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 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 for session recordings and other relevant products, or sign up to receive notifications about new resources and upcoming webinars.

Upcoming Webinars

04/27/2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Coowe Walker and Mark Rains

In Alaska’s Kenai Lowlands, groundwater is key to healthy watersheds and resilient salmon, farms, and communities. Groundwater discharge provides important ecological services to salmon streams by moderating temperatures, maintaining stream flows, delivering nutrients, and creating overwintering habitat. To better understand the availability of groundwater and how human activities impact this resource, researchers at the Kachemak Bay Reserve and the University of South Florida built a predictive model that shows the depth and extent of aquifers and predicts groundwater discharge and recharge.

In this webinar, project team members will share how their findings generated new insight into groundwater in southern Kenai Lowland watersheds, and how their model revealed the precariousness of groundwater resources and the potential for competition among users. They will discuss how engagement with stakeholders has increased awareness of the need to actively manage this limited resource, and how the community has begun to shift policies and practices to build toward more resilient groundwater resources.

Learn more about the speakers:

Coowe Walker, Manager, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Coowe has worked at the Kachemak Bay NERR as a watershed ecologist since the Reserve was designated in 1999, and has served as the reserve manager for three years. She has been leading efforts to understand ecosystem service values of coastal peatlands in the Kachemak Bay area that are important for salmon streams, and also represent potentially large stores of carbon.

Learn more about Kachemak Bay

Mark RainsProfessor, University of South Florida

Mark Rains is a Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida and the Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida. His research is focused on hydrological connectivity from ridges to reefs, especially between hill slopes, wetlands, and headwater streams; the roles that hydrological processes play in governing ecosystem structure and function; and the roles that science plays in informing water-related law, policy, and decision-making.

Learn more about Mark's work

Learn more about the project: Promoting Resilient Groundwater Resources and Holistic Watershed Management in the Southern Kenai Lowlands

Past Webinars

Download: Webinar Brief

Educators from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia (CBNERR), and Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s (VIMS) Marine Advisory Program created the Virginia Scientists and Educators Alliance (VA SEA), a network of graduate students, teachers, and informal educators. The project addressed the significant need for teaching resources and professional development that assist teachers in better demonstrating to their students the research practices of scientists, and how they apply to critical thinking skills. Through this webinar, Sarah Nuss discussed how educators transferred scientific research into usable lesson plans and outreach activities. She also discuss ways that environmental educators can mentor K-12 teachers in incorporating research-based lesson plans in the classroom on their own.

Sarah Nuss is Education Coordinator at Chesapeake Bay-Virginia National Estuarine Research Reserve. Chesapeake Bay-VA NERR is based out of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary.

Learn more about: Creating an Alliance of Scientists and Educators in Virginia

04/11/2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Sophia Paul, Katie Pritchard, Julia Wondolleck, and Chris Feurt

Download: Webinar Brief

Sophia Paul and Katie Pritchard were part of a Master's Project team of four graduate students from University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) working for the Wells Reserve to provide recommendations on the formation of a Saco River Watershed Collaborative. Master's Projects are interdisciplinary capstone experiences that enable U-M SEAS master's students to develop solutions to pressing problems faced by real-world clients. Wells NERR, the client for this project, is facilitating an effort to create a stakeholder network within the watershed and engaged the student team to conduct a situation assessment in order to assess residents' values and aspirations for the watershed, perceptions of issues, and interest in greater collaboration. Katie and Sophia provided an overview of the impetus for the project, their methods, their findings, and deliverables provided to Wells NERR. Their research supports the creation of a broader stakeholder network within the watershed, which could create more coordinated conservation and education efforts.

Sophia Paul is a second year Master's student at the University of Michigan in Environmental Planning and Environmental Justice focusing on community engaged processes and food justice.

Katie Pritchard is a second year Master's student at the University of Michigan studying Conservation Ecology and Environmental Policy & Planning.

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

Download: Webinar Brief

Buffers intersect with a range of activities including land acquisition, management, and protection; restoration; community engagement; and policy making. Underpinning such decisions are tradeoffs that impact economic vitality, environmental health, and community well-being. To help decision makers navigate these tradeoffs and understand their options for action, the project team conducted an integrated assessment, aggregating existing physical and social science data; conducting a policy analysis; quantifying potential willingness to pay for management options based on water quality benefits; assessed values, knowledge, and assumptions at the community level; and then integrating these findings into a series of reports, maps, a website, and an action plan. 

