Great Lakes Rivermouth Collaboratory

Jan 2013 | Archived Projects, Habitat and Coastal, Library, Water Quality

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

The Great Lakes Rivermouth Collaboratory was a task of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center (USGS-GLSC) “Great Lakes Rivermouth Ecosystems” initiative, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Commission. The overall rivermouth science initiative was focused on synthesizing knowledge and improving understandings about the ecological functions of complex freshwater estuaries of the Great Lakes.

The initial purpose of the Rivermouth Collaboratory was to engage the Great Lakes coastal ecology community in consolidating and sharing knowledge about freshwater rivermouth ecosystems and their underlying processes. This synthesis would provide a critical, missing linkage among the science disciplines historically focused on Great Lakes watershed, coastal, nearshore, and deepwater environments. It would likewise strengthen the foundation for ongoing research and management of these often heavily used and impacted ecosystems.

Problem Statement and Objectives

Problem Statement

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), initially funded in 2010, has accelerated habitat restoration throughout the region to address issues affecting the Great Lakes, including non-point source pollution, invasive species, habitat restoration, toxics and contaminated sediments. A significant amount of these funds will be invested in and associated with rivermouth ecosystems. However, the scientific understanding of these complex ecosystems is currently limited and highly fragmented. Successful restoration and long-term sustainability of rivermouth areas will be compromised without an improved scientific understanding of the structure and function of these ecosystems and their linkages with neighboring ecosystem types (e.g., the Great Lakes proper). Beyond an improved understanding of their ecology, the region needs a common set of priorities and strategies for short, medium, and long-term rivermouth restoration and protection.

The objectives of the Great Lakes Rivermouth Collaboratory include:

  • establishing and maintaining a project management structure that will engage the science, restoration and management communities;
  • conducting a series of workshops and webinars that will improve scientific knowledge and understanding of rivermouth ecosystems and their restoration and sustainability needs; and
  • applying that knowledge in the development of a common rivermouth agenda and institutional framework to accomplish restoration activities that produce anticipated benefits.