New Climate Preparedness Support for Lake Superior Communities
The Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant Programs have hired Diane Desotelle to fill a new position as a Climate Change Extension Educator. Desotelle, a civil engineer and hydrologist, will offer science-based information to Lake Superior communities that are grappling with more intense weather events and deliberating over how a changing climate might affect their economies and environments.
"Stormwater systems built 100 or even 50 years ago can be overwhelmed by the increase in extreme storm events this region has been experiencing" said Desotelle. "Replacing or reconstructing aged stormwater pipes with a new climate regime in mind promises to be cost-effective in the long run."
Desotelle suggests that factoring current trends in temperature and precipitation into community planning could save headaches and money in the future. She is enthusiastic about creating opportunities to explore the drawbacks and benefits of investing in structures and practices to ensure homes, businesses and the environment persist through climatic changes.
Jesse Schomberg, Minnesota Sea Grant's Program Leader and Land Use Planning Extension Educator, was deeply involved in creating the climate change extension educator position for Lake Superior communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
"I've seen an increase in the number of climate-related issues faced by North Shore communities," said Schomberg. "Community officials want sound suggestions for replacing infrastructure and good information on how public health, emergency services, tourism, and the environment will be affected by a changing climate. With a background in engineering, hydrology, and teaching, Diane is an ideal person for serving as our liaison between climate scientists and citizens of the western Lake Superior basin."
Funding for Desotelle's position came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Posted on February 2, 2012