Collaborative Science for Estuaries Webinar Series

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 (Mailing List | RSS) to receive notifications about new resources and upcoming webinars.

Upcoming Webinars

10/12/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Andrew Tweel

Shorebird populations are declining globally in the face of sea level rise, increasing coastal development, and shoreline modifications. The piping plover and red knot have exhibited population declines in recent years, particularly in the intertidal habitats of South Carolina. Recent research has established linkages between benthic prey abundance and foraging activity along South Carolina beaches; however, most of these projects focused on determining impacts from shoreline modification, rather than quantifying habitat characteristics. Identifying characteristics associated with optimal foraging habitat can help inform state and federal permitting and habitat management activities in areas these shorebirds inhabit. 

A project team at the ACE Basin Reserve worked with the SC Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a habitat assessment tool for the piping plover and red knot. In this webinar, project lead Andrew Tweel will share methods and outcomes of the project, including a refined list of preferred prey species for piping plovers and a preliminary list for red knots. Tweel will discuss what prey species are important, what makes certain areas foraging hotspots for the piping plover and red knot, and how this information can inform management decisions within South Carolina and across the U.S.

About the speaker:

Andrew Tweel is a landscape ecologist and leads the Environmental Research Section at the Marine Resources Research Institute. His research combines field studies and GIS-based analyses to help understand how coastal ecosystems are affected by development, stormwater runoff, and shoreline modification. Andrew served as project lead, coordinating integration of technical and collaborative elements of the project.

 

11/02/2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Soupy Dalyander, George Ramseur, Aimee Good, and Stuart Siegel

         

Ecosystems don’t care about political boundaries, even if the natural resources within them are managed by multiple entities. Research projects that span political boundaries can often be sticky – decisions are made on long timelines, changes in policy and staff can derail implementation of projects and the tools they produce, and it can be difficult to effectively engage diverse stakeholders so that their perspectives inform the work. Enter: collaborative science. In situations with complex and competing interests, there is a higher likelihood that science will be applied to decision making when problems are tackled with a collaborative science framework. In this webinar, collaborative science project teams will discuss how to work across political boundaries and with different partners to develop shared tools, models, and action plans that will improve ecosystem management.

Collaborative Science Conversations
The NOAA RESTORE Science and NERRS Science Collaborative programs are back at it, teaming up to bring you the voices of project teams from the field through our Collaborative Science Conversations webinar series. These sessions dig into the unique value of collaborative science, what it feels like in practice, and tips and strategies for success. 

Next year: Spring 2023 | Hear more about what the development of a collaborative science project entails and what the co-production process means for the science and the products.

About RESTORE: The NOAA RESTORE Science Program was authorized by Congress in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. The Science Program supports teams of resource managers, researchers, and stakeholders committed to working together to produce science that helps answer the questions resource managers are facing.

Panelists:

Soupy Dalyander, Senior Research Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf

Patricia “Soupy” Dalyander is a Senior Research Scientist with the Water Institute of the Gulf, where she has worked since 2019. She has over 20 years of experience in oceanography, water quality modeling, and decision support, predominantly with federal science and engineering agencies. Soupy’s professional experience in researching coastal processes and informing decisions in resource management includes working with the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program of the U.S. Geological Survey at the St Petersburg and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Centers. She has also worked on sediment management, water quality, and decision-support projects as a research physical scientist for the Engineering Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

George Ramseur, Senior Coastal Scientist, Moffatt & Nichol

George Ramseur Jr. has recently extended his career in coastal restoration by joining Moffatt & Nichol as a senior coastal scientist in the Mobile, AL office. He recently retired from a 15+ year career at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources culminating as the Director of Ecological Restoration. He has been implementing ecological restoration in coastal Mississippi for the last 25 years, beginning with The Nature Conservancy in 1997 and after 2006, with the MDMR. In 2017, after a decade of GOMA partnerships, he initiated the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Coastal System “co-productive” science planning domain, which is now developing thanks to a grant from the NOAA RESTORE Science program.

