Climate Change in Grand Traverse Bay

Climate Change in Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay: Integrated Assessment

Great Lakes coastal communities are already experiencing the effects of climate change and climate variability. And, in places like Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, land use, an influx of population and increased development have also impacted the coastal waters and the watershed.

Together, climate and land use changes have altered the amount of water, sediment, nutrients, toxins and pathogens entering streams and coastal waters. Forecasts predict that changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are likely to intensify. These anticipated changes have the potential to threaten the ecology and economy of the Grand Traverse Bay region.

Project Description

Sea Grant Funds: $149,974 | Matching Funds: $76,328

The research team will address the following questions:

  • What are the risks and vulnerabilities of the bay region, its watershed and its coastal communities to climate and land use changes?
  • What are potential adaptive strategies that would help preserve particular uses?

In order to answer those questions, the research team will:

  • Quantify historical changes in air and water temperature, precipitation, snowfall, lake ice cover, lake levels, stream flow and water quality.
  • Assess impacts of these changes on the ecosystem, lake levels and the shoreline and pathogens entering the system.
  • Simulate the likely impacts of climate change on the watershed.
  • Assess the effectiveness and economic impacts of management strategies that are critical to the economy.
  • Develop adaptive management strategies and a report.

The final project report will include options for adaptive management that can be implemented by resource managers and policy practitioners to mitigate the effects of our changing climate.

Get Involved

Stakeholder participation is key to the project and several meetings will be open to the public. For more information or to get involved, email Erin Dreelin or call (517) 353-7746.

Featured Publications

Meetings and Resources


Project Team

PI: David Hyndman, Ph.D
Professor and Chair for Department of Geological Sciences
Michigan State University
(517) 355-4626

Co-PI: Erin A. Dreelin, Ph.D
Associate Director at the Center for Water Sciences
Michigan State University
(517) 353-7746

Policy Contact:
Greg Goudy
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Water Bureau

Michigan Sea Grant Contact:
Mark Breederland
Extension Educator, Northwest District
(231) 922-4628