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.
- Download: Slide Deck
- Download: Webinar Summary Report
- Watch: Full Session Recording (YouTube)
- Read: Collaborative Research in a Virtual World: Implications of COVID-19 for the Co-Production of Environmental Knowledge and Solutions (SSRN Article)
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. As a result, it’s challenging to imagine how to adapt our collaborative science practices to our new, socially-distanced reality.
This panel discussion explored some of the implications of planning and conducting collaborative science virtually. Our three panelists have expertise in collaborative processes, stakeholder engagement, and virtual meeting design and, like all of us, are learning more about the challenges and opportunities of virtual engagement.
The discussion built on needs and strategies identified by participants and kicked off what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue about virtual engagement for collaborative science. While no one has all the answers, we are eager to learn together.
Learn more about speakers:
|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.|
|Shannan Lewinski is an instructional designer and learning specialist with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. In this role she helps design training and offers guidance and production support for a range of virtual meetings and workshops.|
|Julia Wondolleck has spent the past 30 years researching and writing about collaborative processes in the management of natural resources. She is a professor at the University of Michigan where she teaches courses in collaborative resource management, alternative dispute resolution, and integrative negotiation and mediation.|
|James 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.|
Conservation and restoration of coastal foundation species has become a global priority, to protect and enhance the habitats and services they provide. The oyster native to the west coast of North America between Baja California and British Columbia is Ostrea lurida, the Olympia oyster, a species quite unfamiliar to many people, even those that live in the region. Unlike oysters in other regions, this one is quite small, and does not form high profile reefs. Nevertheless, it is a vital part of bays and estuaries along the Pacific coast, providing food for humans and other species and enriching diversity. Recently, a community of practice has formed to rebuild populations of Olympia oysters to maintain their legacy for future generations.
The Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative (NOOC) was supported in the past year by funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative. NOOC created a website (https://olympiaoysternet.ucdavis.edu) to serve as a portal for resources about native oyster science, restoration, and education. NOOC also compiled the first comprehensive archive of Olympia oyster restoration projects, creating an ARC GIS Story Map (https://projects.trnerr.org/oystermap/) to highlight them, and conducting a synthesis of approaches and lessons learned.
This webinar introduced the unique ecology of the Olympia oyster, the challenges it faces, and approaches taken to restoration. The webinar also highlighted NOOC’s accomplishments to date, including the development of the web portal and story map. Finally, presenters shared lessons learned from the synthesis of twenty years of restoration projects conducted along over 2000 km of coast line. These lessons apply to restoration of any coastal foundation species anywhere: the importance of a structured decision-framework to match goals to approaches, the opportunities for community engagement, the need to consider ecosystem processes, and the value of a regional network for strategic planning.
Learn more about speakers
|Kerstin Wasson has served as Research Coordinator of the Elkhorn Slough NERR for the past 20 years, publishing about 40 papers on a variety of topics in estuarine science during this period, from sea otters to water quality. Her passion is restoration science of native oysters and salt marshes. While she is dedicated to place-based research, she also has led various collaborative endeavors across a network of oyster and marsh restoration sites, scaling up to seek generality in estuarine ecology.|
|April Ridlon is an applied marine ecologist interested in the effects of human impacts including fishing and harvesting, recreational activities, and biological invasions. She is currently the Collaborative Lead for the Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative (NOOC), and a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). In these roles, she engages in and coordinates research on the native Olympia oyster, and is assessing aquaculture as a conservation intervention for this oyster, and for marine foundation species broadly. She has also been known to study the behavior of coral reef fish, Northern Elephant Seals, and neotropical bat species.|
Learn more about project: Building a Coastwide Olympia Oyster Network to Improve Restoration Outcomes
Coastal wetlands capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently store carbon in wetland soils. This “blue carbon” service can 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.
Since 2010, 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. Projects have helped 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 shared lessons learned from their work leading blue carbon projects, and offered ideas for advancing the use of blue carbon for coastal wetland management.
Learn more about speakers:
|Craig Cornu, Project Manager, Estuary Technical Group, Institute for Applied Ecology, OR |
As stewardship coordinator with the South Slough NERR for many years, Craig led the Reserve’s estuarine wetland restoration project design, management and effectiveness monitoring projects. In 2014 Craig helped regional scientists found the Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Working Group and currently manages projects to help fill key blue carbon data gaps and assess the feasibility of blue carbon projects for the region working with the Institute for Applied Ecology. Learn more about the PNW Blue Carbon Working Group and their projects assessing PNW blue carbon stocks and carbon finance feasibility.
|Coowe Walker, Reserve Manager, Kachemak Bay NERR, AK |
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 the past two 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 a project she led that assessed Kachemak Bay’s blue carbon resources.
|Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Manager & Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Waquoit Bay NERR, MA |
Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers has over 15 years of experience connecting science with management and engaging stakeholders in research and planning processes. Tonna-Marie co-led two iterations of the Bringing Wetlands to Market project which provided cutting edge science and tools to help coastal managers and policy makers leverage blue carbon to achieve broader wetlands management, restoration, and conservation goals. Learn more about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Bringing Wetlands to Market project.
|Stefanie Simpson, Coastal Wetland Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy |
Stefanie Simpson is the Coastal Wetland Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Teams. She supports TNC’s regional programs to develop climate finance market mechanisms and support coastal wetland restoration and conservation project development. Stefanie works to develop blue carbon market tools and projects, and advocates for the inclusion of coastal wetlands into climate policies and greenhouse gas inventories. Learn more about a project she led that established a blue carbon network for the Gulf Coast.
Just how much phosphorus can a wetland absorb and retain over the long run? That’s the question that researchers spent 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 shared some of their key findings and the management implications, and explained how other practitioners could use their monitoring guide and statistical codes to calculate the nutrient retention capacity of their wetlands. In addition to taking audience questions, the team offered some ideas about how their work informed an ambitious water quality initiative in Ohio. To learn more, visit the team’s project page.
Learn more about speakers
|Kristi Arend, PhD is the Research Coordinator at Old Woman Creek Reserve, where she has overseen the implementation and onsite expansion of the System-wide 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. As lead for this Science Collaborative project, Kristi coordinated the research team, helped analyze a long term record of TP flowing into and out of her reserve’s wetlands, and led the development of monitoring protocols.|
|Emily Kuzmick is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Old Woman Creek 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. As Collaborative Lead for this project, Emily facilitated Project Team meetings and a Collaborative Learning Group composed of wetland management professionals to provide feedback on the project methods, results, and communication products.|
|Song Qian, PhD is an Associate Professor in University of Toledo’s Department of Environmental Sciences. He is an expert in environmental and ecological statistics, particularly the applications of Bayesian statistics which he has applied to a range of issues including phosphorus retention in the Everglades wetlands. As part of this project, Song 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
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:
|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
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
|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.|
|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.|
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
|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.|
|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
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:
|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.|
|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.|
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Download: Management Brief and Infographic
- Download: Webinar Summary Report
- Watch: Full Session Recording (YouTube)
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:
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.