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“Climate-Smart” Projects for a Successful Great Lake Restoration

June 20, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes face serious challenges such as invasive species, pollution and variable water levels. And as millions of dollars are being spent revitalizing the region, researchers say projects should take into account the effects of climate change.

Patty Glick, senior climate change specialist with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), says the region is already seeing the effects of climate change, such as extreme precipitation, flooding and drought, and that scientists predict more such effects in the future.

She says that, if projects are not "climate-smart," the ultimate goal of restoring the Great Lakes might not be reached.

"In Ohio, if you are designing for example a stream restoration project you want to make sure that your project is going to be able to accommodate for more extreme flooding, or in periods of drought for lower flows."

The NWF is partnering to release a new guide, "Restoring the Great Lakes' Coast Future", which provides key recommendations to ensure that restoration projects will endure as the climate changes.

Glick says the guide is focused on concrete action and provides project managers a decision-making framework.

"We provide specific information about climate-change impacts in the region and key resources to help guide restoration project managers through a process of putting their work through a climate-change lens."

Hundreds of projects are underway to restore the Great Lakes, aimed at cleaning up toxins, improving water quality, combating invasive species and restoring wetlands.

The guide is available at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH