Collaborative Science for Estuaries Webinar Series

Chesapeake Bay Virginia - Photo credit: David Walters

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. Be sure to check back periodically and download the webinar briefs to view summary notes and presentation slides from past webinars.

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Upcoming Webinars

11/04/2019 - 3:00pm - Speaker(s): Jenni Schmitt and Jill Rolfe

Modern management of Oregon’s estuaries and surrounding shorelands is based on the economic and social drivers of the 1970s era within which local land use plans were developed. So how do we modernize land use planning in a way that balances responsible economic development, social interests, and the protection of natural resources? A diverse group of local stakeholders is collaborating to answer this question for one Oregon estuary through: 1) compiling existing data to show current conditions and uses within the estuary; 2) gathering stakeholder input and land use and planning recommendations from a diversity of interest groups; and 3) developing management options and detailed roadmaps for officials to use to update their land use plans. This webinar will highlight the collaborative stakeholder engagement process that is driving this work, and provide a snapshot of the products and recommendations developed through this process.

About the speakers:

Jenni Schmitt, Wetlands Monitoring Coordinator, South Slough NERR
Jenni leads the planning and implementation of wetlands-related projects at the South Slough NERR. 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 this group collaborate to understand local watershed conditions and address their capacity and resiliency to serve ecological, economic, and social needs for present and future generations.

Jill Rolfe, Director, Coos County Planning Department
Jill has worked for the Coos County Planning Department for 18 years and has been the director since 2012. Ms. Rolfe regularly coordinates research and updates to the County Comprehensive plan with local, state and federal agencies. Ms. Rolfe 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. Ms. Rolfe is also coordinating updates to several Estuary Management Plans.

Learn more about project

Past Webinars

10/16/2019 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Speaker(s): Jen West, Alison Watts, Nikki Dix, and Julia Wondolleck

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. 

Join us for 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 will help participants understand the key factors to consider in designing collaborative research projects. The panel discussion will explore 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:

Auermuller

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.

Bentz

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.

Orton

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.

Moderator:

Moser

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.

09/09/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Lisa Auermuller, Syverine Bentz, Philip Orton, Stuart Siegel, and Susi Moser

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:

Auermuller

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.

Bentz

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.

Orton

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.

Siegel

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.

Moderator:

Moser

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.

 

 

Hurricane Irma made landfall in southwest Florida within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in September of 2017 as a Category 3 storm with winds in excess of 115 mph. For some areas within the reserve, the impact of the storm compounded the stress caused by decades of human development and changes to water flow patterns. Managers of the reserve want to better understand the synergistic effects of chronic stress from human modification or other drivers (e.g., sea level rise) and acute impacts from Hurricane Irma. One approach is to measure habitat structure and change in the time preceding and following the major storm event.

This webinar described the use of advanced satellite imagery to map the damage, death, and recovery of mangroves with a time series of images from 2010 to 2018. Dr. Matt McCarthy shared the methods used to map the landscape and evaluate change. Dr. Brita Jessen provided background for the study and discussed the management implications for the reserve and other coastal areas. Matt and Brita have been collaborating on a one year-year catalyst project that has relevance to coastal land managers interested in mapping habitat change.

About the Speakers: 

MMcCarthy

Dr. Matthew McCarthy is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science. He specializes in remote sensing and large-scale coastal mapping with supercomputing technologies and advanced image processing techniques. He has applied remote sensing methods to study a variety of issues, including mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, coastal geomorphology, sea-level rise, aquaculture and public health.

BJessen

Dr. Brita Jessen is the research manager at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. She specializes in ecosystem ecology of coastal wetlands. As the research team lead, Dr. Jessen supports long-term monitoring programs related to water quality, sea level rise, habitat change, and wildlife, and works across departments to facilitate the translation of current research into management and policy.

Learn more about: Using Advanced Mapping to Measure Changes in Mangrove and Seagrass Habitat over Time

06/26/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Lydia Olander and Sara Mason

Estuarine systems are areas of immense ecological importance and provide numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits, collectively known as ecosystem services. There has been an increasing desire to better incorporate ecosystem services into National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) management and stewardship, both from the network as a whole and at a local level. This webinar focused on a Science Collaborative-supported catalyst project that found streamlined ways to incorporate ecosystem services into NERRS decision making with applications to coastal management more broadly. Dr. Lydia Olander and Sara Mason at Duke University shared their approach to using Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models as a framework to think about ecosystem services and how they can be considered within the NERRS. In this webinar, they focused on work with the North Carolina and Rookery Bay NERRs to develop models of oyster reef and mangrove ecosystem services, efforts to apply these models to specific restoration sites at these reserves, and use of the models as a way to think about standardized monitoring of ecosystem services outcomes across the NERRS network.