Aimee Good, Wetland Science & Coastal Training Program Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR

Aimee Good has over two decades of experience leading training programs in the San Francisco estuary, including an innovative bottom up stakeholder engagement project to address coastal flooding at the research reserve. Her work utilizes a collaborative approach to enhancing capacity and partner engagement on all levels to address issues of climate change, marsh resilience and coastal intelligence. She finds any excuse to be out at reserve sites working with decision makers, stakeholders, partners and neighbors. Never one to shy away from new initiatives, her work ranges from adaptation planning & nature based solutions, wetland monitoring  & delineation to migratory bird tracking.

Stuart Siegel, Manager, San Francisco Bay NERR

Stuart's interests are in how to guide the adaptive management process meaningfully and cost effectively. His current collaborative research project combines state and local agencies, recreation and conservation groups, and a federally recognized tribe on an adaptation project. 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. 

Moderators:

Doug George, NERRS Science Collaborative Program Manager, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. Doug’s educational background includes a B.S in Oceanography from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, a M.Sc. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

Caitlin Young, Science Coordinator, NOAA RESTORE Science Program

Caitlin Young is the Science Coordinator for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. She leads the Science Program’s efforts to synthesize environmental and human dimension research data available for the Gulf of Mexico to design funding competitions. She has a background in geochemistry and has researched the impacts of submarine groundwater discharge on coastal ecosystems. Caitlin has a BS in Geology from Tulane University and a PhD in Geosciences from Stony Brook University.

Past Webinars

09/08/2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Puaʻala Pascua, Eleanor Sterling, and Rachel Dacks

Ecosystem service assessments are a top priority at many reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. However, within ecosystem services research, there is a critical gap surrounding the equitable representation of cultural ecosystem services (CES) — one of four main categories of ecosystem services. The inclusion of CES in natural resource planning is critical, as they encompass the diverse suite of interactions between humans and the environment that maintain place-based values, worldviews, cultural identity, and well-being.

Through a catalyst grant, a project team worked with two sites in the Pacific – Heʻeia Reserve in Hawaiʻi and Kachemak Bay Reserve in Alaska – to advance the equitable representation of CES in estuary stewardship. In this webinar, three project team members discuss strategies implemented to deepen and expand the meaningful inclusion of CES in estuary stewardship and management. They share lessons learned in identifying and implementing CES in reserve management and in co-designing deliverables and approaches for end user needs.

Learn more about the speakers:

Puaʻala Pascua specializes in locally and culturally attuned approaches to natural resource management. In her current role as a Program Coordinator with the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance Foundation, she works alongside a network of community partners to advance community-centered stewardship and restoration efforts that honor place-based knowledges, practices, relationships, and processes.

Eleanor Sterling is the Director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. A scientist with interdisciplinary training, she currently focuses on the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages; the factors influencing ecological and social resilience; the development of indicators of well-being in biocultural landscapes, and engaging with Indigenous marine management approaches.

Rachel Dacks is a researcher at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. She is an interdisciplinary scientist, whose research, guided by local values and perspectives, explores place-based solutions to pressing problems involving the human dimensions of natural resource management in marine and terrestrial systems in Hawaiʻi and across the Pacific Islands. She uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, some of which she has shared (and learned) as part of the Catalyst Project.
07/14/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Christopher Biggs and Philip Souza

Soundscape ecology is a promising new field that studies the sounds produced above and below water using a variety of acoustic sensors. Passive acoustic monitoring records sound produced over multiple levels of biological complexity which can be used to investigate and monitor biodiversity, behaviors such as feeding and spawning, and anthropogenic noise. By implementing acoustic monitoring, scientists and managers can identify key habitats for protection and measure how ecological communities respond to environmental changes (e.g. storm events, coastal development, eutrophication) in a cost-effective and low-impact manner. 

