Project Details - All Projects > Contact - Caroline Wicks
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
This project will help facilitate, assess, and produce the America's Watershed Initiative Report Card. The report card will describe the health of the Mississippi River Basin based on six main goals (water supply, flood risk reduction, economies, ecosystems, recreational, and transportation). America's Watershed Initiative is working to bring a collaborative, basin-wide perspective to the Mississippi River Watershed's greatest management challenges while also supporting the many initiatives and work at multiple scales. In addition to the report card, six workshop newsletters, each representing the sub-basins of the Mississippi, will be produced.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 below a 2006 baseline level by the year 2020. This report provides a detailed overview of Maryland’s Plan, describing Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change and detailing Maryland’s 150-plus Greenhouse Gas Reduction programs and initiatives and their associated benefits.
UMCES worked in partnership with the MDE Office of Communications to help design and edit the existing draft plan to match the style of the Plan’s Executive Summary released earlier in July 2013.
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.
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.
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.
The goal of this project was to describe the health of the Mesoamerican Reef by identifying key indicators and calculating an Integrated Reef Health Index. Additionally, to evaluate the human footprint and social well-being of the local community. Finally, to provide recommendations for government, NGOs, private, and research sectors for future work.
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.