Resource shed delineation in Lake Erie
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Many of the major ecological issues concerning Lake Erie, which include harmful algal blooms, spread of invasive species and toxin distribution, involve spatially explicit phenomena. In order to control these phenomena, a clear understanding of the spatial extent and the relative importance of areas supplying resources (or resource sheds) to the locations of interests is required. The task of identification of the resource sheds and the loads of pollutants identified in Lake Erie from these locations should be an integral part of the lake management plans to deal with the environmental issues effecting it. The concept of resource sheds is relatively new and not yet well developed. The present study is an attempt to contribute an extensive theory and information on resource sheds. The main goal of this work is to introduce and develop the concept of resource shed through its definitions and a methodological development of its delineations in Lake Erie. To accomplish these goals, a linked hydrodynamic and particle tracking model have been applied to a few locations in Lake Erie to estimate their resource sheds for different time periods, for different times of the year. A backward tracking approach of the particle tracking model was used to compute the resource shed locations. The results are based on long-term averaged meteorological conditions. The variability of the resource sheds with different seasons, different depths and time periods has also been analyzed. The present study is a part of the Great Lakes Resource Shed Delineation project funded by the New York Sea Grant.