MILC Session 7-9 Lake Protection, Management and Governance
From Renae Siler
- 12:05: Protecting Our Lakes from Natural & Anthropogenic Disasters – Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow, Stacy Daniels, Benzie Co. River improvement Co.
- 30:00: Reducing management decision uncertainty with lake circulation modeling, Mike Foster, Kieser & Associates, LLC
- 1:01:15: Polycentric governance for change: Comparing how U.S. Midwest lake and watershed governance systems facilitate learning, Dane Whittaker, Arizona State University
We view our water environment from differing times: the distant past, the fleeting present, and the far future. We cannot change the past of yesterday. We think we can change the present of today. We hope we can change the future of tomorrow! During our brief existences we are faced by the omnipresent hazards of life which can be either ubiquitous, and relatively benign, or infrequent, but severe. We are faced with threats of natural and/or anthropogenic (artificial) “disasters" of varying degrees, both real and imagined. Some of us are fortunate enough to be riparians and littorians, living along streams and lakes. We set goals to have “A place by the water”. We plan to enjoy our lives in peaceful coexistence with both the naturally created environment and our artificially built environment. Our lakes and rivers, however, are subject to beneficial and detrimental changes pending reactive or preventative actions, to control water level control, human dimensions, and watershed management. Some changes are intense for short duration's, like sudden storms with whitecapped waves, or dam breachings followed by inundations causing significant damage downstream, Other changes are imperceptible over long durations of millennia, like glaciers forming lakes and altering landscapes. Changes in construction and operation of engineered structures and changes in human behavioral patterns are addressed as examples of preventive strategies.Reducing management decision uncertainty with lake circulation modeling, Mike Foster, Kieser & Associates, LLC
Hydrologic circulation models provide predictive capabilities for complex lake issues that can otherwise be very difficult to analyze. We utilized the AEM3D model to simulate select inland lake applications to analyze a variety of lake conditions for large-scale management implications. As a three-dimensional model, AEM3D allows for simulation of both horizontal currents as well as vertical mixing. It also allows for the simulation of biogeochemical processes such as macrophyte and algal growth, as well as nutrient/metals interactions. These capabilities allowed K&A to analyze phenomena such as: A) Tributary loading and nutrient plume transport in a 7,300-lake with a 10+ year hydraulic residence time including: 1) ice formation timing and under-ice nutrient plume movements; 2) temperature stratification magnitude, timing and impacts on sediment/water column exchange; B) Limited areal dosing with Alum and distribution impacts on sediment/water column phosphorus concentrations in a 700-acre river-run lake; C) Lake current direction and velocity impacts on dredging design for a shallow 279-acre lake and portions of a river impoundment. Modeling these scenarios enabled superior decision-making for expensive management options. Simulations for Big Green Lake (Green Lake, WI) demonstrated that both of the two main tributaries contribute similarly to open lake nutrient concentrations despite the largest being in close proximity to the lake outlet. Simulations showed lake managers that both drainage areas should be targeted for watershed improvements. For Mona Lake (Norton Shores, MI), simulations analyzed whether alum treatments in the upstream portions of this drowned river-mouth lake connected to Lake Michigan will potentially suppress phosphorus release from downstream, untreated sediments. In the Fox River/Lake Tichigan impoundment in Waterford, WI, simulations examined dredge operation management needs to minimize disturbed sediment transport, and where dredged areas may be vulnerable to sediment movement and back-filling. This paper will discuss benefits for reducing management decision uncertainty with lake circulation modeling.Polycentric governance for change: Comparing how U.S. Midwest lake and watershed governance systems facilitate learning. Dane Whittaker, Arizona State University
Adapting to environmental change requires governance that spans ecological levels, jurisdictions, and challenges. Complex environmental governance is characterized by decision-making centers with overlapping jurisdictions that work together in partnership, conflict, or competition—termed polycentric governance. These decision-making centers are from academic, government, non-profit, and private sectors. Prior research hypothesizes that functional polycentric governance increases adaptive capacity through learning and experimentation. However, empirical evidence shows that decision-making centers in polycentric environmental governance may fail to encourage innovation or provide useful information. In this paper, I compare the structure and function polycentric lake and watershed governance to respond to social and ecological challenges in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I interviewed 18 leaders from lake associations, lake districts, and watershed alliances using expert elicitation and virtual tabletop exercises to gather structured data about the degree to which the organizations’ partners help them adapt to their social and ecological challenges through experimentation and learning. My results illustrate how the structure and function of polycentric governance systems differ by challenge. Additionally, diversity in actors may help adaptive capacity if there are functional linkages that facilitate learning, but central decision centers with high control may have a chilling effect on experimentation. I discuss the implications of these findings for governance of complex challenges in the context of environmental change.Learn more about the 2022 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention presentations here.