State of the York: A Holistic Synthesis of Place-based Data for Informed Decision-making and Outreach

  • York River watershed stakeholders engage in a mapping exercise during a York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable meeting. Credit: Cirse Gonzalez.

    York River watershed stakeholders engage in a mapping exercise during a York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable meeting. Credit: Cirse Gonzalez.

  • York River watershed stakeholders engage in a mapping exercise during a York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable meeting. Credit: Cirse Gonzalez.

    York River watershed stakeholders engage in a mapping exercise during a York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable meeting. Credit: Cirse Gonzalez.

The York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable (Roundtable) is a forum for information sharing and collaboration among water quality- and conservation-minded stakeholders within Virginia’s York River, Mobjack Bay and Piankatank River watershed system. Led by Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia, the Roundtable supports the Commonwealth’s efforts to protect water quality and conserve coastal resources for the betterment of its communities by promoting place-based coordination and collaboration on watershed issues of mutual concern and interest. In 2020, the Roundtable released a two-year strategic plan outlining a set of intended products, one of which is a report that provides quality, rigorous, objective science on the state of the York River watershed. The goal of the report is to cultivate watershed literacy, translate and transmit information that is difficult to navigate, and to bolster the watershed system’s visibility and value.

In this project, the team and Roundtable are using a snowball-sampling survey approach paired with informational interviews to gather feedback on end-user priorities and needs. As initial survey respondents recruit additional subjects, feedback will be amplified to ensure that perspectives beyond the Roundtable are incorporated into the final report and outreach product. While the content of the final report and format of its related outreach product will be dictated by the end-users, project leads intend to convey results in the spirit of narrative science, pairing quantitative and qualitative information.