Syntheses, Assessments, and Reviews

Assessment and Policy Guidance Work

Improving the discourse at the interface between science and policy is a key aspect of my work since the early 2000s.  This work has taken many forms, but most focus on providing an improved synthesis of existing scientific information and providing an assessment of policy alternatives.

During my tenure at NOAA headquarters and as the Chief Scientist of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, I participated in and led several such assessments focused on topics that include harmful algal blooms, coastal eutrophication, salmon restoration, ecological indicators, environmental monitoring, and ecological forecasting.

At U-M, I continue this line of research by focusing on the development and support of assessments of the causes and consequences of environmental change.

Related Publications and Reports

Articles published in The Conversation:

Scavia, D. Time to pick up our heads and look inland. Limnol. Oceanogr. Bulletin November 2019

Scavia, D., S. Bocaniov, A. Dagnew, Y. Hu, B. Kerkez, C. Long, R. Muenich, J. Read, L. Vaccaro, Y-C. Wang. Detroit River phosphorus loads: Anatomy of a binational watershed, J Great Lakes Res.

Scavia, D., S. Bocaniov, A. Dagnew, Y. Hu, B. Kerkez, C. Long, R. Muenich, J. Read, L. Vaccaro and Y. Wang. 2019. Watershed Assessment of Detroit River Phosphorus Loads to Lake Erie. Final project report produced by the
University of Michigan Water Center. Available at:

Easton, E., D. Scavia, R. Alexander, L. Band, K. Boomer, P. Kleinman, J. Martin, A. Miller, J. Pizzuto, D. Smith, C. Welty. 2017. Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model Phase 6 Review. STAC Review Report 17-007. Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis, ND

Scavia, D., J.V. DePinto, I. Bertani. 2016. A Multi-model approach to evaluating target phosphorus loads for Lake Erie. J. Great Lakes Res. in press

Scavia, D., M. Kalcic, R. Logsdon Muenich, J. Read, N. Aloysius, C. Boles, R. Confessor, J. DePinto, M. Gildow, J. Martin, T. Redder, S. Sowa, Y. Wang, H. Yen.  Informing Lake Erie Agriculture Nutrient Management via Scenario Evaluation March 22, 2016

Kirchoff et al. 2016. Guidance Addressing Lake Erie Eutrophication in a Changing Climate Based on a Case Study with Agricultural and Coastal Managers

Scenario-Based Forecasts in Support of Regional Coastal Management: Concepts of Operation.  Prepared for NOAA/NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Annex 4 Objectives and Targets Task Team Final Report to the Nutrients Annex Subcommittee. May 11, 2015

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Nutrient Annex Draft Modeling Report

Watson, S.B., Carpenter, D., Casselman, J., Miller, C., Murray, M., Arhonditsis, G., Bosch, N., Boyer, G.L., Charlton, M., Confesor Jr., R., Depew, D., Dolan, D., DePinto, J., Higgins, S., Ho¨o¨k, T., Howell, T., Ludsin, S., McElmurry, S., Richards, P., Scavia, D., Smith, R., Steffen, M., Wilhelm, S., Wang, Z., 2013. Taking Action on Lake Erie (TAcLE). International Joint Commission Report. 101 pp.

Bartolai, AM, L. He, L. Motsch, R, Paehlke, D. Scavia 2015 Climate Change as a driver of change in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. J. Great Lakes Res

Friedman, K. B., K. Laurent, G. Krantzberg, D. Scavia, I. F. Creed 2015 The Great Lakes Futures Project:  Principles and Policy Recommendations for Making the Lakes Great.. J. Great Lakes Res

Krantzberg, G., I.F. Creed, K.B. Friedman, K.L., Laurent, J.A. Jackson, J. Brammeier, D. Scavia 2014 Community Engagement Is Critical To Achieve A “Thriving And Prosperous” Future For The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin J. Great Lakes Res.

Laurent, K., K. B. Friedman, G. Krantzberg, D. Scavia, I.F. Creed 2014 Critical forces defining alternative futures for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence river basin.  J. Great Lakes Res

Kalafatis, S., Campbell, M., Fathers, F., Laurent, K.L., Friedman, K.B., Krantzberg, G., Scavia, D., Creed, I.F., 2014  Out of Control: How we failed to adapt and suffered the consequences. J. Great Lakes Res.

Obenour, D.R. A.D. Gronewold, C.A. Stow, and D. Scavia 2014 Using a Bayesian hierarchical model with a gamma error distribution to improve Lake Erie cyanobacteria bloom forecasts. Water Resources Res.

Steenberg, J., Timm, M., Laurent, K.L., Friedman, K.B., Krantzberg, G., Scavia, D., Creed, I.F., 2014 Living on the Edge: How we converted challenges into profitable opportunities.

