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2012 Chester River Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

Chester River Association

This report card summarizes 2012 water quality in the Chester River, based on data collected by the Chester River Association and various partners. They collect data for five indicators: water clarity, dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a. It examines the health of the river in both tidal and non-tidal regions, and provides information on what concerned stakeholders can do to help improve water quality.

Climate Change Impact Areas: Planning for a changing climate (Newsletter) Permanent Link

Griswold M, Wicks EC and Johnson Z

Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Integration and Application Network

Changes in Maryland's climate system will likely have far-reaching impacts, most notably those associated with rising sea level, increasing temperatures, and changes in precipitation patterns. Acknowledging the increasing likelihood and magnitude of these impacts and their associated risks is necessary to protect both natural and man-made environments for years to come. In order to protect local citizens from public health and safety risks and to protect public and private investments, communities should begin to plan for the impacts of climate change that our state is experiencing now and will continue to experience in the future. Communities are encouraged to designate Climate Change Impact Areas at the local level and to develop strategies to avoid or reduce impacts. Strategies can be incorporated into existing elements (i.e., land-use, transportation, water resources) of a local comprehensive plan or a community could develop a stand-alone climate change adaptation element. Policies can also be developed that address one or more specific climate-related impacts.

Land Management: Farming in a changing climate (Newsletter) Permanent Link

Griswold M, Johnson Z and Wicks EC

Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Integration and Application Network

Agriculture is the largest commercial industry in Maryland, employing about 350,000 people, on almost 13,000 farms covering two million acres. With increasing impacts of climate change, water management will become a larger concern, rising temperatures, carbon dioxide, and ozone will increase stress on nearly all crop and livestock species, and pests and diseases, such as soybean rust will likely plague farmers in the future. The agricultural community should consider the implementation of various management practices to reduce risk and build resilience. This newsletter provides guidance for management practices for farming that help with adapting to climate change.

Chesapeake Bay: Storm Impacts, Conowingo Dam and Choptank River (Presentation) Permanent Link

Presented at the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance 17 April 2013 Cambridge, MD

The Conowingo Dam reservoir has been losing capacity for sediment trapping since it was constructed in 1928; sediments and phosphorus now largely bypass the dam during high flow events. Scouring will occur more frequently during high flow events. Nitrogen reductions in Chesapeake tributaries have led to SAV resurgences. Susquehanna flats SAV are resilient to storm flows. Conditions of Chesapeake Bay tributaries, like the Choptank River, are affected by their subwatersheds.

Assessing Progress (Report) Permanent Link

Three Years Later

Following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, seven Oil Spill Commission Action (OSCA) commissioners released their first report in April 2012—Assessing Progress: Implementing the Recommendations of the National Oil Spill Commission. It provided recommendations for making offshore energy production safer, improving oil spill response, and addressing the impacts on people, economy and the environment. The Commissioners issued their second progress report recently, on April 17, 2013, three days before the third-year anniversary of the disaster. This report, Assessing Progress: Three Years Later, summarizes the Commissioners assessment of what progress has been achieved, and what still needs to be done.

Stakeholder Engagement (Report) Permanent Link

Participatory Approaches for the Planning and Development of Marine Protected Areas

Walton A, Gomei M and Di Carlo G

The participatory engagement of stakeholders is perhaps the most important component of the planning and development of an MPA. Meaningful engagement depends on the ability of practitioners to build a healthy, lasting, and trustful relationship with stakeholders, including local communities. The approaches described in this guidebook are intended to help practitioners navigate this process of stakeholder engagement.

2013 West & Rhode Rivers Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

West/Rhode Riverkeeper, INC

This is the fifth annual West & Rhode Rivers report card. It presents data and information on six different ecological health indicators. It also gives examples of what the public can do to improve health of the rivers.

2012 Report Card - Eastern Bay, Choptank, Miles, and Wye Rivers (Report card) Permanent Link

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy

This report card is an assessment of the aquatic health of the Eastern Bay, Choptank, Miles, and Wye Rivers, and is based on data collected by the Midshore Riverkeeper scientists and Midshore Creekwatchers. It is the third annual report card which discusses the status of river health in the midshore during 2012 based on five different indicators.

