Collaborative Science for Estuaries Webinar Series

Chesapeake Bay Virginia - Photo credit: David Walters

Join us for monthly webinars featuring project teams supported by the NERRS Science Collaborative. Speakers will share their unique approaches to addressing current coastal and estuarine management issues. Learn about new methods to integrate technical experts and users of project outputs into the research process, and how their research results and products might inform your work. Be sure to check back periodically and download the webinar briefs to view summary notes and presentation slides from past webinars.

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Upcoming Webinars

04/21/2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Kerstin Wasson and April Ridlon

Conservation and restoration of coastal foundation species has become a global priority, to protect and enhance the habitats and services they provide. The oyster native to the west coast of North America between Baja California and British Columbia is Ostrea lurida, the Olympia oyster, a species quite unfamiliar to many people, even those that live in the region.  Unlike oysters in other regions, this one is quite small, and does not form high profile reefs. Nevertheless, it is a vital part of bays and estuaries along the Pacific coast, providing food for humans and other species and enriching diversity.  Recently, a community of practice has formed to rebuild populations of Olympia oysters to maintain their legacy for future generations. 

The Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative (NOOC) was supported in the past year by funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative.  NOOC created a website (https://olympiaoysternet.ucdavis.edu) to serve as a portal for resources about native oyster science, restoration, and education.  NOOC also compiled the first comprehensive archive of Olympia oyster restoration projects, creating an ARC GIS Story Map (https://projects.trnerr.org/oystermap/) to highlight them, and conducting a synthesis of approaches and lessons learned.

This webinar introduces the unique ecology of the Olympia oyster, the challenges it faces, and approaches taken to restoration. NOOC’s accomplishments to date will be highlighted, including the development of the web portal and story map.  Finally, presenters will share lessons learned from the synthesis of twenty years of restoration projects conducted along over 2000 km of coast line. These lessons apply to restoration of any coastal foundation species anywhere: the importance of a structured decision-framework to match goals to approaches, the  opportunities for community engagement, the need to consider ecosystem processes, and the value of a regional network for strategic planning.

Learn more about speakers

Cressman Cumulative Change

Kerstin Wasson has served as Research Coordinator of the Elkhorn Slough NERR for the past 20 years, publishing about 40 papers on a variety of topics in estuarine science during this period, from sea otters to water quality.  Her passion is restoration science of native oysters and salt marshes. While she is dedicated to place-based research, she also has led various collaborative endeavors across a network of oyster and marsh restoration sites, scaling up to seek generality in estuarine ecology.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

April Ridlon is an applied marine ecologist interested in the effects of human impacts including fishing and harvesting, recreational activities, and biological invasions. She is currently the Collaborative Lead for the Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative (NOOC), and a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP).  In these roles, she engages in and coordinates research into the native Olympia oyster, and is assessing aquaculture as a conservation intervention for this oyster, and for marine foundation species broadly. She has also been known to study the behavior of coral reef fish, Northern Elephant Seals, and neotropical bat species.   

Learn more about projectBuilding a Coastwide Olympia Oyster Network to Improve Restoration Outcomes

Past Webinars

03/17/2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Craig Cornu, Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers, Coowe Walker, and Stefanie Simpson

Coastal wetlands capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently store carbon in wetland soils. This “blue carbon” service can be used to inform and incentivize wetland restoration; however, the science behind blue carbon and the role of carbon finance in support of coastal restoration and conservation are still emerging.

Since 2010, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and its partners have been filling key information gaps and fostering collaborations to advance understanding and application of blue carbon for the management of coastal wetlands.  Projects have helped to quantify the carbon storage potential of coastal wetlands, predict greenhouse gas fluxes, and assess the market feasibility of using carbon offsets to support wetland restoration. 

In this webinar, panelists representing four regions across the United States shared lessons learned from their work leading blue carbon projects, and offered ideas for advancing the use of blue carbon for coastal wetland management.

