Project Details - All Projects > Agency - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA-CRCP) is investing significant funding to support a National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) throughout the U.S. Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean coral reef areas. The Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (IAN-UMCES) understands that a key component of this plan is periodic national-level status and trends reporting. Such reporting will be required to communicate and evaluate the efficacy of place-based investments in coral reef conservation, and the aligned goals and objectives of the NCRMP (as per the NOAA-CRCP NCRMP, 2014). This grant will fund IAN-UMCES to collaboratively develop and implement this status and trends reporting framework with NOAA-CRCP for two pilot areas, American Samoa and the Florida Keys that will be used to develop and pilot the new reporting framework based on biological, physical and socio-economic monitoring data.
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.
The proposed project will expand capacity of local organizations to sustain ecosystem health report cards currently in development, and will design and execute a comprehensive communications and media strategy for report card dissemination and community engagement. With current support from Long Island Sound Futures Fund, and in close collaboration with local partners, UMCES is currently developing the first generation Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card, and report cards for two local embayment groups. The report cards provide a comprehensive and synthetic assessment of ecosystem health working with local partners, including University of Connecticut, Harbor Watch/Bay Watch in Fairfield/Westport area, and Friends of Hempstead Harbor. Capacity building will include intensive training for partner organizations in Science Communication, Report Card Concepts, and Data Integration. We also will encourage groups currently producing report cards to assist similar efforts in additional areas, which should improve data coverage and quality as they follow common protocols. We will increase the impact of report cards through a deliberate media dissemination campaign, with regular messaging identified by a local committee. The campaign will include print, web, and social media, and dissemination through mailouts, events, and the Internet. Local buy-in from active participants, networking, and leveraging partner connections will be key strategies for dissemination.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation established a Hurricane Sandy Wildlife Response Fund to conduct a rapid assessment of the ecological impacts of Hurricane Sandy from North Carolina to Rhode Island, with emphasis on habitats and associated wildlife. Scientists from various organizations including government agencies, non-government organizations, and academic institutions provided data and information about Hurricane Sandy in relation to both Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Coastal Bays, which was then integrated into a 20-page summary report. The goal of the summary report is to effectively communicate the impacts of Hurricane Sandy to U.S. congressional leadership and the broader public, with recommendations for mitigation activities to ameliorate the impacts of future storm events.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund has funded IAN to develop the Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card project. The project will involve developing a report card for the Long Island Sound itself, as well as report cards for Hempstead Harbor in New York and the Westport/Fairfield embayment in Connecticut. IAN will host a series of workshops and the final products will include a printed report card and an interactive website.