2012 Old Woman Creek Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

Old Woman Creek, on the south-central shore of Lake Erie, is one of Ohio’s few remaining examples of a natural estuary and is designated as a National Estuarine Research Reserve and a Ohio State Nature Preserve. It is the only Great Lakes freshwater estuary in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and is managed cooperatively by NOAA and the ODNR. Existing ecological data collected by government and local community groups from Old Woman Creek and its watershed provide an excellent platform to develop an annual report card that acts to synthesize, interpret and disseminate this information. Using water quality indicators, the health of the Creek was determined for 2012. This report card provides the overall results, and describes how the public can help as well.

2012 Pipe Creek Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

Pipe Creek is a small tributary to Sandusky Bay on the south-central shore of Lake Erie. The Pipe Creek watershed is largely developed by a combination of urban and agricultural land uses. Pipe Creek is best known for its 97 acre State Wildlife Area located at the mouth of Pipe Creek, which was constructed in the early 1990s as a mitigation site for wetlands destroyed by development elsewhere. Existing ecological data collected by government and local community groups from Pipe Creek and its watershed, provide an excellent platform to develop an annual report card that acts to synthesize, interpret and disseminate this information. Using water quality indicators, the health of the Creek was determined for 2012. This report card provides the overall results, and describes how the public can help as well.

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"Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action." Paul J. Meyer


A goal of IAN Press is to empower scientists to directly communicate their ideas and concepts. Publications from IAN Press are designed to transform the uninterested to interested; the interested to involved and the involved to engaged.

IAN Press products are designed to be examples of good science communication principles, and the hope is that others will employ these principles so that scientific understanding can be disseminated widely as possible. The production of IAN Press communication publications involves experimentation with communication techniques and, as such, provides various ideas for science communication that can be emulated.

The comparisons and contrasts that IAN Press provides on environmental subjects intend to stimulate scientists, managers, practitioners, policy makers, students and other readers to think more broadly and expansively about the region and issues that they face. The extensive use of visual elements accesses a broader cultural diversity as well, which allow for more global perspectives.

The conclusions and recommendations presented in IAN Press publications are crafted to empower actions, plant seeds of ideas and provide justification for people to take appropriate action to find solutions to environmental problems. The conclusions are made as explicit as possible by employing active titles and featuring them prominently (e.g., front section of books or back cover of newsletters).

On costs

IAN Press does not provide author royalties and the design and layout of the publications conducted by a talented team of Science Communicators is underwritten by various grants and contracts. Marketing is limited to the internet and word-of-mouth, also reducing costs. Thus, the price of IAN Press publications is solely to reimburse the actual printing costs entailed. The intent is to provide the broadest possible readership, thus keeping costs as low as possible is paramount. Typically, full color is used, virtually on every page, which does increase print costs, however, the use of color is a key element in providing accessible information to a wide audience and the lack of author royalties or design/layout charges.

Peer review

IAN Press undertakes a rigorous review process by both peer scientists and resource managers. In addition, Integration and Application Network Science Integrators and Science Communicators read, edit and review all aspects of IAN Press publications, including text, conceptual diagrams, photographs, maps, figures and tables. Many IAN Press publications are multi-authored, and each author contributes to the review and editing of the entire publication. This is not the classical peer review system of a limited number of anonymous reviewers working with an editor to recommend changes, rather a larger number of non-anonymous reviewers that develop consensus on each word, visual element and recommendation. The review process is often accelerated by IAN Press to accommodate timely publication.


IAN Press attempts to be as authorship inclusive as possible and to provide attribution to each visual element. Authorship is not ranked or ordered, and the credibility of the IAN Press product should be based on the scientific data presented and the collective effort of a multiple of contributors, both with and without formal academic training.

