Enewsletter articles by Heath Kelsey

Report card course

The 2019 Healthy Rivers for All course is underway! 22 students from Africa, Mexico, and the Philippines are learning how to create ecosystem health report cards through a virtual, flipped-classroom approach. Bill, Heath, and Vanessa meet with students on line each week to review recorded lectures and engage through instructive activities.

New release: Drought in the U.S.- Affiliated Pacific Islands

US Affiliated Pacific Islands. In 2015, IAN began a national-scale effort with the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC) to synthesize the impacts of ecological drought across the country. Workshops were held at each of the nation’s eight regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers covering the following regions: Alaska, Pacific Islands, Northwest, Southwest, North Central, South Central, Northeast, and Southeast. During the Pacific Islands workshop in March 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii, it became clear that the high islands of the Hawaiian archipelago were not representative of the diverse U.S.-Affiliated Pacific islands (USAPI), and so a ninth workshop was planned to capture aspects of drought in the islands. This newsletter highlights the outcomes of a two-day workshop held in Honolulu, focusing on past, current, and future impacts of drought throughout the USAPI.

Verde River, AZ

Heath Kelsey and Andrew Elmore traveled to Camp Verde, Arizona to work with stakeholders from the National Forest Service, Friends of the Verde River, and The Nature Conservancy on a Verde River Report Card. This was our second workshop, which was designed to continue the process of selecting indicators, identifying data sources, and grading. Excellent progress was made in these areas due to the tremendous engagement we experienced with our project partners.

Texas Coast Report Card released!

Texas, USA. The Texas Coast Ecosystem Health Report Card was released on May 29, which graded Texas Coast Ecosystems at a B-. Key messages from the report card were that oyster reefs continued to struggle after the extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. Seagrasses also struggle in some areas from poor water quality. Coastal fisheries, however, have been improving steadily. The project was funded through the State of Texas and was a partnership between Harte Research Institute and UMCES.

Merida, Mexico!

Heath Kelsey gave a keynote address at the First Coastal Resilience Symposium held June 19-21, 2019 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. The meeting brought together a diverse, international group of experts in coastal science, engineering, and management to discuss coastal resilience and sustainability. Heath's talk focused on an initiative of Future Earth Coasts called, "Our Coastal Futures".

Gulf of Mexico Coral Reef Report Card

The Harte Institute and the University of Mexico at Sisal released the first-ever report card on the condition of coral reef ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. The report card involved representatives from the US, Mexico, and Cuba.

Maryland Coastal Bays Report Card Released

Ocean City, MD, USA. Bill Dennison and Heath Kelsey presented the 2018 Coastal Bays Report Card on Monday, September 23, at the Marlin Club in West Ocean City, Maryland. Data for two of the six indicators were unavailable for the 2018 Report Card, which meant that the Coastal Bays received an Incomplete this year. Water quality results declined from 2017, because of very high rainfall, which was the third highest on record, and increased nutrient input to Coastal Bays. The problems in collecting seagrass data also illustrate the challenges of monitoring under climate change influences. Seagrass information is collected by aerial imagery, which requires specific conditions that were hampered by increased cloud cover.

Future Earth Coasts

Heath Kelsey met with the other members of the Future Earth Coasts Executive Committee in Bremen, Germany from September 11-13. Future Earth Coasts’ goal is to strengthen the science-policy interface and contribute to securing sustainable coastal communities. One highlight from the discussions is the next Open Science Conference called ‘Our Coastal Futures’, which will be hosted in October 2020 at the Gold Coast Campus of Southern Cross University in Australia. The conference will focus on integrating all knowledge types, and is an official United Nation endorsed event towards the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Belmont Forum Newsletters released

Convened by the Belmont Forum and facilitated by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Belmont Tripartite Valorization workshop and Biodiversity I CRA virtual synthesis workshop served as the end term meeting for the Food Security and Land Use Change Collaborative Research Action (CRA), Biodiversity I CRA, and mid-term meetings for the Arctic Observing and Science for Sustainability and Mountains as Sentinels of Change CRAs. The Workshop reports, Understanding Responses to Global Change, and Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, provide a brief overview of each project, identify common themes that emerged, and provide recommendations for future Belmont Forum Projects.

Lower Kafue River Basin Report Card

Our partners at World Wildlife Fund Zambia released the Lower Kafue River Basin Report Card. Overall, the basin received a score of C (49).

Lower Kafue River Basin Report Card released

September 25 was World Rivers Day. Our partners at World Wildlife Fund Zambia combined that celebration with the release of the Lower Kafue River Basin Report Card. The Kafue River runs north to south through Zambia and has a watershed of over 60,000 square miles. Overall, the basin received a score of C (49), combining indicators in five categories: water quality & quantity, human health & nutrition, landscapes & ecology, management & governance, and economy. This report card was developed in partnership with WWF Zambia, the Water Resources Management Authority, and other local partners. You can view the full report card document here.

"Evaluating Transdisciplinary Approaches" now available online

The Evaluating Transdisciplinary Approaches Workshop was convened by the Belmont Forum last summer. Workshop participants were part of a growing community of transdisciplinary research supporters and practitioners. The workshop goals were centered around participants exploring transdisciplinary research goals, metrics, and assessment. This workshop newsletter compiles the results of the workshop, outlines recommendations for how to evaluate transdisciplinary approaches, and provides current and past examples of transdisciplinary research.

Attending the virtual Science of Team Science conference

Bill Dennison, Heath Kelsey, and Suzi Spitzer attended the Science of Team Science conference, which utilized virtual session formats to highlight cross-disciplinary collaborative research. Bill spoke about IAN's role as a boundary organization that is helping transition academia to environmental problem solving. Suzi presented part of her dissertation on citizen science, featuring IAN's earlier work in developing a volunteer monitoring program for aquatic grasses in the Chesapeake Bay.

Preliminary Gulf of Mexico Coral Reef Report Card released!

The Harte Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and the Autonomous University of Mexico at Sisal released the first-ever report card on the condition of coral reef ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Heath Kelsey facilitated the two-day workshop to create the report card, which involved representatives from the US, Mexico, and Cuba. The report card results indicate that coral reef ecosystems are threatened everywhere, but some areas seem to be doing better than others. The main threats to ecosystem health include increasing ocean temperature, coastal development, and overfishing. In addition to the report card, a video was produced that documents the report card workshop and perspectives on coral reefs throughout the region.

Belmont Biodiversity Newsletter

This document summarizes four projects funded by the Belmont Forum's Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Belmont Global Change Newsletter

We facilitated a Belmont Forum synthesis workshop covering three groups of projects addressing global change, and produced a summarizing newsletter.

Texas Coast Report Card

IAN staff and HRI scientists collaborated to produce the 2019 Texas Coast Ecosystem Health Report Card. The coastline scored a B- (80%), indicating moderately good ecosystem health.

Co-developing watershed report cards in Detroit

IAN is partnering with Council Fire, LLC, the Erb Family Foundation, and The Clinton River Watershed Council, Friends of the Detroit River, Huron River Watershed Council, River Raisin Watershed Council, and Friends of the Rouge River, to create socio-environmental report cards for these 5 rivers, and a report card that integrates the results into an assessment of the Detroit Michigan region. This ambitious project is a collaboration with local stakeholders to develop a shared understanding and vision for each watershed, indicators that can reflect on the social, cultural, economic, and environmental values within that vision, and analysis of data to assess progress toward achieving it.