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NERRS Science Collaborative Awards Over $2 Million for 17 New Projects

NERRS Science Collaborative Awards Over $2 Million for 17 New Projects


Seventeen projects involving 27 reserves across the nation and totaling more than $2 million have been recommended for support by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative. With this new set of projects and existing multi-year projects, over $3.5 million in program funds are supporting collaborative science projects this coming year.

This year’s new projects include catalyst and science transfer activities that align with one of three objectives: 1) facilitating the development of new collaborative science ideas; 2) amplifying or enhancing existing collaborative research efforts; or 3) promoting the use of science through transfer activities.

The projects will tackle a variety of active and emerging coastal issues, many directly related to human dimensions, ecosystem services, and monitoring. Topics include bridging human dimensions research and practice; synthesizing System Wide Monitoring Program data; assessing and customizing monitoring approaches; integrating Indigenous knowledge into estuarine restoration and management; transferring habitat mapping tools and methods; understanding storm damage and recovery trends of mangrove ecosystems; and enhancing invasive species monitoring.

“We are thrilled to see so many excellent projects that embrace the responsive and inclusive nature of collaborative science,” said Dr. Jennifer Read, Director of the University of Michigan Water Center and the NERRS Science Collaborative. “The variety of project types and abundance of participating reserves reflect the diversity and complexity within the NERRS.” 

All Science Collaborative projects integrate decision-makers and other intended users to ensure that products address current coastal management and science transfer needs. Doing this work requires authentic collaboration grounded in reciprocal, equitable, and inclusive relationships; this includes integration and elevation of different systems of knowledge so that all participants benefit and feel empowered to share their experiences. 

Over the course of the project period, teams are provided  Science Collaborative program support and resources, including experts in collaborative science design and implementation, and data management. 

This year also brings updated tips, case studies, and tools in the Guide to Collaborative Science, all based on observations and lessons learned from projects supported through the NERRS Science Collaborative. This is the fifth year of a $20 million, five-year cooperative agreement with the University of Michigan, which administers the program.

Note: These projects have been recommended to NOAA for funding; grant awards are contingent upon the findings of NOAA environmental, cultural, and historic resources compliance reviews.

2023 Science Collaborative Funded Projects

Project Lead and AffiliationProject TitleParticipating Reserve(s)
OBJECTIVE 1 - Facilitate the development of new collaborative science ideas
Robinson Fulweiler,                
Boston University
Testing low-cost, ultra-portable CO2 and CH4 sensors for better monitoring of salt marsh ecosystem services, resilience, and restorationNarragansett Bay (RI);              
Connecticut (CT); Waquoit Bay (MA); Great Bay (NH); Wells (ME)
Nicole Grinnan,               
Florida Public Archaeology              
Network, University of West Florida
People of the Apalachicola Region: Exploring cultural heritage as a vector for ecosystem planning, management, and adaptation Apalachicola (FL)
Matthew Kimball, University of South CarolinaEvaluating oyster reefs as habitat: Comparing the utility of ecological metrics to assess ecosystem functionNorth Inlet-Winyah Bay (SC);              
North Carolina (NC); Sapelo Island (GA); Guana Tolomato Matanzas (FL)
Christine Feurt,               
Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Collaborative science to support marsh conservation and management decisions in Maine Wells (ME)
OBJECTIVE 2 - Amplify or enhance existing collaborative research efforts
Monica Iglecia,               
Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture
Integrating Indigenous knowledge and NERR science and monitoring to improve estuarine restoration and management, with shared benefits for birds and local communitiesHeʻeia (HI); Kachemak Bay (AK); Padilla Bay (WA); South Slough (OR)
Kaitlin Reinl,               
Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
Synthesizing long-term SWMP datasets to quantify estuarine ecosystem dynamics and identify trends along an ecological gradientLake Superior (WI); Rookery Bay (FL); South Slough (OR); North Inlet-Winyah Bay (SC); Guana Tolomato Matanzas (FL); Chesapeake Bay (MD); Padilla Bay (WA); Great Bay (NH)
Marae West,               
Cape Fear Bird Observatory
Synthesizing Motus data across the NERRS for research, education and conservationNorth Carolina (NC); ACE Basin (SC); Chesapeake Bay (MD); Elkhorn Slough (CA); Grand Bay (MS); Hudson River (NY); Jacques Cousteau (NJ); Jobos Bay (PR); Kachemak Bay (AK); Mission-Aransas (TX); Narragansett Bay (RI); North Inlet-Winyah Bay (SC); Old Woman Creek (OH); Padilla Bay (WA); Rookery Bay (FL); Sapelo Island (GA); Weeks Bay (AL); Wells (ME)
Denise Sanger,               
ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve 
Adapting salt marsh vulnerability assessment methodologies to southeastern salt marshes ACE Basin (SC); North Inlet-Winyah Bay (SC)
Danielle Ogurcak,               
Florida International University
Uncertain recovery in mangrove ecosystems following repeated hurricane impactsJobos Bay (PR); Rookery Bay (FL)
OBJECTIVE 3 - Promote the use of science through transfer activities
Ingrid Harrald,               
Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve 
Invasive species monitoring in AlaskaKachemak Bay (AK); Padilla Bay (WA)
Jay Black,               
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve 
Drone the NERRS: Assessing the efficacy of a drone-based coastal wetland monitoring protocol across five biogeographic regions Rookery Bay (FL); Chesapeake Bay (VA); Great Bay (NH); Wells (ME); South Slough (OR); Apalachicola (FL)
Lauren Sutton,               
Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Explorations, demonstrations and novel applications for environmental DNA in Kachemak BayKachemak Bay (AK); Heʻeia (HI)
Lindsey Williams,               
New Hampshire Sea              
Grant, University of New              
Bridging human dimensions research and practice to address water quality concerns in the Great Bay watershedGreat Bay (NH) 
Torrance Hanley,               
Sacred Heart University
Communication and assessment of seagrass seed-based restoration techniquesConnecticut (CT); Padilla Bay (WA); South Slough (OR)
Howard Veregin,               
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Transferring Lake Superior NERR habitat mapping tools and methods to the Wisconsin-Minnesota St. Louis River EstuaryLake Superior (WI)
Rachel Guy,               
Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve 
What’s my bait? Identifying and communicating the importance of non-game fish species in Georgia’s estuariesSapelo Island (GA)
Joel Trexler,               
Coastal and Marine Laboratory, Florida State University
Apalachicola Bay community advisory board support successor groupApalachicola (FL)
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