This project brought together academic leaders in bioacoustics, estuarine ecology, and fisheries ecology with managers and staff from the Mission-Aransas, Rookery Bay, and North Inlet-Winyah Bay reserves. The goal was to develop a framework for a new acoustic monitoring program that could be integrated with reserve programs throughout the region, including: long-term system monitoring; targeted research, e.g. oyster reefs; stewardship applications, e.g. visitor use and anthropogenic noise; and education programs such as TOTE. In this webinar, project lead Chris Biggs talks about the project approach and management context, shares lessons learned from the project, and discusses the value of active acoustic monitoring as a component of ecosystem stewardship.

Learn more about the speakers:

Christopher Biggs is a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. His research expertise is in the reproductive behavior of fishes and passive acoustic monitoring of estuarine systems. His work utilizes hydrophones to monitor sound production in marine organisms to understand behavior, productivity, and habitat utilization along with the impacts of anthropogenic noise. Chris was the project lead of the Science Collaborative Catalyst Grant on Acoustic monitoring.

Philip Souza is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. His research uses passive acoustic techniques to monitor soundscapes in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, with a focus on biological sound production. Specific projects include monitoring sciaenid fish spawning activity, tracking restored oyster reef soundscape development, and investigating the relationships between biological sound production and community measures (e.g., fish abundance and biodiversity).

06/29/2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Brandon Puckett, Whitney Jenkins, Cristiana Falvo, Justin Ridge, Brittany Morse, Allix North, and Erik Smith

Tidal wetland monitoring is critical for detecting changes and managing these vulnerable coastal ecosystems. Wetland monitoring programs typically use ground-based measurements or satellite observations to track changes at small and large scales – but these approaches may miss important processes that occur at intermediate spatial scales or result from discrete events such as extreme storms. Mounting sensors on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - commonly known as drones - offers an opportunity to radically improve tidal wetland monitoring programs by providing high spatial resolution, coverage, and customization on the operator’s schedule.

This project team worked with the six National Estuarine Research Reserves in the Southeast and Caribbean to develop, assess, and collaboratively refine a protocol for drone operation, data management, and data analysis. In this webinar, which consists of a presentation and panel discussion, members of the project team talk about their approach which included ground-based validation and drone-based observation to estimate common wetland monitoring parameters and a collaborative process for developing the protocols. They also share lessons learned, products developed, and benefits that have emerged from this work.

Learn more about the speakers:

Brandon Puckett served as Research Coordinator at the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve (NC NERR) for the last seven years before recently transitioning to a Research Biologist position with NCCOS. His research interests, broadly speaking, center around the ecology of coastal habitats—focusing primarily on oysters, tidal marshes, and, to a lesser degree, seagrasses. Some of his recent research has focused on advancing the use of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (i.e., drones) for monitoring and, ultimately, assessing coastal habitats to inform management and improve restoration outcomes. Brandon received his Ph.D. in marine science from North Carolina State University and his M.S. in fisheries science from the University of Maryland. 
Whitney Jenkins has been the coordinator of the North Carolina Coastal Training Program since 2002. The goal of the program is to promote informed coastal decisions through science-based training for professionals. Training programs focus on sustainable development, water quality protection, and coastal hazards. Whitney is also responsible for developing and facilitating Collaborative Learning processes for groups such as the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative. Whitney has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of Florida. Whitney is based at the Coastal Reserve’s headquarters in Beaufort, but coordinates training across North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties.
Cristiana Falvo is a drone pilot and research technician in Duke's Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab and holds a Master of Coastal Environmental Management (CEM) degree from Duke University. With a background in data management from the U.S. Geological Survey and slew of data science and communication skills acquired from the CEM program, Cristiana supports the drone lab’s various projects by helping to collect, process, analyze and manage aerial imagery. In addition to her data crunching duties, Cristiana has a growing interest in making our coasts more resilient to climate change and finds value in engaging with her surrounding community.
Justin Ridge leads the Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab’s coastal mapping research, advancing multiscale remote sensing applications for coastal science and management. His research in estuarine systems has involved master’s work in Florida, doctoral work in North Carolina, and postdoctoral work with the MaRRS Lab since 2017 with a heavy focus in the NERRS. His research activities include the application of novel methods (e.g., drones, deep learning, etc.) for coastal resource management in the face of human and climatic driven changes, taking him all along the US East and Gulf Coasts and down to Belize. 
Brittany Morse is a Research Specialist at the North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR) where she assists with long term monitoring projects, as well as processes and analyzes UAS imagery. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science and Geography from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry, estuarine ecology, and remote sensing. 
Allix North serves as the Stewardship Coordinator for Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR in NE Florida. She leads the UAV program, GIS and Spatial ecology program, and the prescribed fire program. She collaborates with other sectors providing drone imagery and GIS products. Allix has a Bachelors Degree for UF in Natural Resource Conservation and two Masters Certificates in Geospatial Analysis and Unmanned Air System Mapping from UF.
Erik Smith is the Manager of the North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR) and has previously served as its Research Coordinator. He received a Ph. D. from the University of Maryland and has active research interests in estuarine ecology and biogeochemistry. Erik is a FAA Part 107 certified pilot and leads the NI-WB NERR’s Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) program, which is operationalizing the use of UAS to expand the temporal and spatial scope of the reserve’s marsh monitoring efforts through standardized repeated sampling of UAS-collected multispectral reflectance indices.
05/25/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Catherine de Rivera, Melissa Haeffner, Julie Gonzalez, Vanessa Robertson-Rojas, and Sabra Comet

