Tipping Points and Indicators, a research and extension program for Great Lakes coastal communities, helps local decision makers, including watershed management groups and planning entities, identify impacts of land-based activities that threaten the sustainability of ecosystems in their watershed. The program includes a web-based decision support system (tippingpointplanner.org) and facilitated community forum to explore policy and management interventions necessary to keep coastal ecosystems from reaching critical tipping points and moving to unstable conditions. The decision support tool was developed over a three year period based on a region wide user needs assessment, involvement from Sea Grant sustainable coastal development specialists in all Great Lakes states, and continuous input from pilot communities, consultants, researchers and facilitators.
The Tipping Points and Indicators program enables diverse stakeholder participation in land use decisions and natural resources management strategies to plan and maintain projects within a HUC 12 watershed scale. The program is designed for convening groups and starting new projects where stakeholder input and consensus building are desired. A facilitated workshop starts the action planning process to guide participants through the decision support system modules and is completed through follow on meetings with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant team. The Tipping Points and Indicators process utilizes touch screen monitors as public participation tools to enable community groups to collaborate and explore the website, customized tools, and GIS maps to determine planning priorities linked to community values. The customized maps and action strategies identified as part of the action planning process can be used with the formatted final plan or saved, edited, and exported for use in grant proposals, reports or management plans.
Visit The Tipping Points & Indicators Website to explore the decision support tool and schedule a community program.