Focused CoPe: Strengthening Resilience of Manoomin, the Sentinel Species of the Great Lakes, with Data-Science Supported Seventh Generation Stewardship

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: Coastal wetlands and the communities that depend on them are threatened globally by human development and climate change. While considerable work has been done on marine coastal marshes, relatively little work has been done on the fringing wetlands systems of the Great Lakes. Great Lakes Native Nations are particularly vulnerable to coastal change because water and coastal ecosystems are crucial for their livelihood, sustenance, cultural practices and wellbeing. Native communities are disproportionately affected by the twin threats of land development (e.g., mining, logging, oil/gas pipelines) and climate change. Extreme weather events, warming waters, and rapid habitat loss reduce the ability of these communities to access, maintain, and use coastal resources. The combined effects of climate change and regional development has led to decline of manoomin (Ojibwe word for wild rice), an ecologically, culturally, and dietarily important species of the Western Great Lakes. Manoomin ties the physical and ecological issues of coastal wetlands to the spiritual, social, and subsistence issues of the Indigenous people who have lived on these coasts for millennia. Generations of stewardship by Tribal Resource Managers and Knowledge-Holders indicate that a host of perturbations contribute to manoomin decline. To safeguard manoomin for the next seven generations, Tribal Knowledge-Holders have identified a critical need for continuous, holistic observations across manoomin’s range in the Great Lakes Region. This Focused Hub will use a holistic, transdisciplinary approach to untangle the interconnected human, coastal, and global issues causing region-wide manoomin decline in the Western Great Lakes. To achieve these objectives, the Hub will build cyber, community, and educational infrastructure and research initiatives across the region. Direct partnerships with Native nations and communities will affirm local sovereignty over coastal land, water, and ecosystems, and inform resilience decisions at community, tribe, nation, state, and regional levels. Intellectual Merit: The proposed Hub enables basic research on coastal wetlands processes across four Themes: 1) Sensing and Data Science Cyberinfrastructure will combine local and remote sensing with Artificial Intelligence and Data Science approaches to develop deeper understanding of coastal wetlands. This theme will provide data to support all other Themes. 2) Physical and Environmental Processes will unravel the fundamental processes that underlie wetland systems, focusing on the combined effects of water, sediments, and contaminants in manoomin ecosystems. 3) Governance, Social, and Human Dimensions will investigate the governance systems that guide decision-making and the social and human dimensions of manoomin resilience. 4) Community Engagement, Communication, and Education will focus on strengthening relationships between university researchers, tribal entities, and conservation organizations, while building novel educational opportunities for Indigenous students. The four synergistic research theme teams share data and insights to amplify collective scientific inquiry and synthesize disparate information into transdisciplinary understanding of coastal wetlands, manoomin, and Ojibwe society. Broader Impacts: Hub members and partners, who are working on immediate problems that highly impact vulnerable populations, require solutions that can be applied in the near term and strengthen resilience for the next seven generations. The Hub is composed
Effective start/end date9/1/228/31/27


  • National Science Foundation (RISE-2209226)


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