03/11/2020 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Kristi Arend, Emily Kuzmick, and Song Qian

Just how much phosphorus can a wetland absorb and retain over the long run? That’s the question that researchers spent two years investigating as part of an effort to reduce the phosphorus loading that is fueling algal blooms in Lake Erie. A research team from Old Woman Creek Reserve and the University of Toledo developed a Bayesian hierarchical modeling approach to calculate the phosphorus retention capacity of wetlands with limited datasets. 

In this webinar, the team shared some of their key findings and the management implications, and explained how other practitioners could use their monitoring guide and statistical codes to calculate the nutrient retention capacity of their wetlands. In addition to taking audience questions, the team offered some ideas about how their work informed an ambitious water quality initiative in Ohio. To learn more, visit the team’s project page.

Learn more about speakers

Cressman Cumulative Change

Kristi Arend, PhD is the Research Coordinator at Old Woman Creek Reserve, where she has overseen the implementation and onsite expansion of the System-wide Monitoring Program and has collaborated on projects related to wetland nutrient dynamics, shoreline development, and the impacts of Lake Erie water level change on wetland ecosystem indicators. As lead for this Science Collaborative project, Kristi coordinated the research team, helped analyze a long term record of TP flowing into and out of her reserve’s wetlands, and led the development of monitoring protocols.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

Emily Kuzmick is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Old Woman Creek Reserve, where she works with environmental professionals to provide training and technical assistance relating to stormwater and nutrient management, land-use practices, species and habitat monitoring, shoreline erosion control solutions, and other identified Great Lakes coastal issues. As Collaborative Lead for this project, Emily facilitated Project Team meetings and a Collaborative Learning Group composed of wetland management professionals to provide feedback on the project methods, results, and communication products.

Burdick Site 4 Maps Song Qian, PhD is an Associate Professor in University of Toledo’s Department of Environmental Sciences. He is an expert in environmental and ecological statistics, particularly the applications of Bayesian statistics which he has applied to a range of issues including phosphorus retention in the Everglades wetlands. As part of this project, Song led the statistical analyses of wetland datasets, assisted in creating the monitoring guidelines and protocol, and recruited and supervised students.

Learn more about related project: Quantifying Nutrient Retention by Lake Erie Coastal Wetlands

02/25/2020 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Christine Feurt

Resilience dialogues are conversations that occur among people with diverse perspectives who have agreed to work together to increase community and ecological resilience. Planning and facilitating resilience dialogues requires skills in collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and conflict management. 

The Resilience Dialogues project looked across a decade of collaborative science projects to distill key lessons learned and best practices used to build resilience. This webinar shared successful collaborative techniques that worked to engage the diverse expertise of stakeholders, develop a shared language around commonly held values, and craft solutions-based science that respected local knowledge and the concerns of vulnerable communities. Results of the project have been used to develop training and resources for facilitators of collaborative processes and to guide the transfer of collaborative science projects to new audiences.

About the speaker:

cfeurt

Christine Feurt is the director of the Coastal Training Program at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine. Dr. Feurt integrates natural and social science into stakeholder processes using the Collaborative Learning approach in order to sustain ecosystem services and build resilient coastal communities.

Learn more about related project: Resilience Dialogues: Strategies for Conflict Management in Collaborative Science

01/23/2020 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Maeve Snyder and Annie Cox

Coastal communities face tough decisions about how to manage flooding risks associated with rising seas and extreme rain events. Two project teams have developed an innovative planning tool that allows community leaders and residents to make sense of local climate projections and experiment with collaborative decision making in a safe environment.

The New England Climate Adaptation Project tested the use of role-play simulations, or “games,” to engage community members in climate adaptation planning. In a structured  workshop setting, participants receive background information describing a fictional place - typically with a striking resemblance to their own - and must assume a fictional role in which they work collaboratively to prioritize actions that help the community manage climate risks. Following the framework developed in New England, the Georgetown Climate Adaptation Project produced a customized set of local climate projections and role playing materials for the coastal southeast. In this webinar, presenters discussed lessons learned from planning and leading simulation workshops in two different coastal regions.

