Economic Development

Topic Economic Development

Sustainable Small Harbor Management Strategy Project

Michigan is home to more than 80 public harbors and marinas, run by the state, county or local government. Each year, Great Lakes boating infuses the Michigan economy with nearly $2.4 billion through direct and secondary spending. The trend of fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes, particularly persistent low water levels in the past 10 years, combined with economic downturn have taken their toll on local waterfront communities. In addition, state and federal funding for public harbors is increasingly limited.

The research team seeks to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. The team is hosting charrettes (facilitated community planning sessions) in New Baltimore, Au Gres, Ontonagon and Pentwater. Information on public meetings is available on the project website.

Project number: R/CCD-33, 2014-2016
Don Carpenter, Lawrence Technological University
Project Website | Project Overview (PDF)


Charting the Course for the Bluewater Coast

The declining recreational Chinook salmon fishery has negatively impacted the coastal economies of communities located in Michigan’s “Thumb” area, from Tuscola county to Port Huron in St. Clair county. Historically, individual port towns and coastal businesses in the thumb area have worked in isolation. However, this regional assessment aims to help communities work collaboratively to adapt to these changes and challenges.

M/PD-44, Dates: 2009-2012
Christine Vogt, Michigan State University
Project Website | Fact Sheet (PDF)


Coastal Brownfield Redevelopment in Michigan

The research team worked closely with state agency professionals to evaluate the challenges and benefits of remediating and redeveloping coastal properties considered brownfields, such as abandoned factories. Researchers reviewed 55 brownfield remediation sites, explored the process of redevelopment, and identified specific benefits resulting for the surrounding neighborhoods. Their findings are being used by the state and brownfield professionals to raise awareness about how redevelopment can be used creatively to enhance coastal access, public green space and community character, as well as improve the local economy and environment.

R/CCD-1, dates: 2007-2009
William Welsh and Robert Jones, Eastern Michigan University
See: Project Website


Northeast Michigan Integrated Assessment (NEMIA)

This assessment was designed to foster a regional planning process related to economic development and coastal resources in northeast Michigan. Researchers led five technical assessments, and 50 partner organizations, state agencies, and county governments came together during a series of workshops. The assessment has resulted in unprecedented regional collaboration and partnerships, and generated $195,000 in funding for new projects. Notable project outcomes include place-based education opportunities for young people, development of a regionally coordinated management plan for coastal state parks, and selection of northeast Michigan as a pilot community for regional economic development.

M/PM-29, dates: 2006-2008
Jennifer Read and Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant
See: Project Website


Ecological and Economic Consequences of Hydropower-Related Watershed Restoration on Salmonid Productivity in Great Lakes Tributaries

R/GLF-48, dates: 1999-2002
Frank Lupi, John Hoehn, Nathaniel Moore, Michigan State University
Ed Rutherford, University of Michigan