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Current Projects


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Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: Integrating Citizen-based and other nontraditional monitoring into the Chesapeake Bay Program monitoring framework Permanent Link

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc. (Alliance) in partnership with the Izaak Walton League of America (League), the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) at Dickinson College, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Integration and Application Network (UMCES IAN) will provide technical, logistical, and outreach support for the integration of citizen-based and non-traditional monitoring networks into the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. The Alliance will serve as overall partnership coordinator, manage the cooperative agreement, serve as liaison to the Chesapeake Bay Program and STAR workgroups, and collaborate with the project partners on citizen volunteer recruitment, training, and tool and resource development. This Coordinator will provide day to day leadership on the many technical activities of the work with input of the project partners. The League will also provide support for recruitment, training, and tool and resource development with a focus in Maryland and Virginia. ALLARM will provide this same support with a focus on the Pennsylvania and New York portions of the Bay watershed. UMCES will focus on data analysis and synthesis. The Alliance will contract with a private firm with IT and database experience to develop an online database and data entry tool.  Full Details  




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IAN: Science Communication Courses Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Coral Reef Ecosystem Status and Trends Report Cards Permanent Link
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. Report cards for the remaining Pacific jurisdictions will be undertaken during 2017-2018.  Full Details  



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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Evaluation of Multi-Year Data Sets to Establish Status and Trends of Environmental Restoration Success in the Everglades Permanent Link

The purpose of this project is to evaluate recent scientific findings that demonstrate progress towards restoration goals for the Everglades, identify research gaps related to the function of the Everglades ecosystem, and to make recommendations for management decisions based on those findings. This system status assessment will be used to convey these findings for the system as a whole and regions of the Everglades to public resource managers and stakeholders. Findings from this assessment will be evaluated for inclusion in the 2017 System Status Report and the 2020 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Report to Congress.   Full Details  




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WWF UMCES Partnership Permanent Link
WWF and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences seek to empower stakeholders around the world to develop and effectively use credible, locally owned report cards in their basins, fostering sustainable water management across basins around the world. We are developing, packaging, and sharing a process that helps stakeholders create science-based report cards in their own basins with the right buy-in on-the-ground and credibility globally, so they can better manage resources for the protection of fresh water they depend upon.  Full Details  



Past Projects


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Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Rookery Bay NERR Permanent Link
The primary objective of this project is to collate data, review indicators, and synthesize both to effectively report the health of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in southwest Florida. Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. The Reserve covers 110,000 acres of mangrove forest, uplands, and open water that hosts hundreds of fish, birds, reptiles, and many other species.  Full Details  



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Chesapeake Bay Trust: Development of an adaptive survey tool to measure behavior change within watersheds Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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Chesapeake Bay Trust: Tributary Report Card Standardization Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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EcoCheck Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  




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Florida Sea Grant: South Florida Ecosystem Synthesis Permanent Link
This book aims to synthesize research pertaining to key background and drivers of the South Florida ecosystem. Eight chapters organize the main research topics: geographic setting, oceanography, water quality, coral reef and hardbottom, seagrasses, mangroves, some important biota, and some important management actions. Chapter content is comprised of a series of fact sheets, each written by different researchers, and meant to stand alone as a single fact sheet, or together as a comprehensive book. IAN provides a supporting role in creating diagrams for each book chapter, while layout is provided by Pamela Fletcher of NOAA, and content provided by individual Florida researchers.  Full Details  



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Georgia DNR: Georgia Coastal Zone Ecological Report Card Permanent Link
The primary objective of this project is to collate data, review indicators, and synthesize both to effectively report the health of the Georgia coastal zone in a report card. An ecosystem health report card approach synthesizes environmental data, so that citizens and decision makers can evaluate the overall effects of restoration, conservation, and management activities on water quality and ecosystem condition. This is an important component of conservation and restoration planning, as it is designed to clearly communicate the status of ecosystem health of the Georgia coastal zone to a broad audience.  Full Details  



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Inter-American Development Bank: Facilitate the Partnership Between Chesapeake Bay and Guanabara Bay to Enhance and Accelerate Restoration Permanent Link

The objective of this technical cooperation is to facilitate the partnership between the States of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Maryland (USA) that will provide advice and support for a Guanabara Bay Program with an effective governance structure and management program designed to revitalize the Guanabara Bay. As the facilitator for Chesapeake Bay, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and IAN will provide targeted support to PSAM and the State of Rio as it develops a governance structure, assesses the environmental health, and develops and implements a restoration plan. This support includes: a) facilitating meetings between PSAM and its various contractors with Chesapeake Bay experts, when relevant; b) when applicable add experts from the Chesapeake Bay to assist in Guanabara Bay based workshops; c) provide webinars on topical issues to PSAM and its partners; d) coordinate a modest science conference on the Chesapeake Bay and Guanabara Bay experience that highlights science-based restoration programs and assessment; e) assist PSAM and contractors in the development of an environmental health assessment (report card) for Guanabara Bay; and f) host a study tour of Chesapeake Bay that highlights the governance model, and restoration practices for a small group of leaders from Guanabara Bay.  Full Details  




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MD DNR: Trust Fund Evaluation Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition: Coordination Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition: Standardizing non-tidal indicators Permanent Link
Local watershed monitoring groups use different methods for data analysis and reporting, which results in data that are of variable quality and report cards that are challenging to compare. This project seeks to create uniform sampling and data analysis protocols for non-tidal indicators, by developing consensus among members of the Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition (MTAC). Implementation of the protocols will improve consistency and reliability of data from watershed groups, and will enable direct comparison of results among existing and future groups. This work continues the recently completed protocol for sampling, analysis, and communication of tidal indicators, previously funded by CBT.  Full Details  



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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Building the Long Island Sound Report Card Permanent Link

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.  Full Details  




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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card Permanent Link

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.  Full Details  




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NPS: Assateague Island National Seashore: Climate Change Permanent Link

Four diverse products designed for different audiences make up this project based on the effects of climate change on Assateague Island.  Full Details  




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NPS: Shenandoah National Park: Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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Ohio DNR: Mills Creek Report Card Permanent Link
The primary objective of this project is to collate data, review indicators and synthesize both to effectively report the health of Mills Creek. Mills Creek is a small tributary to Sandusky Bay on the south-central shore of Lake Erie. The Mills Creek watershed is largely developed by a combination of urban and agricultural land uses. Mills Creek is also part of a Karst geological region, which is characterized by a series of sinkholes and underground rivers flowing through cracks and cavities in the limestone bedrock. Existing ecological data collected by government and local community groups from Mills 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 Mills Creek.  Full Details  



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Ohio DNR: Old Woman Creek Report Card Permanent Link
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.  Full Details