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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

Past Webinars

Tue 4/27/2021, 2 - 3pm EDT
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 shared 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 discussed 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 Rains, Professor, 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

Wed 3/31/2021, 3 - 4pm EDT
Y. Peter Sheng and Sarah Fernald

As coastal communities strive to safeguard themselves from increasing storm risks, they are looking for ways to maximize the protective powers of their natural features such as coastal wetlands. This project closely examined one marsh complex that lies adjacent to Piermont Village along the Hudson River Estuary in New York. Village residents wanted to better understand how Piermont Marsh would buffer their village from storm-induced flooding and waves, and whether a proposed plan to restore native cattails within a small area of the Phragmites-dominated marsh would lessen its buffering capacity.

In this webinar, two members of the project team explained how the team used state of the art modeling methods to simulate marsh vegetation and storm impacts produced by a series of past and future storm scenarios. By looking back at Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and projecting how much worse the damage could have been without the marsh, the research team was able to put a dollar value on Piermont Marsh’s buffering services. They shared key takeaways from the research and explained how the findings are informing planning for the marsh and shoreline infrastructure.

Learn more about the speakers:

Peter Sheng, Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Research Professor, University of Florida

Peter Sheng is an Emeritus Professor and Adjunct Research Professor of Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering at the University of Florida. Peter specializes in coastal hydrodynamic and bio-geochemical processes and multidisciplinary modeling. His recent interests include the impact of climate change on coastal inundation and understanding the role of coastal wetlands (marshes and mangroves) for buffering coastal communities from flood and wave damage. As project lead, Peter coordinated a team of multidisciplinary scientists and led the development and application of the surge-wave model and the economic loss model.

Learn more about Peter

Sarah Fernald, Research Coordinator, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Sarah Fernald is a marine scientist and the research coordinator at the Hudson River NERR. She is responsible for managing long term monitoring and research at the reserve. For this project, Sarah worked with Peter to ensure that modeling scenarios aligned with proposed marsh management plans and the interests of Piermont Village stakeholders.

Learn more about Sarah's program

Learn more about project: Understanding the Role Coastal Marshes Play in Protecting Communities from Storm Surge and Flooding

Tue 2/23/2021, 3 - 4pm EST
Richard Lathrop, Lisa Auermuller, Kaitlin Gannon, and Dina Fonseca

As climate change and sea level rise alter salt marsh habitats, a less understood impact - with implications for human health - is how changes in marsh habitat affect the production and location of nuisance mosquito populations. Understanding how coastal ecosystems are being impacted by climate change, and how nuisance mosquito populations are changing, is critical to ensuring coastal managers make the most informed decisions going forward.

In this webinar, project team members described how data-collection, mapping, and modeling efforts have resulted in increased clarity about marsh habitat change to inform mosquito control and coastal restoration efforts in New Jersey. Future modeling and marsh-upland edge mapping suggest that the marsh-upland is and will be a hotspot for change, and field sampling confirmed that these “new” habitats can serve as breeding areas for mosquitoes. The team also developed environmental DNA (eDNA) assays for the most common salt marsh mosquitoes in the Middle Atlantic United States. Working closely with mosquito control agency personnel, the team has made major advancements in mosquito surveillance through the deployment of drone-based sampling of breeding pools paired with the eDNA analyses. The team also developed outreach materials to inform the public about health risks posed by mosquitoes, including how climate change might exacerbate those risks, and a module for middle/high school educators.

Learn more about the speakers:

Richard Lathrop, Professor, Director, Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis, Rutgers University

Rick Lathrop is a professor of ecology and watershed monitoring. His research focuses largely on water resources and providing coastal communities with scientific information and tools for decision making in the face of climate change and sea level rise. Rick served as the project lead, coordinating the many aspects of the project and leading the mapping and modeling elements.

Lisa Auermuller, Assistant Manager, Jacques Cousteau NERR

In her role at the Reserve, Lisa Auermuller'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. Lisa served as the collaborative lead for the project.

Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator, Jacques Cousteau NERR

Kaitlin Gannon is the Education Coordinator for the JC NERR. She has extensive training in wildlife interpretation and conservation. Kaitlin supported outreach efforts for the project and developed the educational module for use in Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) trainings.

Dina Fonseca, Professor, Director, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

Dina Fonseca is a molecular medical and veterinary entomologist. She primarily develops tools to reveal incipient infestations, identify which traits are associated with expansion and damage of invasive species, and optimize management strategies. Dina served as the project co-lead, coordinating the development of the mosquito eDNA assays.

Thu 1/21/2021, 3 - 4pm EST
James Arnott, Jessica McIntosh, Susi Moser, and Doug George

Collaborative science involves working closely with partners at every stage - from conceptualizing a new project, to conducting the research, to refining tools to best meet a management need. In May 2020, hoping to start a dialogue around virtual engagement for collaborative science, we held a webinar to reflect on the ways in which collaborative science practices have been impacted by COVID-19.

