Paul Seelbach

Professor of Practice


PhD, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (Fisheries Science)

MS, Bucknell University (Aquatic Ecology)

BS, Bucknell University (Biology)



Professor Seelbach's experiences bridge the academic study of aquatic ecosystems and its application within a range of resource management agencies. He has worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division as Research Scientist and Statewide Research Director; for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Office of the Great Lakes, as Senior Fellow; for the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, as Coastal Ecosystems Branch Chief; and for the Great Lakes Commission as Senior Science Advisor. He has helped with major initiatives regarding watershed assessment and management, ecological flows and water allocation policy, water resources monitoring, and coastal zone management.

Regarding science, Paul applies a landscape-ecology approach to understanding the structure and function of riverine and nearshore ecosystems. Regarding aquatic practice, Paul is interested in promoting effective "knowledge-to-practice" and in nurturing development of professional and leadership skills.

  • 2011-Present: Development of pilot Great Lakes Information Management and Delivery System.  Funded by UMGL-LCC. $400,000.  Co-PI: Dr. S. Sowa, The Nature Conservancy.
  • 2010-Present: USGS Structure and function of Great Lakes rivermouths.  Included co-lead (with GL Commission) of GL Rivermouths Collaboratory.
  • 2006-2008: Development of the pilot national habitat GIS framework.  Funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish Habitat Initiative, $80,000.  Co-PIs: Dr. L. Wang, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Dr. D. Infante, Michigan State University.with assistance from the IAFWA, National Fish Habitat Initiative Science Review Team.
  • 2006-2008: Design of a statewide water withdrawal assessment tool.  Funded by state legislature, $500,000.  Co-PIs: D. Hamilton, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; J. Nicholas, U.S. Geological Survey.
  • 2002-2007: Proposed implementation plan for an aquatic GAP analysis project in the Great Lakes Region, 2002-05.  Funded by US Geological Survey, $560,000.  PI is J. Stewart, US Geological Survey [I am one of many Cooperating Scientists across Great Lakes Basin].  Funding included $60,000 for a University of Michigan graduate student.

  • Water Conservationist of the Year. Michigan United Conservation Clubs (2007). 

Select publications: 


2011- Chair, Technical Advisory Committee, Great Lakes Fish Habitat Partnership (2011).
2010- Member, Technical Advisory Committee, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC (2010).
2010- Fellow, Collaborative Governance Series, Michigan State University (2010).

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