Universities Begin Protection Project for Great Lakes

More than 20 universities in the U.S. and Canada team up with the University of Michigan to propose research and policy priorities to help restore and protect the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes basin is home to more than 35 million people—30 percent of the Canadian population and 10 percent of the U.S. population, and is one of the largest economic outputs in the world. Due to its popularity, the area is expected to grow by 20 million people over the next 20 years. While the basin contains more than 80 percent of the water in North America and 21 percent of the world's surface fresh water, demands from within and outside the basin are substantial and escalating.

The Great Lakes Futures Project of the Transborder Research University Network will use a cross-disciplinary, cross-sector approach to outlining alternative Great Lakes futures through science-based scenario analysis. The project will be managed by Katrina Laurent of Western University.

This unprecedented collaboration of U.S. and Canadian academics, governments, nongovernment organizations, industry and private citizens will address every issue of the Great Lakes, and train the next generation of scientists, planners, attorneys, and policy specialists who will study them. The assessment will begin with development of white papers outlining critical drivers of change in the Great Lakes basin over the past 50 years and the next 50 years, including climate change, the economy, biological and chemical contaminants, invasive species, demographics and societal values, governance and geopolitics, energy and water quantity.

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