Department of Geography and Planning

Research Activities: Patrick Lawrence

Dr. Patrick Lawrence, chair, Department of Geography and Planning, The University of Toledo Current Research

During his career, Dr. Lawrence has developed extensive experience in regards to numerous Great Lakes environmental and related planning issues in both the United States and Canada, including water quality, watershed management, Great Lakes Areas of Concern, land use change, wetland conservation, coastal planning, Great Lakes water levels, parks and protected areas and related public policy. His research focuses on community decision-making to address environmental planning issues through the use of policy development, planning and management approaches, and the application of remote sensing and GIS. 

Since 1999, he has been active member of the Maumee Remedial Action Plan Advisory Committee in NW Ohio, and serving as Chair from 2006-2016.  Dr. Lawrence was also a founding board member President, for Partners for Clean Streams Inc., which was established as a non-profit NGO in 2007 as the local partner and legal entity for public outreach, community engagement, projects, and related research within the Maumee Area of Concern in NW Ohio.  He has served on numerous local, regional and national organizations including the International Association for Great Lakes Research, The Coastal Society, Coastal Zone Canada Association, and the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers, and has participated in many Great Lakes conferences, public meetings, and professional workshops. Refer to his c.v. on the faculty page for more details.

Dr. Lawrence’s current research involves various projects associated with Great Lakes water resources with funding support from Ohio EPA, US EPA, USDA NRCS, and USFWS focusing on water quality issues, policy and planning within the Maumee AOC, habitat restoration, assessment of land use practices and the use of GIS and remote sensing.  Examples of projects are land use impacts and Lake Erie Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) –including nutrient management at CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), the habitat river restoration of the Ottawa River at the University of Toledo, watershed management in the Maumee Area of Concern, and planning for Great Lakes coastal parks and protected areas.

Lake Erie Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs)

This research involves examining land use practices and policies within the Maumee Watershed and Western Lake Erie Basin related to nutrient loading into Lake Erie and role in the formation of Lake Erie HABs. Focus includes historical and current trends in agricultural practices including crop type rotation within the watershed. Recent studies have also focused on the roles of CAFOs and resulting manure management and resulting land application of this waste to local farmland, which can be a major source of nutrient loading into ditches and streams. Methods include use of GIS and remote sensing technologies, regulation and policy review, interviews and surveys, and engagement of citizens and communities. Work has been funded in part by Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio Department of Higher Education

Restoration of the Ottawa River at the University of Toledo

Dr. Lawrence is currently leading a multi-year project involving habitat restoration for the 3,700 feet of the Tenmile Creek/Ottawa River the runs through the main campus of the University of Toledo.  The project consists of environmental planning concepts, identifying and assessing habitat restoration potential with the placement of river bank and in-stream restoration features, coordinating multiple local, regional, state and federal partners and funding agencies, improved public access, and opportunities for public education and awareness.

Dr. Lawrence is also assisting with several other current and recent environmental projects on the Tenmile Creek/Ottawa River working with TMACOG, Ohio EPA, USACOE, City of Toledo, Lucas County, and Partners for Clean Streams Inc.

  • 2011-2012 Ottawa River Restoration Project. US Fish and Wildlife Service. GLRI Grant Program for Habitat Restoration. $114,132. (P.I.: P.L. Lawrence)
  • 2011-2012 A Multifaceted Urban Stream Restoration Project for the Ottawa River at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Ohio EPA Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Project Grant Program. $235,197.(P.I.: P.L. Lawrence)
  • 2009-2012 Enhancing Environmental Education and Careers: Restoration Project for the Ottawa River at the University of Toledo.  Stranahan Foundation. $60,000 (P.I.: P.L. Lawrence)

Watershed Planning and Community Decision-Making in the Maumee Area of Concern

Since 1999 Dr. Lawrence has been an active participant with the Maumee Area of Concern and local Remedial Action Plan having assisted with several projects and served in various roles including chair of the MRAP Open Spaces and Wetlands Action Committee and currently as chair of the Maumee RAP Public Advisory Committee.  In 2006 his was a founding Board member for Partners for Clean Streams Inc. (PCS) and presently serves as President of the PCS Board of Directors. In his various capacities and roles Dr. Lawrence has been involved with wetlands and habitat inventories, community education and outreach, watershed planning, preparation of the Maumee RAP Stage II report, and organizing of the twice a year MRAP Summit events. In association with this work Dr. Lawrence has secured funding support from USDA NRCS, USEPA, and Ohio EPA and published numerous papers and book chapters.

Park and Protected Areas Planning in the Great Lakes 

During his career Dr Lawrence has had a long standing interest in the planning for parks and protected areas in the Great Lakes starting with his undergraduate senior honors thesis project.  He has been involved with various planning projects and activities including for Lake Erie parks and protected areas, shoreline conservation, Gard Island (owned by the University of Toledo), the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada.  Current work includes planning for Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Ohio and an evaluation of the 25 years of park planning for the Bruce Peninsula National Park. 


