Graham Sustainability Institute

Collaborative Science to Benefit Estuaries Webinar Series

Join us for monthly webinars featuring project teams supported by the NERRS Science Collaborative. Speakers will 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.

Upcoming Webinars

Effects of Sea Level Rise on New England Salt Marshes
October 23, 2018, 3-4pm

The New England NERRs developed and delivered a workshop on sea level rise and salt marshes, strengthening NERRS connections while providing an important information sharing opportunity for the larger community. The workshop increased knowledge of the regional status and trends of salt marsh condition; increased awareness of partnership and collaboration opportunities; improved connections between research, management, and restoration sectors; created a more robust information sharing network; and increased awareness of NERRs as unique sites suitable for long-term research and management “test beds” for management strategies.

About the Speaker: 
Jennifer West has been the Coastal Training Program Coordinator with the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve since 2005. In this position, she develops and delivers training events and technical assistance programs for municipal officials and other decision-maker audiences on topics related to water quality, habitat protection, and climate change. Jennifer has expertise in program design, management, and evaluation; communicating science to diverse audiences; meeting facilitation; and planning and implementing collaborative methods for engaging stakeholders in successfully addressing environmental issues.

Learn more about: Effects of Sea Level Rise on New England Salt Marshes

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Drivers of Knowledge Use: Learning how NERRS has generated usable science and technology
November 14, 2018, 3-4pm

Making science usable for solving societal problems may require changes to the way research is practiced and funded. For example, there is growing belief that incorporating end-users into the research process will increase the use of resulting knowledge, among other benefits. And, increasingly, funders of research are considering rules that encourage or require some form of end-user participation in the research they sponsor. But how do these changes affect the research and its use for societal benefit? Drawing upon the history of funded research within NERRS as a natural experiment, this research examines how changes in NERRS funding shaped research practice and how closer interactions between scientists and end-users influenced the ultimate end-uses of research.

About the Speaker: 
James Arnott is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan and Associate Director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. James has worked closely with the NERR System during the completion of his doctoral thesis on topics related to science funding, the use of science, and climate change adaptation. In 2011, James was awarded the McCloy Fellowship in Environmental Policy and in 2009 James received a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Principia College.

Learn more about: Understanding the Drivers of Usability

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Past Webinars

Trend Analysis of SWMP Temperature with Missing Data
September 19, 2018, 3-4pm

The National Estuarine Research Reserves’ System-wide Monitoring Program  (SWMP) data can contribute to research and discussion on climate change. The treatment of temperature data is of particular concern when applied to the analysis of interannual trends. Seasonal cycles can impose fluctuations that greatly exceed diurnal, tidal, or event-scale fluctuations, and seasonally skewed distribution of missing data biases calculations of annual or seasonal means. 

This webinar provided insights on encoded algorithms for measuring temperature trends, including the conservative approach of replacing missing temperature data with smoothed day-of-the-year averages and seasonal decomposition as well as the benefits and disadvantages of alternative approaches. 

About the Speaker: 
Dr. Thomas Grothues has a Research Faculty appointment as a fish ecologist at Rutgers University and begins as Research Coordinator for Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve System in Fall 2019. He has been using SWMP data in peer-reviewed publications about fish habitat use, migration, and recruitment since 2007.

Learn more about: Developing New Ways to Analyze Reserve Monitoring Data

A Tool to Evaluate Coastal Habitat Vulnerability to Climate Change
July 17, 2018, 3-4pm

The National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System created the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH) to help land managers, decision makers, and researchers develop conservation, management, and restoration plans for coastal habitats in light of climate change. Reserves in New England and North and South Carolina shared the results from recent assessments they conducted. The presentation demonstrated how CCVATCH serves as an evaluation process to identify sources of vulnerability, provides a greater understanding of the potential impacts of climate change alone and in relation to existing non-climate stressors, and identifies data gaps and research needs. 

About the Speakers: 
Robin Weber has been engaged in the development of the CCVATCH from its inception and served first as an Applied Science Investigator and then as Project Lead in two funded projects designed to pilot test and implement CCVATCH at multiple locations. As a Stewardship Coordinator within the NERRS for 18 years, Ms. Weber applies science to the management and restoration of a variety of habitat types on Reserve properties and works with partners to enhance stewardship of managed lands more broadly within the State of Rhode Island.
 
Dr. Plunket initially proposed the idea of developing a climate vulnerability assessment tool designed for coastal habitats in 2011. Since then she has led a workgroup that developed the CCVATCH, served as the principal investigator on a Science Collaborative funded project to pilot test the tool, and trained staff in the CCVATCH process at NERRA/NERRS meetings. As Stewardship Coordinator at the North Inlet-Winyah Bay  NERR, Dr. Plunket works on a variety of projects directed toward the long-term conservation of the North Inlet and Winyah Bay estuaries.

Learn more about: Assessing How Climate Change Will Affect Coastal Habitats in the Northeast

Are small coastal businesses thinking about disaster preparedness?
June 21, 2018, 3-4pm

Coastal businesses, a powerful economic engine for Maine, are generally little prepared for storm surge and coastal flooding. Yet lessons learned from previous disasters underscore how important the recovery of businesses is to the overall recovery of a region’s economy.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve collaborated with the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Kennebunkport through a NERRS Science Collaborative grant, to help business owners assess their vulnerability to the impacts of a natural disaster using the Tourism Resilience Index. The Index was developed by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and adapted for New England. Best practices identified by businesses and lessons-learned from the project will be shared.

This webinar will be led by Annie Cox, the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine

Learn more about: Decreasing Vulnerability in Maine’s Beaches Business Community

Building Research Skills in K-12 Students: The Virginia Scientists and Educators Alliance
May 31, 2018, 3-4pm

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

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

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

Assessing Collaboration Potential in the Saco River Watershed: A Multidisciplinary Graduate Student-Reserve Project
April 11, 2018, 2-2:45pm

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

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

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

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

Buffer Options for the Bay: An in-depth look at the use of vegetated buffers in New Hampshire
March 27, 2018, 2-2:45pm

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

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

Learn more about the project: Buffers for the Bay website

See: Project Page

The Role of Environmental Monitoring and Data Management in Supporting Science to Inform Decision Making: Integrating Coastal and Ocean Monitoring Programs to Address Societal Needs
February 28, 2018, 2-2:45pm

Download: Presentation Slides+Summary Points

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

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

See: Project Page

Successful Adaptation Indicators and Metrics Project: From Pilots to System-wide Benefit
January 10, 2018, 2-2:45pm

Download: Presentation Slides+Summary Points

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

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

See: Project Page

Overcoming Uncertainty with Climate Scenario Planning
December 20, 2017 - Dani Boudreau & Syverine Bentz

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

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

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

See: Project Page

 

Impactful Science: An Assessment of Characteristics, Grantee Reflections, and Lessons Learned
November 30, 2017 - Dr. Julia Wondolleck

Download: Presentation Slides+Summary Points

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

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

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