GLNF CESU: Evaluating the Relationship of Community Gravel Beds in Lake Huron and Erie- GLRI

Tree canopy cover in the United States is declining.

Nowak and Greenfield (2012) documented that in 17 of the 20 U. S. cities assessed for canopy and impervious surfaces changes, tree canopy cover had significantly declined within recent timespan (about 10 years), and impervious surfaces had significantly

increased in 16 of the 20 communities.

For a variety of reasons and pressures, native vegetation is not replenishing itself in natural areas and plant communities are changing character.

This funding seeks to expand the effort to several new urban communities along Lake Erie and Huron.One objective of this study is to document all species and nursery rooting types used in these planting initiatives, track and record survival and establishment rates for three years, and project their impact on canopy cover 30 years out.

A second objective is to document citizen engagement at the community level to quantify the impact on said communities’ capacity to manage a tree canopy planting initiative.

A third objective is to document any changes in the tree genetic diversity of said communities as a result of the planting initiatives.

A fourth and final objective is to assess species adaptability to the various landscape indices (e.g., shade, lowland, soil characteristics).

These indices could be compared with other (non-Great Lake sites) to assess which variables are critically important or improve the likelihood of tree survival, likely establishment and likely providing canopy cover in 30 years.

This research would help the public and agencies learn more about how to improve the tree canopy cover in communities around the Great Lakes.

Tree canopy cover naturally improves water quality but is declining in most areas.

This research helps inform if there are more effective approaches to re-establishing tree canopy cover in communities.

The scientific community and/or researchers external to NPS gain new knowledge provided through research and related results dissemination on natural resource information.

This effort was awarded funding through a reimbursable agreement between Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Park Service under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2020 program:
Communities along the lake shores of Lake Erie and Huron will begin their tree canopy planting initiatives within 6-12 months after the award.

The PI will work with these communities to set up the gravel beds and study a number of variables over several y