Since 2016, Lydia and Sara have been working with the NERRS to think about how to incorporate ecosystem services more intentionally and systematically into coastal decision-making and management, resulting in publications (link 1, link 2) on the use of the ecosystem service conceptual model framework in the NERR context that laid the groundwork for the project.

About the Speakers: 

lolander

Dr. Lydia Olander directs the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. She leads the National Ecosystem Services Partnership, supporting efforts to integrate ecosystem services into decision making, and studies environmental markets and mitigation, including forestry and agricultural based climate mitigation; wetland, stream and endangered species mitigation; and water quality trading.

smason

 

Sara Mason joined the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions as a policy associate after graduating from Duke with a master’s degree in environmental management. Her work focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of biodiversity conservation and how that can be leveraged to engage the public and policy makers in conservation efforts. Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, Sara worked in ecological field research and endangered animal rehabilitation.

Learn more about: Exploring Applications of Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models for Coastal Habitats

05/23/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Ellie Flaherty, Kate Kirkpatrick, Trey Snow, Syverine Bentz, and Julia Wondolleck

The Kachemak Bay watershed, located on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, encompasses several terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that provide a range of benefits and services that are not easily quantified. This webinar highlighted methods and findings from a Master’s project - advised by Dr. Julia Wondolleck and for which the client was Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (KBNERR) - that provides insights about ecosystem services valued in Kachemak Bay using a socio-cultural, place-based, ecosystem services framework. In addition to hearing from the students, their partners at KBNERR shared how they hope to apply their findings, and offered ideas for others interested in working with a student team in the future.

Master's projects are interdisciplinary capstone experiences that enable University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) master's students to develop solutions to pressing problems faced by real-world clients.

About the Speakers: 

Ellie Flaherty has experience in policy and program analysis as well as environmental compliance support, and currently works as a Research Associate for the NERRS Science Collaborative. Her professional and academic background was valuable in understanding the Kachemak Bay area’s political landscape and identifying key stakeholders, user groups, and decision-makers.

Kathryn Kirkpatrick holds a particular interest in wetland restoration, fostered by various work experiences in ecological consulting, wetland banking, and independent research. This background was valuable in understanding and communicating the diverse biophysical ecosystem services present in the Kachemak Bay watershed.

Trey Snow has a background in economics and research, which provided valuable insights throughout the project’s development and in navigating existing studies and literature on ecosystem services. Following his bachelor’s in economics from Bucknell University in 2016, Trey spent time across the US from the Montana backcountry with the US Forest Service to an organic farm in New England. 

Syverine Bentz is interested in landscape change, coastal processes, and ecosystem services. She grew up on Kachemak Bay and started as a science collaborative and discovery lab volunteer at KBNERR. She currently works in the Coastal Training Program providing workshops, trainings and technical assistance.

Dr. Julia Wondolleck is an associate professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and a core team member with the Science Collaborative. She is a collaboration scholar and practitioner, and advised the project team.

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

04/11/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Christine Angelini, Stuart Findlay, Jennifer Raulin, Denise Sanger, and Eric Sparks

Living shoreline techniques can be effective tools for bolstering coastal habitats, controlling erosion, and protecting coastal areas from the impacts of storms, sea level rise and boat wakes. Under the right conditions, they can provide a variety of services while being cost-competitive with traditional approaches, such as bulkheads. Despite their potential, living shoreline designs are not applied as broadly or effectively as might be expected.

Members of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and partners, in part supported by Science Collaborative resources, have been studying how different living shoreline designs perform in a variety of coastal locations from Mississippi to New York, and have been developing tools to enhance the use of these techniques.

This webinar: a) facilitated a candid panel discussion of the lessons learned, management implications and next steps related to a series of applied research projects; and b) gave audience members the opportunity to engage and ask questions about opportunities and challenges associated with living shorelines.

About the Speakers: 

Christine Angelini, Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida
Christine’s research and teaching focuses on community ecology and restoration engineering in a variety of coastal habitats. In partnership with GTM Reserve in Florida, she has been testing a hybrid design for protecting oyster and salt marsh habitats from boat wakes in the busy intercoastal waterway. Learn more about project

Stuart Findlay, Aquatic Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Stuart has been conducting research on the Hudson River ecosystem for over eighteen years with an emphasis on carbon and nutrient cycling in freshwater and tidal habitats and watershed restoration issues. Stuart has led several Science Collaborative grants related to sustainable shoreline designs and monitoring approaches in the Hudson River Valley. Learn more about project

Jennifer Raulin, Manager, Chesapeake Bay-Maryland National Estuarine Research Reserve
Jenn oversees the Chesapeake Bay Reserve’s research, training, stewardship, and education sectors. Her responsibilities include serving as the primary liaison with NOAA to manage grants and advancing coastal management practices with partners in and around the reserve’s three protected areas. Jenn brings a management perspective to the panel discussion, helping explore the applications of shoreline research projects for other reserves and regions.