As January 2021 drew to a close, most of us were thinking about the myriad stressors that continuec to pose challenges to virtual collaboration, life, and everything in between. In this webinar, we discussed what kind of tracking and evaluation we’d done to date, and explored how we continue to do our work in the midst of distractions. The discussion built on panelists’ comments to tease out the implications of these new practices for future collaborative science work, and how these lessons can be applied to coastal science within and beyond the NERRS.


Cressman Cumulative ChangeJames Arnott is the Executive Director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. James’ research seeks to understand how to better link scientific knowledge with decision-making through research on collaborative science and science funding. James is also a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute.
Susi 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. Learn more about Susi and her Science Collaborative work.
Jessica McIntosh is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Rookery Bay Research Reserve in Naples, Florida. In this role, she connects diverse stakeholders with environmental research by facilitating training workshops and collaborative research groups. Jessica has worked on a variety of coastal management issues, ranging from invasive lionfish in the Cayman Islands to bioremediation for oil spills in salt marshes in Louisiana, and has held positions with academic, non-profit, and government groups.


Doug GeorgeDoug George is a trained 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.
Wed 12/16/2020, 2 - 3:30pm EST
James Arnott, Charlotte Hudson, Ariela Zycherman, Leah Fisher, Jen Read, Sybil Seitzinger, and Doug George

What a year 2020 has been! COVID-19 has reshaped how we understand and practice collaborative research, not to mention nearly every other aspect of how we live and work. By year’s end, all of us are now on a similar journey to take stock of what we have learned through these challenges.

This webinar brought together the perspectives of five funders working across North America that sponsor collaborative research on environmental topics. Earlier in the fall of 2020, each of them polled their grantees about how COVID-19 has affected their active projects and asked them to make sense of the benefits and constraints of doing collaborative research virtually. In this webinar, panelists representing the organizations involved in the study shared and discussed preliminary findings and their implications for future programs. Participating funders included: California Strategic Growth Council, NERRS Science Collaborative, NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessment, Lenfest Ocean Program at the Pew Charitable Trust, and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.


Cressman Cumulative ChangeJames Arnott is the Executive Director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. James’ research seeks to understand how to better link scientific knowledge with decision-making through research on collaborative science and science funding. James is also a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute.
Leah Fisher is the Senior Advisor for Research & Innovation at the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) where she works to leverage partnerships, actionable science, and equitable, meaningful engagement to help California meet its climate goals. Leah co-manages the cap-and-trade-funded Climate Change Research Program and supports a variety of interagency efforts for SGC and the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, including on carbon dioxide removal and climate resilience. Leah came to the State of California from Washington, DC, where she worked at the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Charlotte Hudson is the director of the Lenfest Ocean Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, a grant-making program that funds research projects that address the needs of marine and coastal stakeholders and supports grantees who will engage with the people most likely to use the results. She is responsible for identifying thematic areas of research and overseeing the design and implementation research projects that meet the criteria of the Lenfest Ocean Program. She also oversees the communication and dissemination of research results in ways that inform decision-makers and stakeholders to promote the sustainable management of the oceans.
Jen ReadJen Read is the Program Director for the NERRS Science Collaborative. She directs the U-M Water Center and implemented the Integrated Assessment program, including introducing the idea to the research community, while working for Michigan Sea Grant. Jen is also experienced leading interdisciplinary teams informed by multi-sector advisory groups to address challenging water-related issues. 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.
Dr. Sybil Seitzinger is the Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) and an Environmental Studies Professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. PICS is a 4 university institute (University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Northern British Columbia), funding climate mitigation and adaptation research. We connect leading researchers with public and private sector ‘solution seekers’ in partnerships that co-design, co-develop, and co-deliver cutting edge climate change solutions. The 'PICS way' is a deliberate step away from siloed research towards full engagement, from project outset to implementation.
Ariela Zycherman is a Social Scientist and Program Manager in NOAA’s Climate Program Office in the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program (RISA). She is an Environmental Anthropologist with expertise in food and agricultural systems, household and community livelihoods, and natural resource management. Prior to NOAA, Ariela supported multidisciplinary and applied team science projects as a National Program Leader at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and as the National Coordinator of the USDA Climate Hubs.


Doug GeorgeDoug George is a trained 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.
Wed 11/18/2020, 3 - 4pm EST
Susi Moser and Kristen Goodrich

One of the most challenging parts of advancing climate adaptation is defining what success looks like and tracking progress toward those goals. Over the past six years, a group of National Estuarine Research Reserves has been finding creative ways to tackle this problem in their own communities through the Successful Adaptation Indicators and Metrics project. In 2020, the team launched a new web-based toolkit - Resilience Metrics - which shares a suite of lessons learned, tools and tactics to help communities identify locally relevant climate adaptation metrics.

