Enhancing Great Lakes coastal ecosystems research by initiating engagement between scientists and decision-makers

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Michigan Tech Research Institute


A disconnect between scientific research and environmental management communities can be a detriment to both. In the case of Great Lakes coastal ecosystems, which are inherently complex and subject to uncertain effects of future climatic, environmental, and anthropogenic drivers, greater collaboration could be beneficial to their sustainability. We capture the challenges and opportunities identified by a scientist/decision-maker co-production workshop focused on the future environmental quality of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. We explain our path through the stakeholder workshop process, our challenges in translating meeting outcomes into actionable items, and lessons learned to bridge gaps between scientists and decision-makers. Additionally, we determine topics and directions identified by decision-makers that can be modeled with existing technologies and others that require further research. These topics may be incorporated into future research efforts and could serve as a shortlist of research priorities that were identified by decision-makers working with coastal wetland issues. Based on lessons learned during and after the workshop, we provide suggestions for bridging the gap between researchers and decision-makers, including sustained engagement between these groups and improved interaction through the beginning, duration, and end of research and/or management efforts.

Publisher's Statement

© 2021 the US Geological Survey and the Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Great Lakes Research All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2021.04.018

Publication Title

Journal of Great Lakes Research