Recent Publications

Photo of book cover Geotechnologies and the Environment by Patrick LawrenceLawrence, P.L. (ed.) (2013). Geotechnologies and the Environment: Geospatial Tools for Urban Water Resources. Springer Press, UK.

greatlakesLawrence, P.L. (2012). As The Water Flows: Community Based Decision-Making and Participatory Planning for the Maumee Area of Concern, Ohio. In Grover, V.I. and Krantzberg, G. (eds.). Great Lakes: Lessons in Participatory Governance.  Science Publishers. Enflield, NH., pp. 293-311.

globalcityLawrence, P.L. (2012). Sweetwater Seas and Shores: Waters and Coasts of the Great Lakes Georegion. In Nelson, J.G. (ed.) Beyond the Global City: Understanding and Planning for the Diverse Georegions of Ontario. McGill Queen’s University Press. Kingston, Ontario, pp. 55-79.

Lawrence, P.L. (2011). Achieving Teamwork: Linking Watershed Planning and Coastal Zone Management in the Great Lakes. Coastal Management 39, pp. 57-71.  Lawrence, P.L. (2011). “The EC3 Project: Linking River Restoration, Stormwater Improvements, and Bank Stabilization for a section of the Ottawa River, University of Toledo, Ohio.” In Proceedings of the 2011 Environmental Connection 11, IECA Annual Conference, Orlando, FL. February 2011. 

costalmanagementLawrence, P.L. (2010). “Coastal Management Measures for the Lower Maumee Watershed, NW Ohio” In Proceedings of the 22nd Coastal Society Conference. Wilmington, NC. June 2010. 

Book cover Places Linking Nature and Culture for Understanding and PlanningNelson, J.G. and Lawrence, P.L. (2009) Places: Linking Nature and Culture for Understanding and Planning. University of Calgary Press, Calgary, Alberta. 499 pgs.

Book cover Wetland and Water Resource Modeling and AssessmentTorbick, N., Lawrence, P.L. and Czajkowski, K. (2008). Application and Assessment of a GIScience Model for Wetlands Identification in Northwest Ohio. In Ji, W. ed. Wetland and Water Resource Modeling and Assessment: A Watershed Perspective. Taylor & Francis Group Publishers. New York., pp 3-10.

Lawrence, P.L. (2008). “Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs): Implications for Watershed Planning in the Great Lakes Coastal Zone in NW Ohio. In Proceedings of the 2008 The Coastal Society Conference. The Coastal Society, Williamsburg, VA, pp.194-198.

Logo Coastal Zone Canada AssociationLawrence, P.L. (2008). “Achieving Teamwork: Linking Watershed Planning and Coastal Zone Management – The Case of the Maumee Basin, Lake Erie”. In Proceedings of the 2008 Coastal Zone Canada Conference. Coastal Zone Canada Association, Dartmouth, NS, pp. 241-245.

Logo asprsLawrence, P.L. and Czajkowski, K. (2008). “Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing Geospatial Online Data Management Project for the Maumee Watershed, Ohio.” In Proceedings of the 2008 American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASRPS) Annual Conference. American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing, Bethesda, Maryland.

Recent Graduate Students

M.A Geography

  • 2012 -Sara Mierzwiak: "The Development of the Contaminant Rating System (CERS) for Comparing Groundwater Contaminant Data"
  • 2009 - David Dean : "An Application of Geospatial Technology to Geographic Response Plans for Oil Spill Response Planning in the Western Lake Erie Basin"
  • 2009 - Jessica De Witt Randall: "Estimation of crop residue in the Maumee River Watershed using imagery from Landsat Thematic Mapper"
  • 2009 - Chris Sadowski: "Site Identification of Large Megawatt Wind Turbine Engines within the City of Cleveland by means of using GIS"
  • 2007 - Kathryn Swartz: "The Application of GIS in Watershed Planning: The Case of the Western Lake Erie Basin"
  • 2006 - Phil Haney: "Water Quality Testing Site Location: A Methodology for Site Selection"
  • 2006 - Kari Gerwin: "Relating Water shed Land Cover to Biotic Integrity in the Lake Erie Direct Tributaries, North west Ohio"
  • 2004 - Michael Sachs: "Opportunities to Create a University Urban Village: Secor Gardens and the University of Toledo"
  • 2004 - Gavin Smith: "Community Planning in Fulton County,Ohio: A GIS Methodology for Integrating Community Values in Local Level Planning on the Urban Fringe"
  • 2004 - Nate Torbick: "The Utilization of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the Development of a Wetlands Classification and Inventory for the Lower Maumee River Watershed, Lucas County, Ohio"

Current Graduate Students

M.A. Geography

  • Tanzia Ahmed (Tracking waterborne plastics from major sources in the Maumee Watershed)
  • Eric Kostecky (Lake Michigan Water Level Fluctuations and Impacts to Shoreline Dunes at Indiana Dunes National Park)


  • 2019 Edwina Teye (Influence of Permitted Livestock Facilities on Nutrient Transport in the Maumee Watershed: An Assignment Modeling of Manure Distribution)
  • Karen Gallagher (Planning Model for Evaluating Establishment of Urban Trails)

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Last Updated: 6/23/21