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OVPR funds two interdisciplinary Great Lakes projects

Two interdisciplinary projects focusing on the Great Lakes have been funded under the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) Great Lakes Initiative.

The purpose of the OVPR Great Lakes Initiative is to stimulate research at the early stages of development in areas that are likely to generate external support as well as reinvigorate Great Lakes research at the University, says Fawwaz Ulaby, vice president for research.

The first project, "In-situ Immobilization and Stabilization of Contaminated Great Lakes Sediments for Beneficial Users," will explore the feasibility of a new technology for restoring and reclaiming contaminated Great Lakes sediments targeted for long-term storage as a way to isolate the hazard they pose from ongoing ecological damage. The project's principal investigator is Prof. Walter Weber, Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering (CoE), who will work with co-investigators Jerome Nriagu of the School of Public Health (SPH), Catherine Riseng of the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) and Jason Tang of CoE.

The second project, "Watershed-Great Lakes Interactions: Defining the Ecological Footprint of the Muskegon River Watershed on Fisheries in Nearshore Lake Michigan," will extend ongoing research of fish populations and habitats

in the Muskegon River watershed by developing a more quantitative understanding of the river-lake interaction. The principal investigator is Prof. Edward Rutherford, SNRE. He will be joined in the project by investigators David Jude, Michael Wiley, James Diana and Sara Adlerstein (SNRE); Brian Kennedy and Joel Blum (LSA); Thomas Johengen (CoE); and Doran Mason, Brian Eadie and Scott Peacor (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory).

"As the state's premier research institution, I want the public to understand that the University's interest in Great Lakes research is very strong," Ulaby says. "I think the collective challenge for those who work on lakes research is to develop the kind of focus that the institution can sustain. We hope that this internal funding initiative will help that effort grow and prosper."

George Carignan, interim director of Michigan Sea Grant, spearheaded the review and selection process. "The review panelfaculty and professional experts on the Great Lakeswere intrigued by the scope and diversity of the proposals," Carignan says. "Proposals with the greatest promise of fostering new interdisciplinary research were chosen for funding. We expect both of the selected projects will generate external funding following the early development seeded by the OVPR initiative."

Each project has received $100,000 in support, with $80,000 contributed by OVPR and the remaining $20,000 from the investigators' units.










Image A shows the complex of channels
that flow into the Muskegon River
.
Image B shows the types of land uses, including
the influx of urban areas, in the Muskegon River basin as of 1978.
(Images courtesy of Edward Rutherford)


Related story: Sax reflects on the Great Lakes basin during Wege lecture>

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