Thursday, July 28, 2011

Case Studies of Coastal Science and Management at Regional Scale

William Nuttle, Organizer for CERF 2011 Synthesis Sessions

The movement toward coordinated management of coastal and estuarine resources at the regional scale will require greater investment in large-scale ecosystem research capable of providing information needed by managers.  On May 18-19, 2009, NOAA’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research convened a workshop to examine existing regional-scale ecosystem research and identify practices that lead to research results with direct management relevance and impact.  This workshop assembled over fifty experts on coastal ecosystem science, management and policy representing all coastal regions of the US, including the Great Lakes, and the republic of Palau.  

Location of 8 regional applied ecosystem research case studies

The eight case studies compiled for discussion at the workshop represent a wide variety of physical and ecological contexts; these include the Great Lakes (8 - Lake Erie), a river-dominated coast (4 - northern Gulf of Mexico), tropical lagoon systems (6 - Micronesia and 3 - South Florida), and coastal ocean systems (5 - California coast, 7 - Bering Sea, 2 - Gulf of Maine, and the 1 - Northwest Atlantic). Case studies were chosen to examine a variety of issues, funding, and participation involved in regional ecosystem research. Each case study provided a unique perspective on planning and implementation of regional ecosystem research from the point-of-view of both scientists and managers.

In all cases, the success of the applied ecosystem research depends on the following essential program support elements:

Overarching goals for management of the regional ecosystem articulated by the cooperating agencies and stakeholders and informed by a shared vision of the ecosystem based in science;

Regional coordination among cooperating management agencies and between managers and research scientists;

Clear project objectives that connect results of research and monitoring to the specific programs and mandates of the cooperating management agencies;

An open process for sharing information between agencies and communicating results of research to managers and stakeholders; and

Regular reporting of progress made toward the over arching ecosystem goals based on quantitative indicators based on ecosystem research and monitoring.

The information in this post relates to Topic 3: Management applications of the CERF 2011 synthesis sessions.  Go here for more information about these case studies from the IAN Program of the University of Maryland.

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