized many scientific symposia sessions. He currently spearheads efforts to develop international guidelines for inland fisheries with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. We are proud to honor Dr. Taylor as a fellow of the American Fisheries Society in recognition of his many contributions over the years.”
Founded in 1870, AFS is the world’s oldest and largest fisheries science society. Its mission is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.
The inaugural class consists of 83 fellows who are members of national academies associated with countries whose regular AFS members constitute at least 1% of all regular AFS members, recipients of a major AFS award, editors of AFS Journals for more than 5 years, and past presidents of AFS. Future fellows will be selected by a committee through a nomination process.
Sea Grant Network Honors Samples
The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, a group consisting of the eight NOAA Sea Grant College programs that surround the Great Lakes, recently honored Amy Samples, Michigan Sea Grant coastal resilience specialist, with the Early Career Award at a ceremony during the network meeting in Burlington, Vermont.
Given every 18 months, the Early Career Award recognizes early-career individual Sea Grant professionals who have shown noteworthy enthusiasm, performance and accomplishments.
“While Amy has only been at MSG four years, she has developed strong relationships between our program and many of the small coastal communities we serve,” says Jim Diana, Michigan Sea Grant director. “She looks for opportunities for teamwork and is an active team member, reliably contributing and producing high-quality outputs for all projects in which she is involved.”
Amy joined Michigan Sea Grant in 2011 and is based at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. She assists with the coordination of the Michigan Sea Grant research program and is currently engaged in a small harbor sustainability project that seeks to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities.
Other work Amy has done with Michigan Sea Grant includes leading a climate project supported by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) and coordinating the Great Lakes Green Marina Outreach and Education Project, a regional collaboration of Great Lakes Clean Marina programs.
She holds a Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Natural Resources from Clemson University.
“Amy is an integral member of the MSG research team, helping to develop our biannual RFPs and the subsequent review process,” notes Catherine Riseng, Sea Grant research director. “She has also been involved with grant writing that links research with extension education and has worked collaboratively with extension educators to develop plans for community involvement and outreach. Amy has done everything we could ask for in her work in coastal resiliency and has made significant contributions to the state as a result of that work.”
Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator in the northeast district and a previous winner of the Early Career Award, was nominated for the Mid-career Award. The Aquatic Invasive Species Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program, an initiative designed and implemented by Ron Kinnunen, extension educator in the Upper Peninsula, was nominated for the Outreach Programming Award.
Michigan Clean Marinas: Three New, One Recertified
Tower Marine in Douglas, Saugatuck Yacht Service, and Windjammer Marina in Oden have been named as Certified Clean Marinas through the Michigan Clean Marina Program. Additionally, Petoskey City Marina has been recertified. In total, forty-five Michigan marinas have obtained and are maintaining this voluntary certification aimed at protecting the Great Lakes and its connecting waterways.
MSG to Offer Multiple Graduate Fellowships
While the semester has only recently begun, it isn’t too early to think ahead to next year when a host of graduate fellowships will be offered by Michigan Sea Grant.
The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, the NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship, the Great Lakes Commission-Sea Grant Fellowship and the International Joint Commission-Sea Grant Fellowship all have application deadlines that fall within the first few months of the year.
These fellowships offer graduate students interested in coastal, Great Lakes and marine issues chances to gain work experience at the state, regional or federal level.
All positions provide a stipend and are for a duration of either one or two years. Previous applicants have come from many different backgrounds, including science, policy and law programs, and typically participate after graduating.
Great Lakes Clean Marina Mini-grants Coming Soon
To help offset some of the costs associated with becoming a certified Clean Marina, Michigan Sea Grant soon will be issuing a request for proposals. These small grants can be used by Clean Marina programs to sustain the cost of marina site visits and consultation with specialists required for certification. Watch the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network website or follow Michigan Clean Marina on Facebook for updates.
Aligning Lessons with National Standards
By Autumn Poisson
Michigan Sea Grant’s Teaching Great Lakes Science Lessons & Data Sets is a resource for science teachers that provides a suite of lesson plans and activities focusing on the Great Lakes. The lessons — many of which incorporate data collected from Michigan Sea Grant partners’ buoys, satellites and other monitoring devices — were recently aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. These internationally benchmarked standards are the newest standards for science curricula for grades K through 12.
Aligned lessons were Beta tested by a group of regional science teachers for ease of use, applicability and coherence. Comments from teachers were used when modifying the plans to adhere to the new standards.
Teachers are encouraged to continue to provide feedback as updating the materials is an ongoing process. Comments can be given by filling out a short survey here or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Sea Grant extension educators write informative articles on a range of subjects — from the latest on invasive species to online tools available to help fishermen increase their catch. Below are a few of the most recent. Read more
Invasive Snail Found in Popular Trout Stream
The introduction of the New Zealand mud snail to the Pere Marquette River in western Michigan is likely the result of one or two of them catching a ride on waders or other recreational fishing gear. Once established, this invasive species may compete with aquatic insects that many popular sportfish prey upon. Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator in the Southwest District, describes some of the actions fishermen can take to prevent future invasions.
Building Community Resiliency in the Saginaw Bay Watershed
Katy Hintzen, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator in the Saginaw Bay District, describes an effort to strengthen community resilience in the Saginaw Bay watershed, an area particularly vulnerable to coastal storms.
Native Fish Spawning Habitat: It’s More than just Rocks in the River – Part 1
For well over a decade, Michigan Sea Grant has led and coordinated reef restoration activities in the Huron Erie Corridor. Dredging and straightening of the St. Claire and Detroit rivers benefited shipping but removed much of the habitat needed by native fish species. Since 2001, Michigan Sea Grant and partners have been learning the art and science of reef restoration and are beginning to see results. Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator in the Southeast District, has been involved from the beginning and describes the effort.