Science Communicators are the key element in the production of IAN Press documents. They design the layout of the document, obtain and edit the visual elements, designate the amount and style of text, and orchestrate the review and editing process. IAN Press documents are produced using a 'storyboard' approach, in which the central message(s) are identified and various visual elements selected to support the central message(s). This is in contrast to the more traditional method of writing text and adding in visuals subsequently. In video and film production, storyboards are used and the producer is key to assembling the visual elements. Science Communicators serve in an equivalent role in terms of assembling all the pieces that go into the publication.


IAN Press relies extensively on color for photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, figures and even text and tables to a limited degree. The use of color allows for an increased data density and provides a bigger visual impact considering the amount of the human brain devoted to visual discrimination of colors. Color allows for greater discrimination of visual elements and in data presentation, a closer juxtaposition of different elements and greater comparative utility. The preponderance of color printers and the ability of electronic versions to be displayed in color promote the inexpensive dissemination of full color documents. In order to help color-blind people compensate, an effort is made to provide other visual clues in graphics, such as symbols with different shapes or map delineations with different shading or texture, but some of the visual impact will be compromised.


IAN Press does not target a narrow, specific audience, rather attempts to be as inclusive as possible. As the world becomes more specialized, with marketing forces that promote highly targeted advertising campaigns, IAN Press products attempt to reach the broadest audience possible. IAN Press attempts to raise the bar rather than dumb down the message by using non-technical language, defining all terms and reducing acronym use. By providing synthesis, visualizations and context, we feel that relatively sophisticated concepts can be grasped by a non-technical audience. In fact, science has become highly specialized and often the language, tools and approaches used in various scientific disciplines are relatively incomprehensible to specialists in other disciplines. Thus, one audience of IAN Press is scientists from other specialties to encourage inter-disciplinary thinking and approaches.

Why use print media?

With the growing popularity of electronic media, the carbon footprint involved in producing and distributing paper products, and the ability to provide infinite resources via the web, it could be argued that IAN Press should disseminate entirely via electronic means. While IAN Press provides downloadable, web accessible materials, IAN Press continues to produces written products for the following reasons:

  1. There is rigor and discipline required in producing science communication products that have limited 'real estate', that, is limited amounts of space to convey a message. A paper product maintains focus, while web links can lead to tangential issues. The priority setting required to establish the final layout and include various communication elements is important in conveying information. Fixed 'real estate' forces condensation, synthesis and integration. Every visual element is uniquely created for the purpose of conveying the specific information intended, rather than repurposed from other sources.
  2. The written product invites non-linear reading, and a quick scan allows readers to delve into the visual elements most interesting to them. If a reader is most attracted to photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, or figures, they can migrate to these elements and the figure legends should be self explanatory. Alternatively, if reading text is the preferred way of obtaining information, the text is designed to be self sufficient. The juxtaposition of text and various visual elements also conveys important information, something that can be lost via hyperlinks on the web. In addition, electronic books with the current technology do not support color graphics.
  3. Since various IAN Press products are intended to inform a broad community from policy makers to the general public, the weight of scientific support that can be marshaled can be a factor in empowering people to action. In order to make an impact, the difference between hundreds of web pages and hundreds of printed pages is one reason to provide print versions of IAN products. In addition, internet access is not equally applied globally or socially, and in some societies and sectors of society, a written product provides a more accessible source, particularly through libraries and schools.
  4. Printed materials provide a 'time stamp', a fixed point of time when the data are assembled and the conclusions are reached. Rather than constantly updating the data and conclusions, drawing the line in the sand as to what is known at a particular time point is what printed products do. The shelf life of science communication products should be somewhat limited due to the increased scientific understanding based on ongoing research, yet the record of what is known, and when it is known, provides an important archival body of information.
  5. "The product drives the collaborative process"; in that the science communication product forces an intensely collaborative process of obtaining and refining visual elements, drafting and editing text, and experimenting with layout and design. While this collaborative process can be conducted with the production of web materials, print deadlines are a good way to insure timely delivery. In addition, to obtain buy-in from many scientists whose training and experience are in producing printed papers and books, printed copies are often necessary.