Project Details - All Projects > Contact - Bill Dennison


Current Projects


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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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Maryland Coastal Bays: science communication products and report cards Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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NPS NCR Resource Stewardship Strategy Tool Permanent Link
  Full Details  



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NY Harbor- Billion Oyster Project Permanent Link
IAN is part of a successful National Science Foundation project underway in New York Harbor as part of the Billion Oyster Project (BOP), aimed at delivering environmental restoration education to New York City public schools. The three-year, $5 million grant project, entitled "Curriculum and Community Enterprise for New York Harbor Restoration in New York City Public Schools," was officially launched on New York Harbor will be led by Pace University's School of Education and implemented by a consortium of partners including New York Harbor Foundation, New York City Department of Education, Columbia's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, New York Academy of Sciences, University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science, Good Shepherd Services, New York Aquarium, The River Project, SmartStart ECS, and others. The grant will create an accredited math and science teacher training program at Pace University, an interdisciplinary Harbor Literacy and marine STEM-C curriculum for NYC schools, and develop afterschool STEM mentoring through the New York Academy of Sciences, museum and aquarium. IAN's role in the project is to develop a state of the art digital platform that will provide a portal for students and teachers to access and analyze real time water quality data, view progress of restoration efforts via underwater cameras, and access the newly developed curriculum.  Full Details  



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USGS: Climate Change Research Activities Synthesis Permanent Link
The Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs), and their managing organization, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey, have chosen the emerging climate science field of Ecological Drought as a research focus area. This project aims to conduct synthesis and dissemination of the state of knowledge, research activities, and information gaps that exist within the eight Climate Science Centers (CSC). The Integration and Application Network (IAN) has developed a three-year Science Delivery Strategy to achieve this goal, aimed at supporting the first goal: to assess and synthesize our state of knowledge about climate change impacts to DOI lands. The eight CSCs provide a fantastic opportunity to compare the ecological effects of drought, related research activities, and management options at different regions, spatial scales, and biomes.  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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Department of Defense: Defending our National Treasure Permanent Link
As one of the largest Federal landholders in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Department of Defense's efforts towards the Chesapeake’s restoration and protection have exemplified the positive effects of interagency cooperation. This report provides a synthesis of the role the Department of Defense (DoD) has played in the Bay restoration effort. It outlines the specific commitments the DoD has made with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other Chesapeake Bay Program partners and identifies other DoD initiatives that support the Chesapeake Bay Program's efforts. This all-encompassing document will showcase DoDs efforts from 1998-2004.  Full Details  



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Florida DEP: workshop facilitation and newsletter Permanent Link
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is developing a new transparency standard for marine waters that will protect the seagrass species found throughout the state. The current standard does not sufficiently protect seagrasses, and the new standard will help DEP identify waters in which transparency is too low for healthy seagrass beds. DEP and IAN convened a workshop of experts to determine what factors affect light in seagrass beds, and what transparency criteria have already been established for individual systems. The resulting newsletter summarizes that workshop and discusses how DEP will use this knowledge to set criteria for seagrasses in Florida.  Full Details  



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Forest Trends: Vision for Marismas Nacionales Permanent Link
Forest Trends (FT) is a Washington D.C.-based international non‐profit organization whose mission is four‐fold: to expand the value of forests to society; to promote sustainable forest management and conservation by creating and capturing market values for ecosystem services; to support innovative projects and companies that are developing these markets; and to enhance the livelihoods of local communities living in and around those forests. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) – Integration and Application Network (IAN) was asked to assist Forest Trends with the development of a communication product that can be used to demonstrate the usefulness of visual product(s) for conducting the feasibility assessments and planning that Marismas Nacionales and Forest Trends’ other Investments in Watershed Services demonstration projects are undertaking.  Full Details  



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Great Barrier Reef Foundation: Development of a Reef Resiliency Index Permanent Link

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) funds research that protects and preserves the Great Barrier Reef, particularly in the face of climate change. In April 2012, GBRF hosted a workshop to chart a vision for assessing the vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change through the development of a climate vulnerability index. Major climate impacts already being manifested include: sea surface temperature-induced coral bleaching, coral skeletal degradation due to ocean acidification, and relative sea level rise leading to inundation of mangroves. The development of a climate vulnerability index would provide a probability-based assessment of the likelihood of damage due to climate, and is designed to complement the Great Barrier Reef report cardIAN's role was to prepare a summary newsletter detailing the vision for the development of a Climate Vulnerability Index for the Great Barrier Reef.  Full Details  




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Harte Research Institute: Gulf of Mexico Report Card Permanent Link
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.  Full Details  



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HPL: Conowingo Impact Research Permanent Link

