Sustainability and Risk of Fragmented Habitats: Development and Regulatory Variables in Shoreline Residential Development Planning in Southwest Michigan

EPA Grant Number: R827584
Title: Sustainability and Risk of Fragmented Habitats: Development and Regulatory Variables in Shoreline Residential Development Planning in Southwest Michigan
Investigators: Lemberg, David , Fraser, Rolland
Institution: Western Michigan University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000 (Extended to February 28, 2002)
Project Amount: $104,042
RFA: Futures: Detecting the Early Signals (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Sustainability , Land and Waste Management , Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


Our combined approach will allow us to answer thesequestions: 1) What is the current state of the landscape and habitats of the shorelines inthe area? 2) What are the perceptions and desires of the developers, landowners, realestate agents, and residents on shoreline development? 3) What are the local, regional,state, and national regulations on shoreline development, and how do they shape localland use practices? 4) What are the impacts of alternative types of shorelinelandscaping on the sustainability of shoreline habitats? and 5) How does thecombination of physical and landscape attributes, market forces, regulatorybackground, and development practices result in differential risk levels to shorelinehabitats?


The first element of assessing risk in the study area is a physical survey of developed shoreline landscape structure and shoreline areas under development pressure, in association with informal landowner/developer surveys. The second element is to conduct socio-economic survey of land perception, value and development pressure, as well as multi-level conservation regulations affecting the study area. A risk-variable GIS will be constructed in association with these two approaches. The third element is a controlled experiment to examine impacts of different residential lot treatments on vertebrate activity and microclimate in the study area. This will be linked to the physical survey (positive control).

Expected Results:

The regional and socio-economic survey approaches will yield results that examine the potential impacts of the demands and activities, associated with shoreline residential development, upon the shoreline community landscape ecology. Experimentation will provide regionally relevant physical risk information. Results will be represented in a spatial framework, from which to demonstrate variable risk and the need for further funding to investigate the balance of physical and human landscape risk-variable factors. The results will also demonstrate the need for developing a base body of information on shoreline development, which is currently limited.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 9 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

corridor, Great Lakes, habitat fragmentation, risk assessment, urban planning, vertebrates, watershed., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Monitoring, Habitat, Ecological Risk Assessment, decision-making, Urban and Regional Planning, Futures, Exp. Research/future, Economics & Decision Making, emerging environmental problems, shoreline, ecosystem valuation, risk assessment, socio-economic changes, urban planning, natural resources, environmental policy, exploratory research, habitat fragmentation, sustainability, environmental regulations, fragmented habitats, public policy, futures research

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report