Learn more about presenters

Cressman Cumulative Change

Maeve Snyder is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. In this role, she supports science-based decision making through tools, skills, information, and partnerships. Maeve earned a M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Biology from Coastal Carolina University. Maeve has experience in ecological research, including a thesis on climate - driven range shifts of marine organisms. She has also worked in science communication and education throughout the coastal southeast.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

Annie Cox is the Coastal Training Coordinator at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. She develops and organizes workshops and trainings for professionals working with and making decisions that affect our natural resources. Annie holds a masters in Ecological Design from the Conway School. She became interested in land use planning issues during her Peace Corps service teaching sustainable agriculture and aquaculture in rural Zambia, where she served for two years. Annie's undergraduate degree is in Biology from the University of Maine at Farmington.

12/05/2019 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Kim Cressman, David Burdick, Dwayne Porter, and Chris Kinkade

Long-term monitoring data can be a tremendous asset for coastal research and management, but processing and analyzing the data and extracting key findings can be challenging.

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) has been collecting physical and biological data at estuaries across the country for many years. This webinar featured two projects that have been analyzing monitoring data from multiple sites to better understand trends in marsh surface elevation and vegetation in relation to sea levels. Project leads shared a few examples of their findings that can inform marsh resilience efforts, and provided tips for others considering SWMP synthesis projects.

The webinar wrapped with a discussion of opportunities and strategies for using SWMP data for future research and management applications.

Learn more about related projects

Cressman Cumulative Change

Kim Cressman from Grand Bay NERR provided an overview of her catalyst project: Is Marsh Surface Tracking Sea Level Change? Developing Tools and Visualizations for Sentinel Site Data, which developed data analysis and visualization tools for  Surface Elevation Table (SET) data. SET measurements enable reserves to track changes in marsh surface height over time. The data are critical for monitoring marsh resilience in the face of rising seas, but SET data require specialized protocols for processing, quality checking and analyzing the data in a consistent way across sites.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

David Burdick from the University of New Hampshire and Chris Peter from Great Bay NERR provided an overview of their project: Synthesizing Monitoring Data to Improve Coastal Wetland Management Across New England. This project analyzed Sentinel Site data from four New England reserves, which have individually been monitoring salt marsh vegetation and elevation changes since at least 2011. The team developed data packages linking vegetation change with surface elevation and other data, including output from an inundation tool. In addition to providing an initial summary of patterns, the project developed analysis protocols that can be utilized by other reserves and coastal managers nationwide.

The webinar also included comments and discussion from:

Chris Kinkade, NERRS National Research Coordinator, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Dwayne Porter, Director, NERRS Centralized Data Management Office

11/04/2019 - 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Jenni Schmitt and Jill Rolfe

How do you modernize coastal land use planning in a way that balances responsible economic development, social interests, and the protection of natural resources? This is a common question for many coastal states including Oregon, where the management of the state's estuaries and surrounding shorelands is currently based on the economic and social drivers of the 1970s, when local land use plans were developed. 

A diverse group of local stakeholders is collaborating to tackle this question for one Oregon estuary by: 1) compiling existing data to show current conditions and land uses within the estuary; 2) gathering stakeholder input and land use and planning recommendations from a diverse collection of interest groups; and 3) developing management options and detailed road maps for officials to use to update their land use plans. 

This webinar highlighted the collaborative stakeholder engagement process driving the integrated assessment, and provided a snapshot of the products and recommendations developed through the process.

About the speakers:

JSchmitt

Jenni Schmitt leads the planning and implementation of wetlands-related projects at the South Slough NERR in Oregon. As part of her work, Jenni has been coordinating collaborative projects with a community-based group of concerned citizens called the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds. Members of the group work collaboratively to develop locally-driven approaches to responsible development, and to help prepare for climate-related changes on Oregon's south coast. Learn more about project.

JRolfe

 

Jill Rolfe has worked for the Coos County Planning Department for 18 years and has been the director since 2012. She regularly coordinates research and updates to the County Comprehensive plan with local, state and federal agencies. She has been a member of the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds for six years and played a large advisory role for environmental and socio-economic aspects of multiple projects. Jill is also coordinating updates to several Estuary Management Plans.

