NOAA Ocean Science Blog sat down with Rebecca Held to learn more about NOAA’s GLERL and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). This blog is one in a series designed to provide readers with different NCCOS partner perspectives as they relate to pollution research taking place in the Great Lakes.
Interviewee Biography: Rebecca Held is NOAA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program Coordinator, located at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, MI. She helps administer and coordinate NOAA’s 19 GLRI projects, and serve as NOAA’s point of contact for EPA and other agencies involved with the GLRI.
How does your work relate to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)?
The GLRI is the largest investment in the Great Lakes region in two decades, with multiple federal agencies working in coordination with states, tribes, municipalities, public interest organizations, businesses, academia and other interested stakeholders to focus projects in five primary areas:
- Cleaning up toxics and Areas of Concern
- Combating invasive species
- Protecting watersheds from polluted runoff
- Restoring wetlands and other habitats
- Education, tracking progress and working with partners
What are some of the activities GLERL oversees for NOAA’s GLRI work?
NOAA’s diverse GLRI portfolio includes projects in NMFS, NOS, and OAR. GLERL is the only OAR lab located in the Great Lakes region, and due to its central location within the Great Lakes, is a great place from which NOAA can execute much of its GLRI work. Additionally, the Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program is co-located at GLERL and plans, implements and funds GLRI habitat restoration projects throughout the Great Lakes Region.
NOAA also has several GLRI projects taking place at other locations across the country, enabling us to take advantage of the agency’s wide-ranging expertise on science and service to support Great Lakes Restoration.
Can you briefly list the projects taking place across NOAA under GLRI?
NOAA has projects in each of the five GLRI Focus Areas:
- Expansion of NOAA’s Mussel Watch Program (NOS/NCCOS)
- Lake Sturgeon Health Assessment (NOS/ORR)
- Modeling Atmospheric Mercury Deposition to the Great Lakes (OAR/ARL)
- Great Lakes Watershed Environmental Contamination Database Expansion (NOS/ORR)
- Debris Removal FS and Design and Mussel Bioaccumulation Study at the Manistique Area of Concern (NMFS/Habitat/RC)
- Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS) Enhancements (OAR/GLERL)
- Regional Ecosystem Prediction for Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lakes (NOS/NCCOS/CSCOR)
- Sea Grant Outreach and Education (OAR)
- Assessing Risk of Asian Carp Invasion and Impacts on Great Lakes Food Webs and Fisheries (OAR/GLERL)
Nearshore and Nonpoint Source Pollution
- Decision Support Tools for Nearshore Water Quality Prediction (OAR/GLERL)
- Identification of Tipping Points for Agriculture and Land Use Indicators (OAR/GLERL/Sea Grant)
- Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) for Great Lakes sites (NOS/OCRM)
- Area of Concern Land Acquisition (NMFS/Habitat/RC)
- Area of Concern Project Design and Implementation (NMFS/Habitat/RC)
- Habitat Restoration Partnerships in Areas of Concern (NMFS/Habitat/RC)
- Jobs Challenge (NMFS/Habitat/RC)
Accountability, Evaluation, Communication, Monitoring and Partnerships
- Community Outreach and Technical Assistance for Assessing Climate Change Risks and Vulnerabilities with the Great Lakes Region (NOS/CSC and OAR/GLERL)
- Great Lakes Bay Watershed and Education Training (B-WET) Program (MOS/NMS)
- Implementation of the Great Lakes Observation and Response System (NOS/IOOS)
- Support for Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) activities (OAR/GLERL)
- Assessment of Lake Ontario Benthic Macroinvertebrates (OAR/GLERL)
What NOAA programs and partners collaborateand carry out GLRI projects?
Besides the numerous NOAA program offices involved in GLRI projects listed above, other partners that collaborate with NOAA’s GLRI projects include Great Lakes Sea Grant, universities, state and local governments, and NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, and National Wildlife Federation. Other federal partners involved in the GLRI include EPA, USFWS, USGS, BIA, DOT, ATSDR, APHIS, HUD, USPS, State Department, US Coast Guard, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Where can readers find more information about these projects and the researchers carrying out the work (e.g., websites, products, data portals)?
Readers can go to the following sources to learn more about NOAA’s contribution to the GLRI:
When and where will results of the GLRI projects be available to the public?
GLRI projects can be tracked on EPA’s Great Lakes Accountability System (GLAS). Additionally, the EPA GLRI website lists success stories. NOAA will be working on compiling results and success stories of our projects this summer – check our GLRI website for upcoming updated info.
Where can readers go to get more information about GLERL?
The GLERL website is: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/