Cory Riley, project lead and Reserve Manager at Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (Southeastern New Hampshire), will share the team's findings and experience.

Learn more about the project: Buffers for the Bay website

See: Project Page

Download: Webinar Brief

A goal of NOAA’s National Ocean Service is to increase coastal intelligence with a commitment to integrating scientifically-defensible data, models, and decision-support tools to improve the ability of decision makers scaling from federal agencies to the private individual. Implementation and maintenance of robust data management and communications infrastructures are critical challenges for development of successful collaborative scientific and management initiatives. The development of the data and information management components of coastal and ocean observing system initiatives must address both core and cooperating programs’ data and information exchange while meeting the needs of the end users. This webinar provided an overview of the necessity for and benefits of a sound data management program. Examples were provided to illustrate instances where management decisions have benefited from decision support tools that make use of data integrated across multiple coastal and ocean monitoring programs.

Dr. Dwayne Porter is Director of the Centralized Data Management Office for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) at the Baruch Marine Institute, University of South Carolina.

See: Project Page

Download: Webinar Brief

In the face of escalating impacts from climate change, the question of adaptation success is a practical and moral imperative. But, how dowe know whether adaptation to climate variability and change in the coastal zone is actually occurring, and whether the adaptive actions taken are good,useful, and effective? The Successful Adaptation Indicators & Metrics (SAIM) project has worked  collaboratively with five reserves (Wells NERR, Hudson River NERR, Jacques Cousteau NERR, Tijuana River NERR, and Kachemak Bay NERR) and their stakeholders over the past 4 years to help answer these questions. Specifically, the project has uncovered insights regarding: (1) what climate change adaptation success means in different locations, (2) what relevant actions and processes are needed to move toward aspired goals, and (3) the challenges involved in setting up a manageable approach to track progress toward a common vision. The Science Collaborative team - together with the reserve partners - is now at the point of synthesizing lessons learned and finding ways to share them in the most useful way with the NERR System as a whole. Join the webinar to learn more about the project, some lessons learned, and help us determine what would be most useful deliverables from the project for you.

Dr. Susi Moser is principal at Susi Moser Research and Consulting, Inc. She is a member of the NERRS Science Collaborative team, working with reserves on climate change adaptation.

See: Project Page

12/20/2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Dani Boudreau and Syverine Bentz

Download: Webinar presentation slides

Project team members Dani Boudreau (Tijuana River NERR) and Syverine Bentz (Kachemak Bay NERR) discussed how climate scenario planning overcame multiple barriers to climate adaptation planning in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Multiple barriers hinder effective adaptation planning in Southcentral Alaska, including the uncertainty around future climate trajectories and limited capacity for interagency collaboration. To address these issues, the Tijuana River NERR (Imperial Beach, CA) partnered with their sister reserve in Kachemak Bay (Homer, AK) to enhance the regional adaptation capacity of Alaska’s Southcentral coastal communities. The webinar focused on climate scenario planning in both the Kachemak Bay and the Tijuana River Reserves, and how the project resulted in multiple unexpected outcomes for each.

Dani Boudreau is Coastal Management Specialist at Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (Imperial Beach, California).

Syverine Bentz is Coastal Training program Coordinator at Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (Homer, Alaska).

See: Project Page

11/30/2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Julia Wondolleck

Download: Webinar Brief

Collaboration scholar, Dr. Julia Wondolleck, Professor of Environment and Sustainability at University of Michigan, outlined what she has learned from examining projects supported by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s (NERRS) Science Collaborative. NERRS research teams are committed to consequential collaboration with end users and to conveying what they have learned to others. They are exceptional at leveraging resources. In this webinar she discussed:

  • The ways in which end user and researcher interaction throughout the duration of a NERRS project incorporates local knowledge and networks to bring new ideas and opportunities to interactive science teams;
  • The impact of NERRS Science Collaborative project teams in improving understanding and community relationships likely to endure beyond the life of each project; and
  • The unique characteristics of collaborative science that set it apart from more traditional approaches to conducting research.

See Full Assessment Report:
NERRS Science Collaborative Projects: An Assessment of Characteristics, Grantee Reflections & Lessons Learned, Julia M. Wondolleck, Anna Bengtson, and Dietrich Bouma, University of Michigan (U-M), School for Environment and Sustainability and the U-M Water Center, part of the Graham Sustainability Institute, April 2017

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