Comer, B., D.A., Fera, A.S. Splawinski, K.L Laurent, K.B. Friedman, G. Krantzberg, D. Scavia, I.F. Creed 2014 Thriving and prosperous: How we rallied to confront collective challenges in the Great Lakes basin

Pryor, S.C. D. Scavia, C, Downer, M. Gaden, L. Iverson, R. Nordstrom, J. Patz, G.P. Robertson 2014.  Chapter 18: MidwestClimate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. J.M. Melillo, T.C. Richmond, G.W. Yohe, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program 18:1-18

Scavia, D., J. D. Allan, K. K. Arend, S. Bartell, D. Beletsky, N. S. Bosch, S. B. Brandt, R. D. Briland, I. Daloğlu, J. V. DePinto, D. M. Dolan, M. A. Evans, T. M. Farmer,D. Goto, H. Han, T. O. Höök, R. Knight, S. A. Ludsin, D. Mason, A. M. Michalak, R. P. Richards, J. J. Roberts, D. K. Rucinski, E. Rutherford, D. J. Schwab, T. Sesterhenn, H. Zhang, Y. Zhou. 2014 Assessing and addressing the re-eutrophication of Lake Erie: Central Basin Hypoxia. J. Great Lakes Res. 40: 226–246.

Lemos, M.C., C. Kirchhoff, S. Kalafatis, D. Scavia and R. Rood 2014 Moving climate information off the shelf: Boundary Chains and the role of RISAs as an adaptive organization. Weather, Climate, and Society.

Daloglu, I. J.I. Nassauer, R.L. Riolo, D. Scavia 2014 An Integrated Social and Ecological Modeling Framework – Impacts of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Water Quality. Ecology and Society

Laurent, K., K. B. Friedman, G. Krantzberg, D. Scavia, I.F. Creed (in press)  Scenario analysis: a tool for strategic planning to achieve a thriving Great Lakes-S. Lawrence river basin.

Orr, C.J., K.C. Williams, K. L Laurent, K. B. Friedman, G. Krantzberg, D. Scavia, I. Creed (in press) Trying Hard to Adapt to a Chaotic World: How Complex Challenges Overwhelmed Best Intentions in the Great Lakes region. J. Great Lakes Res.

Bidwell, D., T. Dietz, D. Scavia 2013  Fostering Knowledge Networks for Climate Adaptation.  Nature Climate Change.  3:1-2

Michalak, A.M., E. Anderson, D. Beletsky, S. Boland, N.S. Bosch, T.B. Bridgeman, J.D. Chaffin, K.H. Cho, R. Confesor, I. Daloglu, J. DePinto, M.A. Evans, G.L. Fahnenstiel, L. He, J.C. Ho, L. Jenkins, T. Johengen, K.C. Kuo, E. Laporte, X. Liu, M. McWilliams, M.R. Moore, D.J. Posselt, R.P. Richards, D. Scavia, A.L. Steiner, E. Verhamme8, D.M. Wright, M.A. Zagorski 2013 Record-setting algal bloom in Lake Erie caused by agricultural and meteorological trends consistent with expected future conditions. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 110 (16) 6448-6452  Supporting Information

Shriberg, M., A. Horning, K. Lund, J. Callewaert, and D. Scavia 2013 Driving Transformative Change by Empowering Student Sustainability Leaders at the University of Michigan; In : Transforming Higher Education: Stories & Strategies for Sustainability, P.F. Barlett and G.W. Chase (Eds). MIT Press

EPA Science Advisory Board. 2012. Review of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan.  EPA, Washington, DC 50 pg.

Lund, K., K. Dinse, J. Callewaert, D. Scavia. 2011 Benefits of using integrated assessment to address sustainability challenges. J. Environ. Stud. Sci, DOI 10.1007/s13412-011-0047-7

Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management. 2010 National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC. 135 pp.

Rabalais, N.N., R.E. Turner, and D. Scavia. 2002. Beyond Science into Policy: Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia and the Mississippi River. BioScience 52:129-142.

Scavia, D., J.C. Field, D.F. Boesch, R.W. Buddemeier, V. Burkett, D.R. Cayan, M. Fogarty, M.A. Harwell, R.W. Howarth, C. Mason, D.J. Reed, T.C. Royer, A.H. Sallenger, and J.G. Titus.  2002. Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. Estuaries 25: 149-164.

Bierbaum, Huggett, Ruggiero, Scavia, Barnard, Bricker, Collins, Hicks, Huston, Janetos, Lillestolen, Murdoch, Robertson, Schaefer, Vickery, Weltz (1997) Integrating the Nation’s Environmental monitoring and research networks and programs: A proposed framework, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, National Science and Technology Council, Washington, DC

Boyles, R., and D, Scavia. 1997.  Innovative Coastal Ocean Science at NOAA.  Sea Technology.

Scavia, D. 1997. Developing a comprehensive coastal research agenda. Oceanography. 10:11-13.

Scavia, D., M. Ruggiero, and E. Hawes. 1996. Building a scientific basis for ensuring the vitality and productivity of U.S. ecosystems. Bull. Ecological Society of America.  77:125-127.

Scavia, D., R.S. Winokur, and R.A. Schmitten. 1995.  NOAA’s Innovative Coastal Remote Sensing Program.  Sea Technology  36 (8): 27

Wenzel, L. and D. Scavia. 1993. NOAA’s Coastal Ocean Program.  Science for Solutions. Oceanus 36(1) Spring.

Scavia, D 1972. A Study of 20 Lakes in Rensselaer County, New York with Proposals for Environmental Management, Freshwater Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. 136 pp.

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