Denise Sanger, Research Coordinator, ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve
Denise is a marine ecologist with expertise in benthic ecology, sediment chemistry, water quality, ecological risk assessment, and the application of science to management. She oversees long term monitoring and a range of applied research efforts at ACE Basin Reserve and has studied the performance of living shorelines all along the coast of South Carolina. Learn more about project

Eric Sparks, Assistant Extension Professor, Mississippi State University
Eric is the assistant director for outreach for Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and he focuses on estuarine and wetland issues, including coastal restoration and restoration research. He’s worked on two Science Collaborative projects assessing living shoreline use along the Gulf Coast. Learn more about project

Moderator:

Jennifer Read, NERRS Science Collaborative program manager, and Director, University of Michigan Water Center
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. She also serves as the Director of the University of Michigan Water Center, and drove implementation of the Integrated Assessment program while working for Michigan Sea Grant.

03/12/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Maggie Pletta

Download: Webinar Brief

Technology has become an integral part of environmental education, however purchasing or producing technology can be very cost prohibitive. As part of a NERRS Science Collaborative Science Transfer grant, the Delaware, Guana Tolomato Matanzas, and Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserves (the clients) partnered with the University of Delaware Introduction to Software Engineering course (the consultants). As part of their coursework, students produced educational computer games that promote interactive, free-choice learning opportunities. Maggie Pletta, Education Coordinator from Delaware NERR, provided insights about the process that led to the selection of student-developed educational games installed in the three centers, including the benefits and challenges of working with students.

About the Speaker: 

Maggie Pletta is the current Education Coordinator at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) where she is tasked with managing and leading K-12 fieldtrips and outreach, public programs, family events, and teacher professional development workshops.  Prior to her position at DNERR she held positions at the National Park Service, NASA, Educational Non-Profits, and DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program. Her professional areas of interest include teaching people about estuaries and climate change, as well as  reconnecting children with nature, and making science fun for all ages.

Learn more about: Undergraduates Develop Job Skills by Creating Interactive Software for Reserve Visitors

02/14/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Alison Watts and Bree Yednock

Download: Webinar Brief

Environmental DNA (eDNA), or DNA present in an environmental sample, is emerging as a powerful tool to detect species present in an ecosystem without having to actually capture and identify individual organisms. Fish, invertebrates, and other animals shed DNA, through fragments of tissue and reproductive and waste products, into the environment in which they live. Alison and Bree presented initial results from a pilot eDNA monitoring program being developed and tested at several National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) sites in New England and Oregon. Sampling was conducted in coordination with traditional monitoring programs to validate species identification and detection limits.

This webinar was an opportunity for the research team to engage reserves considering eDNA monitoring, and compare notes with other researchers and natural resource managers using eDNA approaches.

About the Speaker: 

Dr. Alison Watts conducts research on water resources at the University of New Hampshire. Bree Yednock, Jason Goldstein, Chris Peter and others from South Slough, Wells and Great Bay NERRs guide the application of this project within each of their Reserves.

Dr. Bree Yednock has expertise in population genetics of estuarine organisms, molecular techniques, and bioinformatics. Her previous projects include a characterization of fish and invertebrate assemblages of the Coos estuary and an assessment of the local distribution and population structure of invasive European green crabs.

Learn more about: Developing DNA methods to monitor invasive species

Download: Webinar Brief

Since 1998, NERRS has provided competitive funding to generate usable knowledge for coastal and estuarine management. The program’s evolution—and the insights from those participating in it—can teach us much about what usable knowledge looks like on the ground and the ways to make it through collaboration. In this webinar, James Arnott recapped his research based on examining 120 past NERRS funded projects and interviewing 40 of their participants. The practical lessons derived from this work suggest that teams of researchers and users working together in collaboration might consider a series of seemingly simple—but often difficult to answer questions—in the process of their work. Questions like: Who are the users? What is use? How do you report on use? What strategies lead to use? What are the benefits of usable knowledge? The history of NERRS research accomplishments demonstrates how many and varied answers to these questions emerge and the importance of taking into account careful consideration of that diversity in planning future projects and programs. 

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

10/23/2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Jennifer West

Download: Webinar Brief

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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