Title: Ecological classification of rivers for environmental assessment: demonstration, validation, and application to regional risk assessment across Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


Investigators and Collaborators: Dr. Paul W. Seelbach, University of Michigan (UM) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) seelbach@umich.edu; Dr. Michael J. Wiley, UM; Dr. David Allan, UM; Dr. Kevin E. Wehrly, MDNR; Dr. Troy Zorn, MDNR; Dr. Edward Baker, MDNR; Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, Purdue University (PU); Dr. R. Jan Stevenson (MSU); Dr. John Lyons, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR); Dr. Li Wang, WDNR; Dr. Douglas Austen, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); David Day, IDNR; Ann Holtrop, IDNR; Chad Dolan, IDNR; Michelle DePhilip, The Nature Conservancy.
Institutions: UM, School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), Ann Arbor, MI; MNDR, Institute for Fisheries Research, Ann Arbor, MI; MDNR Hunt Creek Fisheries Research Station, Lewiston, MI; MDNR, Marquette Fisheries Research Station; MSU, Zoology Department, East Lansing; WNDR, Monona Office, WI; IDNR; Springfield Office IL; IDNR, TNC, Great Lakes Program Office, Chicago, IL.


Project Period: 3 Years; October 1, 2002 – November 30, 2006.

Project Summary:


Study Goal and Objectives: Our goal is to couple landscape-based modeling from large, regional data sets and regional Land Transformation Models with a valley segment ecological classification approach already being employed in several Midwestern states. Objectives include completion of a GIS based river segment classification and provision of a comprehensive status and risk assessment of river systems across the upper Midwestern states of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Study Approach: We will build on existing pilot work to delineate and validate ecological valley segment units for all river systems in IL, MI, and WI. Using state resource agency survey databases we will build mathematical models for predicting riverine site habitats and biological reference conditions from mapped landscape and local variables. These models will be used to extrapolate results to unsampled river segments, producing regionwide summaries of current ecological status. Finally we will couple this modeling system to a Land Transformation Model, and provide spatially explicit risk assessments for the river systems of the upper Midwest
Expected Results: Our ultimate products will be: 1) a GIS based river classification and modeling system, developed in cooperation with each state resource agency (and coordinated among states) that contains a series of standard landscape maps and a map of ecological river. Also, associated data tables containing attributes linked to segments: raw data, attribute classes, and risk assessment classes; and 2) the illustration of a landscape based approach to modeling, classification, and status/risk assessment of rivers that would be transferable to other regions.
Supplemental Keywords: hydrologic regime, thermal regime, bioassessment, fish assemblage, hierarchy, monitoring, upper Midwest, survey databases


Land Transformation Model output can be found at this site.

Contact: Bryan C. Pijanowski (bpijanow.at.purdue.edu)

Copyright by Purdue University 2006

Last updated by BCP on March 3, 2007