Category: Recreation & Tourism

A Survey of Sportfish for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – An Emerging Contaminant in the Great Lakes

  • Determine the concentrations and speciation of PFAS in important Lake Michigan sportfish
  • Evaluate dietary routes for PFAS exposure from prey to predator fish using δ15N and δ13C stable isotopes along with PFAS speciation
  • Assess the relationship between total fluorine and PFAS concentrations to determine the full extent of the PFAS problem
  • Compare observed PFAS concentrations in fish from Illinois-Indiana waters to other areas such as inland Michigan waterways where PFAS are known to be a problem

Advancing local marketing of Great Lakes recreation and fisheries products

The primary objectives are: 1) To develop a tool to measure the accessibility of safe surface water and coastal recreational resources to communities around southern Lake Michigan, and link this tool to models that support economic valuation of coastal recreation and tourism areas. The aim of this tool is to identify the benefits of investments in improving water quality and public access in legacy contaminated areas, particularly Areas of Concern. 2) To characterize the current marketing and retail chain for Great Lakes fish, and measure the potential for value-added products and marketing to consumers in the region. Possible products include publications and educational materials aimed at increasing the profitability of commercial fish production and consumer access to locally-sourced fish, both wild-caught and aquaculture.

An Integrated Physical-Social-Community (PSC) Approach for Sustainable Shore Protection, Beach Integrity, and Bluff/Dune Stabilization Along Lake Michigan

The overall goals of this project are to:

  • Better understand coastal processes in terms of nearshore hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and coastal morphology under changing climate forcing in Lake Michigan
  • Help effectively communicate to stakeholders, with the purpose of promoting sustainable shore protection, increasing the integrity of beaches; and stabilizing bluffs/dunes in Lake Michigan


Failing Septic Systems as a Source of Human Pathogens to Beach Sand

This project will address an emerging issue along the coast of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana: microbiological pollution of beach sands due to failing septic systems. We will sample beaches in areas of known septic system failures and the sand for E. coli, human fecal bacterial DNA markers, and common pathogens. Successful execution of this project will result in data that can be used for a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) for beachgoers in the area and an experimental framework that can be expanded to examine beach sands in other Indiana coastal communities with high densities of shoreline septic systems.

Investigating Chicago and Northshore REscue Skills and Swim to Survive: Community Utilization and Experience (I CAN RES3CUE)

Little progress has been made toward reducing fatal drowning incidents in the United States (U.S.) in the last 20 years. Recent data from the Great Lakes indicate the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in excess drownings during summer 2020. Chicago has 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 24 free, public beaches that are punctuated with piers and jetties. The resultant structural currents pose unique risks to patrons who often access the lake outside of the official summer season and in the summer season after lifeguards go off duty at 7 p.m. There is an urgent need for effective education programs to raise awareness about recreation safety in Lake Michigan, the deadliest of the Great Lakes, and to increase water competence in diverse communities that have historically been excluded from swimming. The community-engaged injury prevention and water safety experts in Chicago are uniquely situated to respond.

Objective 1: To assess the impact of Chicago Park District’s Community Water Safety Trainings on program participant knowledge and skills, community-level knowledge, and distressed swimmer events and drownings.

Objective 2: To implement, pilot, and evaluate the Swim to Survive Program enhanced with Great Lakes safety education in Evanston, IL and adapt the program for implementation in Chicago communities.

Outdoor Recreation and the NSRE: An Examination of Nature Based Learning Activities with a Focus on Water

  • Provide and enhance the description of recreation participants in the nature based and specfiically
    water related learning activities
  • Segment recreation participants by applying the Three-step Procedural Model (activity packages,
    sociodemographic background, trip-related characteristics, environmental attitudes; and expenditure information)
  • Determine how the activity segments differ in terms of geographic, sociodemographic, travel trip, expenditure, attitudes and other characteristics
  • Provide recommendations for public and private recreation organizations interested in the outdoor
    recreation market

Pilot field observations of Lake Michigan atmospheric boundary layers

  • Test the ability of a mobile atmospheric sounding system, and best deployment methods, to observe marine boundary layer (MBL) structure and evolution across Lake Michigan
  • Compare observations from this sounding system to nearby standard NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) sounding data in the Great Lakes region
  • Conduct initial tests of theories by Workoff (2010) on cross-lake changes in marine boundary layer vertical stability and wind structure
  • Use pilot data gathered during these field tests to develop a more complete observational field study of interactions between Lake Michigan marine boundary layers and deep convective storm systems

Recreational valuation and management implications for the southern Lake Michigan fishery

This project first collated more than 50,000 data records from creel surveys conducted in Illinois and Indiana waters of Lake Michigan. Linear models were used to explore relationships between fisheries data and ancillary data such as fish abundance, fish stocking, prey densities and environmental parameters. The project then estimated an economic valuation of the Lake Michigan shoreline and boat fishing activity to anglers.

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