2022 Great Lakes Coastal Symposium Workshop Recap

UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)’s Director of Geospatial Technology, Greg Dobson, and GIS Research Associate, Jessica Orlando, recently returned from the 2022 Great Lakes Coastal Symposium in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Throughout this workshop, the NEMAC GIS team, along with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) collaborators, shared draft results of the Great Lakes Regional Coastal Resilience Assessment. Relevant stakeholders had the opportunity to provide comments on draft models and data inputs after virtual and in-person workshops.

The purpose of this stakeholder workshop was to gather a group of regional experts and facilitate conversations to improve upon the current draft models and indices. Meeting attendees reviewed draft map products through an interactive GIS map viewer and large map printouts, provided guidance on data inputs and sources, and discussed potential nature-based solutions to increase coastal resilience throughout the region. Participants worked collaboratively with NEMAC and other experts to revise and build upon the products.

These map products are based on initial results from the Great Lakes Regional Coastal Resilience Assessment compiled by NFWF in partnership with NOAA and NEMAC earlier this fall. The assessment identifies community assets exposed to flooding threats, important fish and wildlife resources, and Resilience Hubs — large areas of natural, open space that hold potential for both improved human and ecosystem community resilience throughout the Great Lakes.

Impactful Insight

In addition to the important feedback gained throughout the conference, researchers also had the opportunity to tour the shorelines that they typically explore virtually through spatial data on mapping interfaces. Their tour spanned the diverse coastlines of three Great Lakes (Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior) and the St. Marys River.

Next Steps

The feedback period has now closed and the team is working on incorporating what they learned into the next draft of the Assessment. Be sure to connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook to be updated when the final version of the map viewer and stakeholder workshop summary are released! summary are released!

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Ashlyn Shore

Science Editor at UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center