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has been awarded a grant from Exelon Corporation through the Department of Natural Resources to study the affect that particulates from Conowingo Reservoir have on water quality in regions affected by high flow events. This is a two-year research project that began in October of 2014, the results are highly anticipated and will play a huge roll in future management of the sediment in Conowingo Reservoir.   Full Details  




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India Ministry of Environment and Forests: Report Card for Chilika Lake Permanent Link
The World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project serves to assist the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, in building national capacity for implementation of a comprehensive coastal management approach, and piloting the integrated coastal zone management approach in the States of Gujarat, Odisha, and West Bengal, all with long coastlines and unique biodiversity conditions. Each State has a designated State Project Management Unit (SPMU). The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) of the Environment and Forests, located at Anna University in Chennai, has been established to link to eleven collaborating regional centers in each of the coastal States/Union territories.
The first project, organized by NCSCM in partnership with IAN, will take place in the State of Odisha with the Chilika Development Authority as SPMU, to develop an ecological health report card for Chilika Lake. A workshop will be conducted to develop indicators, thresholds, and a reporting framework. Using the results of the workshop, a report card will be designed and completed.
The second project, organized by NCSCM in partnership with IAN, will be in the State of Gujarat with the Gujarat Ecology Commission as SPMU, to develop an ecological health report card for the Marine National Park of Jamnagar, and an environmental impact assessment framework for the entire Gulf of Kachchh.  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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International Water Centre: Healthy Waterways e-book Permanent Link
Production of Healthy Waterways journey e-book.  Full Details  



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LOICZ: Land Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Permanent Link
LOICZ is a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)  Full Details  



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Louisiana Sea Grant - Louisiana Discovery Integration and Application Fellowship program Permanent Link
  Full Details  



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Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy: Identifying nitrogen sources in the Choptank River Permanent Link
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.
  Full Details  



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National Association of Marine Laboratories and Organization of Biological Field Stations:From Science to Solutions Permanent Link
In a time of declining resources, field stations (including marine labs and nature reserves) are struggling to maintain and enhance their important contributions to scientific discovery, innovation, education, and public outreach. At a recent meeting of the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML) and the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) in Woods Hole, MA, Bill Dennison was asked by Jeff Brown, Director of UC Berkeley's Central Sierra Field Research Stations, to help create an OBFS/NAML publication, targeting legislators, government funding agencies, and educational institutions. The goal was to feature the scientific and social value of field stations, the need for their support, and their future plans for sustainability. Working from a 2014 National Academy of Science (NAS) report on future of field stations, IAN staff were asked to synthesize the NAS report and create a colorful brochure.  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: Hurricane Sandy report Permanent Link

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.  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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NCEAS: Global trajectories of seagrasses Permanent Link
A global assessment of seagrass gains and losses will be used to develop ecological forecasts. Includes constructing a global database of seagrass distributional changes, testing the perception that a contemporary crisis in seagrass ecosystems is occurring due to coastal human population pressures.  Full Details  



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NOAA ECOHAB: Karenia Nutrient Dynamics in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Permanent Link
Native to the Gulf of Mexico, Karenia brevis is a toxic dinoflagellate that blooms almost annually off the west coast of Florida. K. brevis blooms are not a new phenomenon on the west Florida shelf, and ships' logs suggest bloom-related events (fish kills) dating back to the 1500s. Coastal regions of Florida have experienced some of the most rapid population growth and development in the United States. Beach clean-ups, tourism-related losses, medical expenses, and lost work days during red tide events can average over a million dollars lost annually. This is a five year, multi-insitutional research program designed to utilize scientific expertise in a collaborative laboratory, field, and modeling program. The study aimed to identify the diverse interannual physical, chemical, and biological conditions that are responsible for K. brevis blooms on the west Florida shelf.  Full Details  



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NOAA: Ecosystem Research and Coastal Management Permanent Link
Coastal management in the U.S. is in transition toward a stronger, ecosystem-based approach implemented at the regional scale and supported by strong scientific synthesis and prediction. The division of ecosystem components
among different agencies, scientific disciplines, and political boundaries, as well as the complexities of conducting Regional Ecosystem Research (RER) make effective
ecosystem management very challenging. NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Science convened a best practices workshop of approximately 50 national
leaders in coastal research, management, and policy to identify the key elements of an effective RER program and policy actions to enhance future RER efforts. The results from this workshop and follow up interviews is summarized in this report.  Full Details  



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NOAA: National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment Permanent Link
To assess the eutrophic conditions for 141 U.S. estuaries based on data and information provided by scientists and experts from around the country. IAN developed an interactive website to collect data and produce automated summaries of eutrophication status as well as print ready graphics for the final report. Report production was a collaborative effort between Suzanne Bricker (NOAA NCCOS), EcoCheck (NOAA-UMCES Partnership) and IAN.  Full Details  



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NPS: PRWI-GWMP-WOTR-NACE: Natural Resource Condition Assessments 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 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.  Full Details