In this webinar, two members of the project team shared their experiences and lessons learned with defining climate adaptation success - conceptually and in practice. They introduced the resources available on the Resilience Metrics toolkit and explained how the case studies, job aids and facilitation tools can be used by coastal managers and adaptation professionals everywhere to facilitate conversations and planning around successful adaptation

Learn more about speakers:

Cressman Cumulative Change

Kristen Goodrich is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. There, she provides training and technical assistance to coastal decision-makers in Southern and Baja California. Working on the U.S.-Mexico border has provided her with a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities for collaboration and boundary spanning and inspires her research on psychosocial resilience.



Susi Moser'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.


Tue 10/20/2020, 3 - 4pm EDT
Beth Darrow, Martin Posey, and Doug Bell

North Carolina’s shellfish aquaculture industry has been small but stable for over 30 years. The southern portion of the North Carolina coast has consistently provided more than 50 percent of the wild harvest in the state, which has been driving interest in creating new oyster farms throughout the region. Simultaneously, increased interest in shellfish aquaculture has placed pressure on resource managers making siting decisions. New farms provide an opportunity to assess conditions after farm installation, making North Carolina estuaries an ideal place to explore the ecosystem services of shellfish farming. This project aimed to link small-scale changes around oyster farms with larger-scale ecosystem-level alterations, and provide local assessment of ecosystem services to be considered by decision-makers.

In this webinar, project team members described how two years of intensive sampling in and adjacent to oyster farms and ongoing collaboration with oyster farms and the policy community has resulted in the production of visualization tools and models that will allow resource managers, shellfish growers, and other end users to make better decisions when determining the locations and scales of shellfish farming operations. The team found that environmental impacts of these farms were minimal, but that policy decisions were more complex. This finding led to an additional project examining the extent of shellfish aquaculture within the nationwide Reserve system.

Learn more about speakers:

Beth Darrow, Senior Scientist, Bald Head Island Conservancy, NC

Beth Darrow has over 10 years’ scientific experience working with shellfish ecology, aquaculture, and estuarine ecology and biogeochemistry in Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico. As project lead, she focused on quantifying the environmental effects of oyster farms and oversaw data collection from the field and lab that drove the development of the oyster farm model, and coordinated connections with end users.

Martin Posey, Professor, Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington

>Martin Posey is a benthic ecologist with many years’ experience in research and advisory roles on ecosystem services of shellfish populations. He has worked extensively with resource and user advisory groups at the regional, state and national level, and has worked on a number of restoration efforts. Martin served as the collaboration lead for the project, and supervised a graduate student who conducted experiments on the habitat use of oyster aquaculture as well as several undergraduates involved with reef and nekton sampling.

Doug Bell, Data and Budget Coordinator, National Sea Grant Program, NOAA

Doug Bell is an aquatic ecologist by training, receiving his Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina and his B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. Doug’s research has focused on nutrient biogeochemistry and phytoplankton ecology in freshwater, estuarine, and open ocean systems. Doug joined and led a spin-off project inspired by this Science Collaborative study, which assessed the current activities, approaches, and relevant policy to shellfish aquaculture across the Reserve System.

Learn more about project

Thu 9/24/2020, 3:30 - 4:30pm EDT
Sarah Fernald and Brian Yellen

Hundreds of dams built on tributaries of the Hudson River estuary have outlived their usefulness. Removing these relic dams is a priority for the state of New York in order to improve aquatic habitat connectivity, restore fish spawning grounds, and reduce the risk of dam failure. To better understand how sediment released by dam removals in the Lower Hudson River watershed will affect the 240 km-long estuary, including the potential for dam-derived sediments to help build tidal wetland resilience in the face of sea level rise, the Dams and Sediment in the Hudson (DaSH) project brought together a collaborative team of scientists and stakeholders to research key questions and provide practical tools to regulators and practitioners.

In this webinar, project team members shared how their multidisciplinary approach - which combined field observations with analyses of sediment transport, and integrated feedback from a broad coalition of stakeholders - allowed them to answer questions about how dam removal will impact conditions in the estuary. They presented key findings about marsh accretion and introduced a tool they developed that allows engineers and regulators to estimate the amount of sediment stored behind a dam and assess preliminary impacts of sediment release following dam removal. To learn about their findings and tools visit the DasH project page.

