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Tipping Points and Indicators

Tipping Points and Indicators

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Tipping Points and Indicators, a research and extension program for Great Lakes coastal communities, helps local decision makers identify impacts of land-based activities that threaten the sustainability of ecosystems in their watershed. This program includes a web-based decision support syst​em ( and facilitated 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 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 facilitation process results in an action plan that includes an overview of the current community status, whether the community is nearing or exceeding Great Lakes tipping points, and provides customized education strategies, example policies, and sample ordinances to improve current conditions.


The Tipping Points and Indicators planning process is facilitated by Great Lakes Sea Grant specialists. Contact your state facilitator and request a planning workshop for your community.



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