A series of ravines along the shoreline of Lake Michigan have become a major focus of conservationists in Northeast Illinois and Southeast Wisconsin. Restored ravines protect property values, drinking water quality, and recreational opportunities. They also decrease storm water flowing onto the beaches and into the lake, slowing erosion and decreasing water pollution. Most restoration scientists and coastal land/watershed managers agree that climate change phenomena will impact Great Lakes coastal communities. Still, there is considerable uncertainty as to the scope of the impacts on ravines, and therefore the appropriate management actions. This project provides an avenue for decision makers to implement strategies of adaptive risk management, by allowing them to co-develop, with technical experts as part of a local “knowledge network.”
The predicted outcomes of the project include a strengthened knowledge network of local entities who manage ravines from Illinois and Wisconsin and collaboratively developed, climate-smart adaptation strategies. Two pilot projects will allow local ravine managers to implement those strategies and integrate metrics into their existing restoration projects. The project will also promote “social learning” between affected stakeholders both locally and regionally to support continued outreach beyond the term of this grant.