Understanding why habitat restoration is, or isn’t, viewed as successful is a critical piece of evaluating completed projects and garnering support for future projects. Ecological measures alone may not fully describe the success or shortcomings of restoration projects, and public perceptions of success may be based on an entirely different set of metrics. In fact, restoration metrics rarely include human dimensions even though community support for restoration can make or break potential future projects, and affect long-term success of completed ones.

Using South Slough NERR (Oregon) and other restoration projects in the region as case studies, this project deployed a three-pronged approach to understand and improve estuarine restoration outcomes, which includes synthesis of long-term monitoring data, comparisons between manager and public perceptions, and interviews to understand efficacy of ecological metrics. In this webinar, the project team talks about their approach to understanding restoration success, summarizes their findings on the values and perceptions associated with estuarine restoration, and shares recommendations for including social and ecological metrics in future restoration projects.

Learn more about the speakers:

Cat de Rivera is a professor of Environmental Science & Management at Portland State University. She studies how anthropogenic changes in habitat connectivity – whether because of biological invasion, the built environment, or sea level rise — affect animal populations and communities and ecosystem function. Her collaborative research addresses questions about invasions ecology, climate change ecology, ecology of the built environment, and restoration ecology. As project lead, she coordinated the transdisciplinary research of this project and engaged stakeholders to ensure useful, relevant products and outcomes.

Melissa Haeffner, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Science and Management department at Portland State University. Her specialization is in human-environmental interactions and consensus building. Her research unifies several research domains that contribute to the knowledge of local politics in watersheds and how they shape urban water infrastructure development in the past, in the present, and under future predictions. As social science lead for the project, she provided expertise for the focus groups, interview creation, and analysis.
Julie Gonzalez is a Ph.D. Candidate at University of California, Davis, and a current NOAA Margaret A. Davidson Fellow with the San Francisco Bay NERR. She is interested in estuarine community ecology, how to improve coastal habitat restoration and assessment, facilitating collaborative co-development of research projects and considering multiple stakeholder perceptions in the process. For this project, Julie served as a technical lead for salt marsh restoration ecology, providing knowledge of on-the-ground restoration techniques and metrics
Vanessa Robertson-Rojas has seven years of restoration project experience. Her work focuses on project design and implementation for mitigation banking and the nonprofit sector. Her work has included vegetative, hydrologic, pedologic, and topographic monitoring, implementation of restoration, and project data management and analysis. For the project, Vanessa provided support developing map deliverables, collecting data, and connecting with restoration practitioners in the private and public sectors.
Sabra Marie TallChief Comet is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), where she works to increase the use of science-based information by coastal managers and decision makers by identifying needs within the community, focusing training around these needs, and providing technical assistance when needed. In addition to working as a wildlife biologist, she has served as the marine planner and an emergency services planner at a Tribe in northern California. Sabra is also a former Malouf Scholar and Knauss Fellow. As an end user and partner in the project, Sabra has helped shaped the work, ensuring a strong connection with the broader community.
04/19/2022 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Nikki Dix, Erik Smith, Hannah Ramage, and Dwayne Porter

