A systems approach to TMDL policy assessment: The case of Lake Allegan, Michigan

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Systems thinking can facilitate holistic understanding of complex system behavior. When applied to environmental systems impacted by human activities, systems thinking can provide insights for developing effective plans to protect ecosystem integrity and support socioeconomic development. In this study, the main system dynamics archetype governing a lake's eutrophication problem is described to explain the system's problematic behavior and identify policies for mitigation. Furthermore, in order to put systems thinking concepts into practice, an integrated system dynamics model is developed to simulate the interaction between key socio-economic subsystems and natural processes driving eutrophication. The model is applied to holistically characterize the lake's recovery from its hypereutrophic state and assess a number of proposed TMDL reduction policies, including phosphorous load reductions from point sources and non-point sources © 2012 ASCE.

Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2012: Crossing Boundaries, Proceedings of the 2012 Congress