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

04/21/2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Kerstin Wasson and April Ridlon

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 introduces the unique ecology of the Olympia oyster, the challenges it faces, and approaches taken to restoration. NOOC’s accomplishments to date will be highlighted, including the development of the web portal and story map.  Finally, presenters will share 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

Cressman Cumulative Change

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.

Burdick Site 4 Maps

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 projectBuilding a Coastwide Olympia Oyster Network to Improve Restoration Outcomes

Past Webinars

04/11/2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Sophia Paul, Katie Pritchard, Julia Wondolleck, and Chris Feurt

Download: Webinar Brief

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

Download: Webinar Brief

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 team's findings and experience.

Learn more about the project: Buffers for the Bay website

See: Project Page

Download: Webinar Brief

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.

Dr. 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

Download: Webinar Brief

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.

Dr. 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

12/20/2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Dani Boudreau and Syverine Bentz

Download: Webinar presentation slides

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

11/30/2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Speaker(s): Julia Wondolleck

Download: Webinar Brief

Collaboration scholar, Dr. 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

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