Project Details - All Projects
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) has a well developed partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). Environmental assessment and science communication of restoration projects is a topic in which the Integration and Application Network (IAN) has been actively involved, including in its partnership with CBP. UMCES scientists are particularly knowledgeable about watershed and estuarine processes and provide technical assistance and training opportunities for CBP activities. In addition, UMCES scientists have experience with innovative approaches in restoration ecology. UMCES uses its Annapolis Synthesis Center for much of the project management, coordination, and administration of the UMCES/CBP partnership.
This project seeks to develop a tool to help watershed organizations evaluate the prevalence of specific desired behaviors in watershed organization audiences. While public engagement and environmental education efforts have been ongoing by members of the Mid-Atlantic Tributaries Assessment Coalition (MTAC) for the last three decades, it remains unclear if positive behaviors (e.g., reduced use of fertilizer, upgrading septic systems, etc.) are increasing, and if they are, what influences decision-making about adoption of the behaviors. This work will rely on voluntary participation in a web-based survey that will make for cost effective data collection and analysis. The survey tool would continue to be available for watershed organizations in subsequent years, allowing continual message adjustment to achieve specific behavior changes.
Conservation International is a worldwide non-profit dedicated to preserving and conserving the natural world using an integrated approach of natural and social sciences. For this project, IAN has partnered with Conservation International to develop a 12-page booklet focused on Bay of Bengal (BOB) Marine Protected Areas (MPA), drawing from knowledge of MPAs in the region. The booklet will include individual policy advisories for each of the eight countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal, to provide more information on MPAs in each country.
Ecocheck is part of the Integration and Application Network, with a focus on ecosystem health reporting. EcoCheck’s primary mission is to enhance and support the science, management, and restoration of Chesapeake Bay.
EcoCheck accomplishes its mission by focusing on integration of geographically detailed assessments and forecasts of Chesapeake Bay ecosystem health and creating timely and scientifically rigorous communication products through data and research synthesis. EcoCheck works with academic, federal and state regulators, and local community groups to develop tools and products to assist decision makers in achieving Chesapeake Bay restoration goals. Recently, EcoCheck’s expertise in report cards and ecological health assessments has been leveraged to develop similar assessments nationally and globally.
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, along with its partners Harwell Gentile & Associates, LC, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, proposes to develop a comprehensive framework for a Report Card on the health of the Gulf of Mexico.
We strive to inspire future scientists and increase awareness about environmental issues. We believe that new media is a integral part of achieving these goals. Therefore, we have launched an IAN/EcoCheck channel on YouTube. This channel hosts environmental science videos created by UMCES faculty, staff, and students.
A keystone of the Integration and Application Network is effectively communicating science to a broad audience. This one- to three-day course provides participants with a science communication toolbox for effectively communicating their data. At the close of the course, participants will have learned the principles of effective science communication, used hands-on sessions to create their own products (symbols, conceptual diagrams, presentations, newsletters, posters), and gained experience in relevant software programs. These courses are made up of modules and can be tailored to meet the needs of any interested funding agency.
This free, downloadable symbol library has been providing users with symbols crafted by IAN science communicators for use in constructing conceptual diagrams. This project involves getting the symbols uploaded individually to our searchable image library, adding many new symbols, and making them all available through our online diagram creator.
Production of Healthy Waterways journey e-book.
Maryland's Coastal Bays, the shallow lagoons nestled behind Ocean City and Assateague, comprise a complex ecosystem. These estuarine bays, at the interface between fresh and saltwater, provide habitat for a wide range of aquatic life. But like many coastal systems, they face threats from intense development, nutrients, sediments, and other stresses associated with human activities. IAN has been working with the Coastal Bays Program on various products and studies, including the annual Coastal Bays report card, the book Shifting Sands, and using stable isotope techniques to identify nitrogen sources in the Maryland Coastal Bays.
The CoastSmart Communities Initiative (CCI), a program within the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service and staffed by IAN, is helping local communities identify and implement strategies to protect life, property, and natural resources vulnerable to coastal hazards such as storm surge, shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, and climate change. From hands-on training, planning tools, and online resources to a competitive grants program, CCI works to provide municipal and county governments with the tools that they need to identify vulnerabilities and take the necessary actions to become ready, adaptive, and resilient.
A partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) has been formed to develop an effective monitoring strategy to evaluate and communicate the efficacy of the projects funded through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund (CBTF). This partnership, named Trust Fund Evaluation, will also engage scientists and resource managers from relevant institutions and agencies in the region to enhance input and guidance on non-point source monitoring and assessment methodologies that demonstrate reductions of nutrients and sediments and to maximize the leveraging of resources.
The Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition is a unique and growing group of watershed organizations interested in advancing the use of environmental data from local organizations and citizen scientists for use in report cards and assessments. Using data collected by concerned citizens, IAN has helped to generate multi-year report cards for nine rivers since 2007.
The Choptank River always scores poorly in the Chesapeake Bay Report Card in terms of water quality and biotic integrity, with evidence that nutrient inputs (particularly nitrogen) are primarily responsible for degraded water quality. This has prompted the requirement for a monitoring approach that can distinguish the distribution and impacts of these various sources of nitrogen.
This project will analyze existing aquatic sediments, plants, and animals collected throughout the watershed to pinpoint key sources of nitrogen. As submerged aquatic vegetation has disappeared in regions heavily impacted by land-use activities, macroalgae and oysters will be deployed and incubated in situ to help trace the origin of nitrogen inputs by identifying, delineating and mapping the relative influence of the varied urban and agricultural land uses in the watershed. Findings from this project will:
- produce information to assist environmental management of the Choptank River Watershed.
- provide a baseline for future assessment following implementation of best management practices that are planned and/or in progress to reduce nitrogen inputs from these four land use activities. These include advanced fertilizer application management; sewage upgrades at Cambridge; artificial wetlands at Tuckahoe; and sewage installation and treatment at Greensborough. This will allow a measure of the success of these practices and provide feedback on investments made by landowners.
Degradation of nearshore quality is a primary concern of Lake Tahoe’s residents and stakeholders. Issues impacting the nearshore environment include visible algal growth as well as the establishment and threat of aquatic invasive species.
This project seeks to improve the effectiveness of communicating the results and findings of the Evaluation of Nearshore Ecology and Aesthetics Project to informed stakeholders, the general public, and the science community.
IAN's role is to create a series of conceptual diagrams for Lake Tahoe's nearshore environment, as tools for outreach and communication. Diagrams will be created to define the nearshore of Lake Tahoe, detailing beneficial uses for the lake and key natural processes that control nearshore aesthetics; depict major sources of pollutants and their associated effects, with list of management actions to control pollutant sources; and contrast developed versus undeveloped areas.
The National Park Service is carrying out assessments of the natural resource condition (NRCA) for nearly 300 of the National Parks throughout the country deemed to have significant natural resources. This project, to assess condition of Harpers Ferry and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Parks and Catoctin Mountain Park in the National Capital Region, is a synthesis project aimed at collating and synthesizing all available data to assess current status and trend for each metric, combining these into an overall framework. The focus of this study has been to develop a habitat based framework to assess natural resource condition.
The National Park Service is carrying out assessments of the natural resource condition (NRCA) for nearly 300 of the National Parks throughout the country deemed to have significant natural resources. This project, to assess condition of Prince William Forest Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and National Capital Parks-East in the National Capital Region, is a synthesis project aimed at collating and synthesizing all available data to assess current status and trend for each metric, combining these into an overall framework. The focus of this study has been to develop a habitat based framework to assess natural resource condition.
The National Park Service is carrying out assessments of the natural resource condition (NRCA) for nearly 300 of the National Parks throughout the country deemed to have significant natural resources. This project, to assess condition of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, is a synthesis project aimed at collating and synthesizing all available data to assess current status and trend for key indicators, combining these into an overall framework. The focus of this study has been to develop a habitat-based framework to assess natural resource condition.
The primary objective of this project is to collate data, review indicators, and synthesize both to effectively report the health of Old Woman Creek in north-central Ohio. 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. Ultimately, the ODNR would like to use this process to improve community and management awareness and understanding of the status of Old Woman Creek.
The primary objective of this project is to collate data, review indicators and synthesize both to effectively report the health of Pipe Creek. 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. Ultimately, the ODNR would like to use this process to improve community and management awareness and understanding of the status of Pipe Creek.
The Marine Monitoring Program is a long-term water quality and ecosystem heath monitoring program carried out in the inshore region of the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. The program is an integral component of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, that will help to assess the long-term effectiveness of Reef Plan in reversing decline in the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is responsible for the design, implementation and reporting of the monitoring program.
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is currently working in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to enhance the ability of agencies and local governments to enact new laws, policies, and outreach programs that will assist the State of Maryland and her citizens to adapt to a changing climate.