Learn more about project

10/16/2019 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Jen West, Alison Watts, Nikki Dix, and Julia Wondolleck

Planning a collaborative research project can be challenging — it requires integrating researchers and the intended users of the science in a collaborative process that is unlike most traditional research approaches. 

On October 16, 2019, the Science Collaborative hosted a panel discussion webinar highlighting the collective advice of three panelists who have helped design and manage collaborative science projects addressing a range of coastal management issues.  This webinar aimed to help participants understand the key factors to consider in designing collaborative research projects. The panel discussion explored lessons learned about:

  • Conceptualizing research to ensure it addresses natural resource management needs; and

  • Designing a collaborative research process to ensure that it succeeds.

About the Speakers:

Auermuller

Alison Watts, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire

Alison is a civil engineer with a strong interest in water resource management and a history of successful collaborations involving municipal and watershed organizations. She has partnered with reserves on several projects over the years, the most recent project is developing and testing environmental DNA monitoring protocols.

Bentz

Jennifer West, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Narragansett Bay NERR

Jen develops and delivers training for coastal decision makers on topics ranging from climate change, wetland restoration, water resource management and facilitation techniques. She’s served as the collaborative lead for a number of projects, including a recent project involving wetland restoration pilot efforts at eight different reserves and a regional initiative to advance marsh resilience.

Orton

Nikki Dix, PhD, Research Director, Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR

Nikki establishes research priorities and oversees monitoring programs that address local and regional management needs at her reserve. She’s worked closely with a range of academic partners and natural resource managers to help guide collaborative research, including recent projects about living shorelines and oyster management.

Moderator:

Moser

Julia Wondolleck, PhD, NERRS Science Collaborative

Julia’s research and teaching focuses on the collaborative dimension of marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystem management. Julia supports Science Collaborative project teams through the development of training and tools to help teams plan and manage their collaborative processes.

09/09/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Lisa Auermuller, Syverine Bentz, Philip Orton, Stuart Siegel, and Susi Moser

As the pace of climate change accelerates, there is also a need to also accelerate collective learning about how best to prepare and adapt. 

Members of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and partners, in part supported by the Science Collaborative, have been working on the frontlines to help communities enhance their resilience, for example by sharing lessons about how to communicate about climate change, producing critical scientific insights, and working with local and state partners to strategically advance action on the ground. 

On September 9, 2019, the Science Collaborative hosted a panel webinar featuring discussion among four panelists that have been taking different approaches for helping communities anticipate and prepare for climate impacts. This webinar explored lessons learned about how best to accelerate learning and the transfer of ideas across the coastal management community.

About the Speakers:

Auermuller

Lisa Auermuller, Assistant Manager and Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Jacques Cousteau NERR
In her role at the Reserve, Lisa's duties include assessing the needs of coastal decision makers and providing relevant and timely training opportunities. Lisa has been working with a variety of partners to develop tools and protocols to help communities understand their risks, plan for those risks and put adaptation measures into place. Learn more about Lisa and her Science Collaborative projects on risk communication and planning tools.

Bentz

Syverine Bentz, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Kachemak Bay NERR
Syverine is interested in human and environmental drivers of landscape change, coastal and watershed processes, and ecosystem services. She currently works in the Coastal Training Program providing workshops, trainings and technical assistance. Syverine has led or co-led several innovative projects that help targeted groups better understand and plan for climate change impacts. Learn more about Syverine and her Science Collaborative projects on scenario planning and fisheries.

Orton

Philip Orton, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology
Philip is a physical oceanographer that uses computational ocean modeling to study storm surges and sea level rise, urban flood adaptation, and water quality in estuaries and coastal environments.  In partnership with the Hudson River NERR and others, Philip is studying the potential physical and ecological effects of building storm surge barriers to protect coastal infrastructure and human populations around New York City. Learn more about Philip and his Science Collaborative project.

