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

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 have spent the past 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 will share some of their key findings, management implications, and potential for other practitioners to use their monitoring guide and statistical codes to calculate the nutrient retention capacity of their wetlands. In addition to taking audience questions, the team will offer some ideas about how their work informs an ambitious new water quality initiative in Ohio. 

Learn more about speakers

Cressman Cumulative Change

Kristi Arend is the Research Coordinator at Old Woman Creek NERR, where she has overseen the implementation and onsite expansion of the System-side 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. Her research interests include how physicochemical conditions and linkages between ecosystems influence coastal water quality, fish communities, and food web dynamics. Kristi also enjoys opportunities to help OWC NERR’s education program provide students hands-on experiences in aquatic ecology, especially if fish and bugs are involved.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

Emily Kuzmick is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research 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. Emily’s past research efforts focused on how anthropogenic activities impact the natural environment, including the effect of marine debris and conventional agricultural and renewable energy activities on wildlife populations. Her additional experience in environmental education, advocacy, and as a contributor to sustainability publications has enhanced her ability to communicate complex environmental issues.

Burdick Site 4 Maps Song Qian is an expert in environmental and ecological statistics, particularly the applications of Bayesian statistics. His research includes several papers quantifying an Everglades wetland’s assimilative capacity of phosphorus and setting ecological threshold nutrient criteria in the U.S. As part of the project, Dr. Qian 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

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

Coastal wetlands have the ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently store carbon in wetland soils. This “blue carbon” service could 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.

Over the past 12 years, 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. Recent projects are helping 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 will share lessons learned from their work leading blue carbon projects, and offer ideas for advancing the use of blue carbon for coastal wetland management.

Past Webinars

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

05/23/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Ellie Flaherty, Kate Kirkpatrick, Trey Snow, Syverine Bentz, and Julia Wondolleck

The Kachemak Bay watershed, located on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, encompasses several terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that provide a range of benefits and services that are not easily quantified. This webinar highlighted methods and findings from a Master’s project - advised by Dr. Julia Wondolleck and for which the client was Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (KBNERR) - that provides insights about ecosystem services valued in Kachemak Bay using a socio-cultural, place-based, ecosystem services framework. In addition to hearing from the students, their partners at KBNERR shared how they hope to apply their findings, and offered ideas for others interested in working with a student team in the future.

Master's projects are interdisciplinary capstone experiences that enable University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) master's students to develop solutions to pressing problems faced by real-world clients.

About the Speakers: 

Ellie Flaherty has experience in policy and program analysis as well as environmental compliance support, and currently works as a Research Associate for the NERRS Science Collaborative. Her professional and academic background was valuable in understanding the Kachemak Bay area’s political landscape and identifying key stakeholders, user groups, and decision-makers.

Kathryn Kirkpatrick holds a particular interest in wetland restoration, fostered by various work experiences in ecological consulting, wetland banking, and independent research. This background was valuable in understanding and communicating the diverse biophysical ecosystem services present in the Kachemak Bay watershed.

Trey Snow has a background in economics and research, which provided valuable insights throughout the project’s development and in navigating existing studies and literature on ecosystem services. Following his bachelor’s in economics from Bucknell University in 2016, Trey spent time across the US from the Montana backcountry with the US Forest Service to an organic farm in New England. 

Syverine Bentz is interested in landscape change, coastal processes, and ecosystem services. She grew up on Kachemak Bay and started as a science collaborative and discovery lab volunteer at KBNERR. She currently works in the Coastal Training Program providing workshops, trainings and technical assistance.

Dr. Julia Wondolleck is an associate professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and a core team member with the Science Collaborative. She is a collaboration scholar and practitioner, and advised the project team.

Learn more about: Leveraging a U-M Master's Project team

04/11/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Christine Angelini, Stuart Findlay, Jennifer Raulin, Denise Sanger, and Eric Sparks

Living shoreline techniques can be effective tools for bolstering coastal habitats, controlling erosion, and protecting coastal areas from the impacts of storms, sea level rise and boat wakes. Under the right conditions, they can provide a variety of services while being cost-competitive with traditional approaches, such as bulkheads. Despite their potential, living shoreline designs are not applied as broadly or effectively as might be expected.

Members of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and partners, in part supported by Science Collaborative resources, have been studying how different living shoreline designs perform in a variety of coastal locations from Mississippi to New York, and have been developing tools to enhance the use of these techniques.

This webinar: a) facilitated a candid panel discussion of the lessons learned, management implications and next steps related to a series of applied research projects; and b) gave audience members the opportunity to engage and ask questions about opportunities and challenges associated with living shorelines.

About the Speakers: 

Christine Angelini, Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida
Christine’s research and teaching focuses on community ecology and restoration engineering in a variety of coastal habitats. In partnership with GTM Reserve in Florida, she has been testing a hybrid design for protecting oyster and salt marsh habitats from boat wakes in the busy intercoastal waterway. Learn more about project

Stuart Findlay, Aquatic Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Stuart has been conducting research on the Hudson River ecosystem for over eighteen years with an emphasis on carbon and nutrient cycling in freshwater and tidal habitats and watershed restoration issues. Stuart has led several Science Collaborative grants related to sustainable shoreline designs and monitoring approaches in the Hudson River Valley. Learn more about project

Jennifer Raulin, Manager, Chesapeake Bay-Maryland National Estuarine Research Reserve
Jenn oversees the Chesapeake Bay Reserve’s research, training, stewardship, and education sectors. Her responsibilities include serving as the primary liaison with NOAA to manage grants and advancing coastal management practices with partners in and around the reserve’s three protected areas. Jenn brings a management perspective to the panel discussion, helping explore the applications of shoreline research projects for other reserves and regions.

Denise Sanger, Research Coordinator, ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve
Denise is a marine ecologist with expertise in benthic ecology, sediment chemistry, water quality, ecological risk assessment, and the application of science to management. She oversees long term monitoring and a range of applied research efforts at ACE Basin Reserve and has studied the performance of living shorelines all along the coast of South Carolina. Learn more about project

Eric Sparks, Assistant Extension Professor, Mississippi State University
Eric is the assistant director for outreach for Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and he focuses on estuarine and wetland issues, including coastal restoration and restoration research. He’s worked on two Science Collaborative projects assessing living shoreline use along the Gulf Coast. Learn more about project

Moderator:

Jennifer Read, NERRS Science Collaborative program manager, and Director, University of Michigan Water Center
Jen serves as the Science Collaborative's principal investigator, provides overall program leadership, and manages the day-to-day activities of the Science Collaborative program. She also serves as the Director of the University of Michigan Water Center, and drove implementation of the Integrated Assessment program while working for Michigan Sea Grant.

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