An integrated assessment (IA) is an approach to synthesizing and delivering relevant, independent scientific input to decision making through a comprehensive analysis of existing natural and social scientific information in the context of a policy or management question. An IA led by Michigan Sea Grant was conducted for the three-county region of Presque Isle, Alpena, and Alcona Counties in Northeast Michigan. This coastal area along Lake Huron includes rich natural and cultural resources, but the local communities are currently experiencing economic difficulties. Despite the great potential for economic development, the communities located here wish to proceed cautiously in order to avoid overdevelopment and destruction of the area's unique resources. The guiding policy question in this IA is: How can coastal access be designed, in a regional context, for sustainable tourism that stimulates economic development while maintaining the integrity of natural and cultural resources, and quality of life? The objectives of this project, as a part of the larger IA, were 1) to design the stakeholder engagement process and assist in developing policy options and 2) to develop a GIS based ecological data set and associated maps for use by local decision makers.
Brian Colleran, M.S. Conservation Biology
Ken Mori, M.S. Terrestrial Ecology
Erica Powell, M.S. Environmental Policy