About the GLWMS

The GLWMS is an evolving mapping, analysis and reporting system used to improve water resources management across the Great Lakes. The system allows users to:

  • Estimate nonpoint source pollutant loadings at the field and watershed scales
  • Determine potential reduction in nonpoint source pollutants based on implemented best management practices (BMPs)
  • Assess potential increases in groundwater recharge based on implemented BMPs
  • Adjust input parameters for select analysis modules
  • Generate PDF reports containing field-scale analysis results and detailed maps
  • Track watershed improvements over time

The GLWMS is available in the four U.S. EPA GLRI Priority Watersheds – Fox River Basin (WI); Genesse River Basin (NY); Maumee River Basin (OH); Saginaw River Basin (MI) as well as the River Raisin Watershed in southeastern Michigan. It is our long-term goal to expand the system beyond these watersheds. Please contact us to find out how to get your watershed in the GLWMS.

Project Spotlights

GLWMS in the Saginaw Bay Watershed Conservation Partnership

The Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy utilizes the GLWMS for several initiatives in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. The GLWMS supports two innovative pay-for-performance programs in the watershed by estimating benefits of select conservation practices on groundwater recharge and sediment loading reduction. Furthermore, the GLWMS is central to the Saginaw By Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Professionals at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Certified Crop Advisors are using the GLWMS to identify acres with the greatest potential to yield positive ecological outcomes and track conservation benefits across the watershed.

GLWMS in the Cooling the Hotspots Pay for Performance Program

Funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, this project is piloting a pay for performance program to reduce phosphorus loading in the River Raisin Watershed of southeastern Michigan. A pay for performance approach pays farmers based on the reduction of nutrients or other nonpoint source pollutants from farmland instead of simply paying for a best management practice to be installed. Results from a watershed SWAT model, developed by the University of Michigan Water Center, will be incorporated into the GLWMS. Conservation district technicians, farmers and others will be able to run an analysis on a given farm field and determine the estimated reduction in phosphorus loading and associated payment for the reduction. Visit the program website for more information.

GLWMS Support

The Great Lakes Watershed Management System represents the integration of several water quality modeling projects across the region, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District (USACE), the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University (IWR-MSU), and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University (ABE-Purdue).

TNC funded the development of erosion and sediment models within the Saginaw Bay Watershed, and the ability to re-run those models online for user-defined areas of BMPs or land cover change. TNC also funded the development of watershed-scale prioritization functionality, whereby users could specify a target % of land to focus conservation practices within a particular watershed and then estimate resulting erosion and sediment load reductions.

USACE funded the development of erosion and sediment models for the Fox, Genesee, Maumee, and Saginaw River basins. USACE also funded the development of a web-service version of ABE-Purdue's L-THIA model allowing for an integration of L-THIA estimates of non-point source pollution with estimates of erosion and sediment loading from IWR-MSU's HIT model.

ABE-Purdue developed the web-service version of L-THIA, the expanded list of land cover change and BMP practices available for dynamic simulation, and assembled the necessary backend data to make analysis available for the system's current focus watersheds.

IWR-MSU developed erosion and sediment model for the system's current focus watersheds, the ability to re-run those model on-line under various BMP and land cover change conditions, and the watershed-scale analysis capabilities. IWR-MSU also led the integration of its and ABE-Purdue's analysis tools within this single mapping interface.

Privacy Statement

Version 2.7

Release Date 5/16/2016

IWR Contacts:
Glenn O'Neil (oneilg@msu.edu): 609-557-3017
Jeremiah Asher (asherjer@msu.edu): 517-432-5586