Learn more about speakers:

Cressman Cumulative ChangeSarah Fernald is a marine scientist and is responsible for managing long term monitoring and research at the Hudson River NERR (See: program
Burdick Site 4 MapsBrian Yellen is a geologist that specializes in watershed processes and the movement of water and sediment (See: bio). For this project, Brian led the sediment core sampling behind dams and in tidal marshes. He found that sediment supply to marshes in the Hudson River is high enough to keep pace with sea level rise, and human-made structures accelerate marsh formation. Brian also led the development of the dam sediment estimation tool.
Tue 7/28/2020, 3 - 4pm EDT
Julie Binz, Elizabeth Edmondson, Joan Muller, and Sarah Nuss

Engaging youth and K-12 teachers can expand the broader impact of research and advance coastal stewardship goals. But what are the best strategies for effectively reaching this unique audience and what innovative techniques are being tested?

This panel discussion webinar featured three panelists with experience leading innovative projects that connect K-12 teachers and students with the important research and stewardship activities happening in and around National Estuarine Research Reserves. After providing a brief glimpse into their recent projects, panelists discussed lessons learned and ideas for next steps. Sarah Nuss, an experienced reserve educator, moderated a lively discussion about timely topics, including the partnerships and creative process that spark new projects, broader impacts observed, adaptations to support social distancing, and ideas for research about student and teacher learning.

Learn more about speakers:

Cressman Cumulative ChangeJulie Binz is the education coordinator at ACE Basin Reserve in South Carolina where she leads boat- and field-based experiences for a range of school and community groups. Julie has been working for many years on a unique program that helps classes grow marsh grasses in school greenhouses and transplant the grasses into local shoreline restoration sites. Learn about her recent projects: Spreading the Seeds of Estuary Health and From Seeds to Shoreline.
Burdick Site 4 MapsElizabeth Edmondson helps train pre-service teachers and leads a number of research projects as part of the School of Education at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Elizabeth will be part of a multi-university team working with the Chesapeake Bay NERR to train pre-service science teachers on how to incorporate environmental education into their classroom curriculum. To learn more, read Elizabeth’s bio.
Joan Muller is the education coordinator at Waquoit Bay Reserve in Massachusetts where she provides professional development for teachers and organizes programs for community members. Joan has partnered with a number of researchers and found creative ways to integrate blue carbon and oyster ecology into middle and high school curriculums. She’s also been customizing programs for hard to reach audiences through initiatives such as Deaf Students on the Estuary.


Sarah Nuss has been the education coordinator at the Chesapeake Bay Reserve in Virginia since 2005. In addition to pursuing a PhD in Curriculum Learning Design, Sarah develops education, interpretation and outreach programs for a range of audiences, and one current area of interest is professional development for graduate students and pre-service teachers. She has led several Science Collaborative projects, including: Climate Education for a Changing Bay Expansion and Creating an Alliance of Scientists and Educators in Virginia.

Wed 6/17/2020, 3 - 4pm EDT
Cory Riley, Dolores Leonard, and James Houle

Creating vegetated buffers along rivers and bays is a widely recognized strategy to protect water quality while providing other services that benefit ecosystems and communities. However, until recently there was no way to quantify the ability of restored or constructed buffers to reduce pollution, or for communities to receive credit for using buffers under regulatory permits in New England.

Through an expert panel process first modeled in Chesapeake Bay, the Credit for Going Green project team worked with experts to generate science-based recommendations to calculate the pollutant removal rate of buffers in development, redevelopment, restoration, or other land use change projects. Communities can use this information to receive pollutant removal credits for restored or constructed buffers under permits issued by stormwater permit programs. The project has provided municipal staff and boards with the information and tools to better promote buffers as a way to protect water quality, while also enhancing habitat and protecting communities from flooding. Decision makers in New Hampshire plan to apply the expert panel process to other stormwater BMPs in 2021.

In this webinar, members of the project team shared technical findings and lessons learned that could help others apply their methods to generate science-based recommendations for other policy questions. To learn more, download their facilitation guide and tool for calculating pollutant removal rates.

Learn more about speakers:

Cressman Cumulative ChangeCory Riley oversees the Great Bay Reserve’s education, research, stewardship, and coastal training programs. She works closely with partners to promote clean water and healthy coastal habitats in the region. As project lead for Credit for Going Green, Cory provided overall coordination and helped ensure the process remained focused on stakeholder needs and results were transferred to other reserves.
Burdick Site 4 MapsDolores Leonard is a communications and group process professional with 25 years of experience working with nonprofits and research programs to deliver communications strategies, products, and co-learning experiences. For this project, she designed and facilitated the expert panel process and developed a set of outreach products, including technical summaries and a guide to the panel process, which have been shared with a range of stakeholders.
James Houle is the Program Director for the Stormwater Center at University of New Hampshire. His responsibilities include directing and managing the Stormwater Center's growing body of research projects. Areas of expertise include diffusion of innovative stormwater management solutions, the design and implementation of innovative stormwater control measures including green infrastructure, and low impact development strategies, planning and implementation, operation and maintenance, and water resource monitoring.

Learn more about project: Credit for Going Green: Transfer of an Expert Panel Process Model