Many estuaries across the country experience nutrient pollution and algal blooms, which degrade water quality for people and other aquatic life. Carefully tracking chlorophyll ɑ concentrations - a proxy for phytoplankton biomass - can help managers track the patterns and drivers of algal blooms and eutrophication in estuaries but, to date, technological barriers have limited monitoring to monthly measurements, which may not be enough to track plankton dynamics that fluctuate hourly.

Last year, a catalyst project enabled 13 reserves nationwide to develop, test and share standardized protocols for using new YSI EXO Total Algae fluorometric sensors mounted on existing monitoring stations. In this webinar, team members share how they: 1) assessed the performance of the new sensors; 2) identified sources of sensor interference and developed correction equations; and 3) created and shared tested protocols and recommendations for the Reserve System.

Learn more about the speakers:

 

Nikki Dix, Research Coordinator, Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR

Nikki Dix has served as Research Coordinator at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR) since 2013. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida where she was supported by a NERR fellowship to study responses of plankton and oysters to eutrophication in the GTM estuary. As Research Coordinator, Nikki establishes research priorities and oversees long-term monitoring in the context of regional, state, and national objectives. Nikki also facilitates activities of visiting researchers and works to develop collaborations between scientists, managers, educators, and the public.

 

Erik Smith, Manager, North Inlet-Winyah Bay NERR

Erik Smith is the Manager of the North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR) and has previously served as its Research Coordinator.  He received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and has active research interests in estuarine ecology, carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry, and the influence of terrestrial runoff on coastal water quality.

Hannah Ramage, Monitoring Coordinator, Lake Superior NERR

Hannah Ramage is the Monitoring Coordinator at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (LKS NERR) where she oversees field operations, manages the Reserve’s laboratory, summarizes and analyses water quality data, and supports undergraduate researchers. She has served in this role since 2017 after receiving her MS in Integrated Biological Sciences from University of Minnesota, Duluth. She is particularly passionate about building and sustaining research and community collaborations around water quality issues in the St. Louis River Estuary. 

Moderator:

Dwayne Porter, Director, NERRS Centralized Data Management Office

Dwayne Porter directs the activities of the NERRS Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO), located in Georgetown, SC. His research interests include exploring and expanding the increasingly important roles that technology and technological innovations play in monitoring, assessing, modeling and managing our coastal environmental resources and associated environmental and public health issues.

In 2020, Susanne Moser - with support from the NERRS Science Collaborative team - began a study to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted collaborative science projects. While initially focused on the shift to virtual engagement, the study eventually expanded to assess the broader implications of the ongoing pandemic, the conduct and outcomes of collaborative science, and stakeholder engagement under such unusual and strenuous circumstances. 

Given the continually and rapidly changing conditions from the onset of the pandemic until now, all projects have had to adjust – but some more substantially than others. Drawing on project check-in notes and in-depth interviews with project and collaborative leads, this webinar reports back from this study to share insights on:

  • How projects adjusted; 

  • Which techniques and technologies  were used and proved useful; 

  • What benefits and losses people experienced due to the shifts made during the pandemic;

  • Which successes and “failures” (or shortcomings in virtual engagement) projects experienced; as well as 

  • Lessons learned and good advice interviewees offered to their colleagues. 

Moser

Susanne Moser's work focuses on adaptation to climate change, science-policy interactions, climate change communication, and psycho-social resilience in the face of the traumatic and transformative challenges associated with climate change. 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. In 2020, Susi worked with project teams to identify and understand challenges and opportunities of virtual engagement techniques and tools. Learn more about Susi and her Science Collaborative work.

