Goodspeed Part of Team Helping Stop Stream Water Quality Degradation Before It Starts

Robert Goodspeed, an associate professor of urban and regional planning, is part of a cross-disciplinary team of University of Michigan researchers who recently received funding through the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute’s catalyst grants. The grants, which were awarded to three projects this spring, provide support for small-scale, collaborative, interdisciplinary sustainability research. These projects are the newest of more than two dozen funded by Graham’s catalyst grant program since its inception.

In urban settings, healthy stream ecosystems provide important services, including drinking water, recreation, and natural beauty. Urban stream water quality is determined by a complex set of variables that include water infrastructure design, land-development regulation, site design, and ecological contexts. Goodspeed and his research team aim to create a first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary framework to approach urban water quality management. Together with the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC), the team will pilot its work in the Huron River watershed.

The researchers will create a scenario-planning tool that HRWC and local jurisdictions can use to compare water-quality outcomes under different urban development scenarios from the regional pollutant-loading standards. The team also will publish an urban environment database with current conditions of all Huron River subwatersheds, which planners and researchers everywhere can access, adapt, and use. Parts of the project could become a state-of-the-art case study to introduce students to the concepts, methods, and solutions prevalent in the field of urban sustainability.

Project team: Runzi Wang, PI (U-M SEAS), Yang Chen (U-M Statistics), Robert Goodspeed (U-M Taubman College), Branko Kerkez (U-M Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Joshua Newell (U-M SEAS)

Partner: Huron River Watershed Council

Learn more about the Catalyst Grants and the other funded projects here.