Siegel

Stuart Siegel, PhD, Resilience Specialist, San Francisco Bay NERR
Stuart's interests are in how to guide the adaptive management process meaningfully and cost effectively. These efforts can include bringing “lessons learned” to bear, cost-effective assessment methodologies, systematic integrative synthesis, regional assessment strategies, and the incorporation of outcomes into effective governance structures. Learn more about Stuart and his Science Collaborative project.

Moderator:

Moser

Susi Moser, PhD, NERRS Science Collaborative
Susi's work focuses on adaptation to climate change, vulnerability, resilience, climate change communication, social change, decision support and the interaction between scientists, policy-makers and the public. She is a geographer by training, and has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in multiple capacities. Over the past five years, Susi has partnered with different reserves to develop indicators of successful climate adaptation. Learn more about Susi and her Science Collaborative work.

 

 

Hurricane Irma made landfall in southwest Florida within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in September of 2017 as a Category 3 storm with winds in excess of 115 mph. For some areas within the reserve, the impact of the storm compounded the stress caused by decades of human development and changes to water flow patterns. Managers of the reserve want to better understand the synergistic effects of chronic stress from human modification or other drivers (e.g., sea level rise) and acute impacts from Hurricane Irma. One approach is to measure habitat structure and change in the time preceding and following the major storm event.

This webinar described the use of advanced satellite imagery to map the damage, death, and recovery of mangroves with a time series of images from 2010 to 2018. Dr. Matt McCarthy shared the methods used to map the landscape and evaluate change. Dr. Brita Jessen provided background for the study and discussed the management implications for the reserve and other coastal areas. Matt and Brita have been collaborating on a one year-year catalyst project that has relevance to coastal land managers interested in mapping habitat change.

About the Speakers: 

MMcCarthy

Dr. Matthew McCarthy is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science. He specializes in remote sensing and large-scale coastal mapping with supercomputing technologies and advanced image processing techniques. He has applied remote sensing methods to study a variety of issues, including mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, coastal geomorphology, sea-level rise, aquaculture and public health.

BJessen

Dr. Brita Jessen is the research manager at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. She specializes in ecosystem ecology of coastal wetlands. As the research team lead, Dr. Jessen supports long-term monitoring programs related to water quality, sea level rise, habitat change, and wildlife, and works across departments to facilitate the translation of current research into management and policy.

Learn more about: Using Advanced Mapping to Measure Changes in Mangrove and Seagrass Habitat over Time

06/26/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Lydia Olander and Sara Mason

Estuarine systems are areas of immense ecological importance and provide numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits, collectively known as ecosystem services. There has been an increasing desire to better incorporate ecosystem services into National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) management and stewardship, both from the network as a whole and at a local level. This webinar focused on a Science Collaborative-supported catalyst project that found streamlined ways to incorporate ecosystem services into NERRS decision making with applications to coastal management more broadly. Dr. Lydia Olander and Sara Mason at Duke University shared their approach to using Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models as a framework to think about ecosystem services and how they can be considered within the NERRS. In this webinar, they focused on work with the North Carolina and Rookery Bay NERRs to develop models of oyster reef and mangrove ecosystem services, efforts to apply these models to specific restoration sites at these reserves, and use of the models as a way to think about standardized monitoring of ecosystem services outcomes across the NERRS network.

Since 2016, Lydia and Sara have been working with the NERRS to think about how to incorporate ecosystem services more intentionally and systematically into coastal decision-making and management, resulting in publications (link 1, link 2) on the use of the ecosystem service conceptual model framework in the NERR context that laid the groundwork for the project.

About the Speakers: 

lolander

Dr. Lydia Olander directs the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. She leads the National Ecosystem Services Partnership, supporting efforts to integrate ecosystem services into decision making, and studies environmental markets and mitigation, including forestry and agricultural based climate mitigation; wetland, stream and endangered species mitigation; and water quality trading.

smason

 

Sara Mason joined the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions as a policy associate after graduating from Duke with a master’s degree in environmental management. Her work focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of biodiversity conservation and how that can be leveraged to engage the public and policy makers in conservation efforts. Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, Sara worked in ecological field research and endangered animal rehabilitation.

Learn more about: Exploring Applications of Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models for Coastal Habitats

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