02/03/2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Kaitlyn Dietz, Aimee Good, and Doug George

If you’ve ever developed a user-driven research proposal, you know it takes a lot of conversations, coordination, and iteration — not to mention significant investment of time and resources. Partnerships are the heart of the collaborative science approach, and success depends on assembling the right team to engage, understand, design, and deliver results to meet users’ needs. When getting started with a new collaborative science project, it’s important to commit the time and resources necessary to foster relationships among team members, end users, and other partners, establish mutual understanding, and ultimately create a shared vision for what you want to accomplish.

In this webinar, two speakers from the NERRS shared how their successful collaborative science efforts started. Speakers discussed how small grants helped them explore ideas with partners that sparked future projects, and the importance of getting together, understanding one another’s needs, and fostering relationships to do science that makes a difference.

Learn more about the speakers:

 

Kaitlyn Dietz, Collaboration Coordinator, GTM NERR

Kaitlyn Dietz is the collaboration coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve where she helps to translate science into application and action.  Collaboratively, through a large network of local and regional partners, the GTM Research Reserve shares data, information, and expertise that allow stakeholders to quickly respond to changing local needs. Kaitlyn graduated from Georgia College and State University with a B.S. in biology and from Jacksonville University with a M.S. in marine science.
 

 

Aimee Good, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR

Aimee Good has over two decades of experience leading wetland and coastal training programs in the SF estuary. She finds any excuse to be out at reserve sites working with decision makers, stakeholders, partners and neighbors. Never one to shy away from new initiatives, her work ranges from adaptation planning & nature based solutions, wetland monitoring  & delineation to migratory bird tracking.
 

Moderator:

Doug George, NERRS Science Collaborative Program Manager, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Dr. Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. Dr. George’s educational background includes a B.S in Oceanography from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, a M.Sc. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

12/07/2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Amanda Spivak, Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Giulio Mariotti, and Gabrielle Sakolsky

Parallel grid ditches were dug in approximately 90% of mid-Atlantic and New England salt marshes from the 1920s through the 1940s. Today, managers must navigate the effects of these past actions when making decisions about marsh hydrology and drainage that impact human health, ecosystem services, and marsh sustainability. Managers must also consider how stressors such as sea-level rise impact marshes. A team of scientists including staff from the Waquoit Bay Reserve in Massachusetts helped to address this challenge by working iteratively with coastal managers and restoration practitioners to develop a decision support tool for marsh hydrology management strategies that promote sustainability and continued delivery of valuable ecosystem services under future sea level rise scenarios.

In this webinar, the project team shares both the collaborative and technical aspects of their approach and the resultant Marsh Sustainability and Hydrology Decision Support Tool. The tool predicts potential outcomes of ditch and runnel maintenance in micro- and macro-tidal salt marshes under different scenarios of suspended sediment input and sea level rise.

Learn more about the speakers:

Amanda Spivak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at University of Georgia. Her research aims to  refine the role of estuaries and wetlands in the global carbon cycle and predict the likelihood of ecosystem recovery from disturbances. She uses biogeochemical and ecological approaches to quantify carbon fluxes, transformations, and fates. As project and technical lead, Amanda coordinated the many aspects of the project including fieldwork and model development.

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers is the Manager of Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Massachusetts. She has been working at the nexus of science and management for two decades and as part of her role at the Reserve leads engagement efforts to integrate stakeholders in research and planning processes related to coastal issues such as climate change, ecosystem services, coastal resilience, and water quality. As collaborative lead for this project, Tonna-Marie helped design and facilitate the team’s approach to engaging end users and being responsive to their needs in developing the decision support tool.

Giulio Mariotti is an Associate Professor in Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. His research aims to understand and quantify the long-term morphological evolution of coastlines and their responses to global environmental changes, with particular interest in coupling physical and biochemical processes (ecogeomorphology). As co-technical lead for this project, Giulio led development of a mathematical model that helps predict the evolution of marsh properties based on various parameters.

Gabrielle Sakolsky is the Superintendent at the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project, a key end user of products developed as part of this project. She has conducted and directed the mosquito arbovirus surveillance program in Barnstable County for CCMCP for the past 25 years. Gabrielle also serves as chair of the American Mosquito Control Association’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) committee and is past president of the Northeastern Mosquito Control Association.