In 2009, Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland’s General Assembly charged the State with developing a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by the year 2020.
The primary goal of the project is to educate and inform responsible stewardship of water resources between U.S. and Australian students through an interactive- virtual partnership. Our vision and motivation is to build an environmental education platform capable of implementing a robust and long-term cyber education program based on state of the art science with a global perspective. Whether high school students get “hooked” on science is critical to recruiting promising students to the environmental field. This is vastly important, as this generation will face unique environmental challenges of global significance, including the need to at least double water productivity. Generating interest at this level with an engaging project-based international cyber exchange will, we believe, pique the interest of a new generation of science students who are cyber-savvy “digital natives” in a transformational manner.
EcoCheck has partnered with the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore to assess the baseline conditions of Baltimore's Inner Harbor and its watershed. EcoCheck will evaluate the current status of the Inner Harbor by evaluating water quality, sediments, biota, and other indicators. This baseline conditions assessment will be a starting point for an annual monitoring program that will support an annual report card for the Harbor. The report card will evaluate progress toward the Waterfront Partnership's goal of a fishable, swimmable Harbor by 2020.
Deep Creek Lake is currently experiencing a host of environmental problems related to nutrient and sediment input from the surrounding watershed. The nonprofit organization Friends of Deep Creek Lake (FODCL) is collaborating with EcoCheck to design and produce an environmental report card for Deep Creek Lake. This project is especially important to the evolution of environmental assessment, communication, and reporting for aquatic systems in Maryland. Lake systems form an important ecologic and hydrologic feature of state upland areas. Deep Creek Lake, while not in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, probably serves as a sentinel for future issues with other Maryland lakes. Deep Creek Lake is the oldest lake in Maryland, having been formed for hydropower in the 1920’s. The ecologic and hydrologic problems that Deep Creek Lake is currently experiencing may very well reflect the future of many other Maryland lakes.
The first objective of the project is to produce a Nanticoke watershed/river report card in the format that is fast becoming the standard for reporting water quality information to the public. This report card will be used to inform and involve the public as part of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance's programmatic and mission effort to conserve the resources of this river. The second is to provide the Alliance with the training and ability- the capacity- to take complete ownership of the report card in subsequent years.
This report card provides grades for the three tidal regions of the Patuxent River estuary, located on the Western Shore of Chesapeake Bay. The grades are based on six ecological indicators: dissolved oxygen, water clarity, chlorophyll a, phytoplankton community, benthic community, and aquatic grasses.
This project seeks to establish a framework to coordinate efforts among watershed organizations using or planning to use report cards as outreach tools. This project also seeks to develop clear and consistent guidelines and protocols for the development and implementation of report cards by watershed organizations. Protocols will be developed and training provided for sampling and monitoring methodology, data analysis, and science communication. The overall objective is to allow comparability of results from volunteer-based monitoring programs and report cards, and increase the scientific validity of report cards as outreach tools.
Coastal Louisiana is home to the nation’s largest port complex in both tonnage and infrastructure, and produces or transports nearly one-third of the nation’s oil and gas supply. In addition, the coastal Louisiana ecosystem provides nationally-important fish and wildlife habitat that supports the nation’s second-largest commercial fishery and over $1 billion per year in recreational fishing and hunting revenues. All of these activities are supported in Louisiana because of the close proximity of its skilled workforce to the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal land loss has placed these economic and natural resources at increased risk of loss due to the intense effects of waves and storm surges from hurricanes. Restoration of the coastal ecosystem can work synergistically with levees and floodgates to provide an integrated flood protection system that allows continued resource production and sustains the ecosystem services on which the nation relies.
The Verde Island Passage (VIP) is an area in the northern Philippines that has a wealth of coastal marine resources, including highly diverse coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows. It also has ~7 million people whose livelihoods are suppported by those resources. Climate change will impact in varying ways and degrees both the ecological and coastal communities of the VIP.
A series of three science communication products (fact sheet, booklet, technical report), produced by IAN staff in collaboration with Conservation International (CI), assemble and synthesize the climate change vulnerability assessment study completed by CI and its partners in 2009 in this area.
Conservation International is a worldwide non-profit dedicated to preserving and conserving the natural world using an integrated approach of natural and social sciences. IAN partners with Conservation International on producing policy briefs (4-page summary documents), reports, and guidebooks, based on their research findings and lessons learned in many areas around the globe.