Learn more about the project: Evaluating the Impact of Hydrologic Alterations on Salt Marsh Sustainability in a Changing Climate

11/30/2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Rachel Noble and Whitney Jenkins

Like many older towns along the east coast, Beaufort, North Carolina grew at a faster pace than its stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. Stormwater outfalls that discharge into coastal waters have detrimental impacts on human and ecosystem health, and stormwater runoff often results in elevated levels of pathogens and nutrients, which can lead to fishing and swimming closures, illnesses, and negative impacts on coastal ecosystems. To better understand the effects of stormwater, a project team based at the Rachel Carson component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve used a comprehensive sampling regimen to gather quantitative information that helped them assess the effects of precipitation and tidal inundation on stormwater impacts, and identify sources of fecal contamination.

In this webinar, members of the project team discuss the technical and collaborative aspects of their approach, including the sampling regimen and how their engagement approach resulted in a decision-maker summit and citizen science app that fosters ongoing community engagement on stormwater issues.

Learn more about the speakers:

Dr. Rachel Noble is a land-water interface scientist who specializes in understanding the interactions between wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, coastal regions, and water quality, particularly in low lying coastal areas. Dr. Noble uses advanced molecular tools to understand the movement of microbial contaminants into coastal systems, and the risk associated with contaminants in recreational, drinking, and shellfish harvesting waters. Dr. Noble works with diverse stakeholder groups including municipalities, counties, and State, regional, and federal government to understand the interplay between contamination and remediation strategies. Dr. Noble has also devoted extensive attention to understanding flooding and resilience of coastal communities in the context of extreme events.

Whitney Jenkins has been the coordinator of the North Carolina Coastal Training Program since 2002. The goal of the program is to promote informed coastal decisions through science-based training for professionals. Training programs focus on sustainable development, water quality protection, and coastal hazards. Whitney is also responsible for developing and facilitating Collaborative Learning processes for groups such as the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative. Whitney has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of Florida. Whitney is based at the Coastal Reserve’s headquarters in Beaufort, but coordinates training across North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties.

Learn more about the project: Collaborative Research to Manage Stormwater Impacts on Coastal Reserves

09/29/2021 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm - Speaker(s): David Sutherland, Emily Eidam, and Jenni Schmitt

Designated one of Oregon’s three “deep draft development” estuaries, the Coos estuary has many diverse users who share a need for better information about water and sediment flows through the estuary under current and future conditions. Working closely with the South Slough NERR and the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a local stakeholder group, researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina helped to address some of these informational needs. The team collected new data, including the first bathymetric dataset to cover the entire Coos estuary, and developed a hydrodynamic model to better understand and predict estuarine water and sediment flows. They then worked with end users to develop data and modeling products of interest, including two perturbation experiments analyzing a proposed deepening and widening of the estuary’s main navigation channel. 

In this webinar, members of the project team discuss the end-user engagement approach used in their collaborative research project, present highlights from the model experiments, and share observations from an examination of historic estuary conditions prior to human impacts. 

Learn more about the speakers:

David Sutherland is a coastal physical oceanographer at the University of Oregon, studying estuarine dynamics in Oregon, as well as glacial fjords in Alaska and Greenland. Dave served as the project and collaborative lead, coordinating the many aspects of the project and end user engagement. He also co-led the technical elements, including fieldwork and model development.

Emily Eidam is a fluvial and coastal sedimentologist at University of North Carolina, studying sediment transport and accumulation in diverse environments (primarily in the Arctic). Emily began with the project as a postdoctoral scholar, contributing significantly to model development. She then transitioned to a co-PI when she moved to UNC.

Jenni Schmitt is the Watershed Monitoring Coordinator at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Her research interests include understanding wetland ecosystems with a focus on how climate change influences habitats and species. Jenni also organizes and chairs the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a collaborative stakeholder group whose members are currently working to guide improved estuary management by using tools such as the hydrodynamic model.

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