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Restoring and Protecting Marine Habitat: The Role of Engineering and Technology APPENDIX D Summary of Solicited Expert Accounts More than 75 solicited expert accounts with supporting references were provided by practitioners, resource agencies, and environmental organizations to support preparation of this report. Findings derived from these accountings (Yozzo, 1991) are summarized below. Key references are included in the References. A selective source reference table categorized by habitat type and nature of treatment is included as Appendix C. Issues related to marine habitat creation, protection, and enhancement were explored in order to assess the diverse concerns of federal and state agencies, academic institutions, public interest groups, and industry. A primary topic was the beneficial application of technology in the marine environment. Nine geographical regions were represented: Mid-Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific, Southeast, Great Lakes, New England, Midwest, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian Atlantic. Technological applications to habitat projects range from coastal stabilization and artificial reef technology to the use of dredged material and exploitation of natural processes. Although many marine habitats have been restored and created, gaps in the state of practice were reported as shown in Table D-1. It identifies needs that practitioners believe should be the focus of habitat management research in the coming years. The geographical distribution is not a statistically valid sample, but region-specific interests and trends are suggested. Two topics—(1) dredged material placement and (2) marsh creation, restoration, and management—were priority research needs in seven and eight of the nine regions. Hence these two research areas are deemed high-priority subjects
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Restoring and Protecting Marine Habitat: The Role of Engineering and Technology TABLE D-1 Research Needs Derived on Reported Gaps in the Coastal Engineering State of Practice Research Area Region Dredged material placement G, MA, NE, SE, P, GL, M Marsh creation, restoration, and management G, MA, NE, SE, P, GL, CA,M Restoration and management of seagrass beds G, MA, P, NE, CP Barrier island/dune restoration and management G, MA Shoreline protection and stabilization G, MA, NE, SE, GL Shoreline management G, MA, NE, SE Artificial reef development G, MA, NE, SE, P Restoration of fish spawning and nursery habitat G, MA, NE, P, GL, M Coastal landuse planning and public policy MA, NE, P Endangered species management P Point and nonpoint source pollution NE, P, M Abbreviations: CA, Canadian Atlantic; CP, Canadian Pacific; G, Gulf; GL, Great Lakes; M, Midwest; MA, Mid-Atlantic; NE, New England; P, Pacific; SE, Southeast. in habitat management in all U.S. coastal regions. Restoration and management of specific habitat types, such as seagrass beds and coastal dune systems, are of particular significance in the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific, New England, and Canadian Pacific regions. Shoreline stabilization and protection are considered important in the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Southeast, and, particularly, the Great Lakes region. Artificial reef research is of interest in all coastal regions, except the Great Lakes, whereas restoration of fish spawning and nursery habitats is of interest in all littoral regions of the United States. The New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Gulf regions also stand out with the highest number of research needs identified. Respondents from all regions provided detailed descriptions of barriers to successful implementation of technology in habitat management projects. Because some barriers are region specific, they are based on geographic locations, as summarized in Table D-2. No entry is shown for the Midwest, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian Atlantic regions because only one response was received from the Midwest and none from the other two regions on this particular issue. Lumped under policy constraints are: the requirement for least-cost options, lack of agreement among the different levels of decision makers (federal, state and local); and lack of a general
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Restoring and Protecting Marine Habitat: The Role of Engineering and Technology TABLE D-2 Reported Barriers to Successful Implementation of Beneficial Technology in Marine Habitat Projects Region Reported Barriers/Constraints MA G P SE GL NE Federal, state, and local policy • • • • Funding • • • • Inadequate project monitoring • • • Perception of a common resource • Lack of communication • Antiquated technology • Reactive management decisions • Lack of interagency cooperation • • Lack of documented success • Lack of training, education, and knowledge • Provincialism • Abbreviations: As in Table D-1. mitigation policy associated with the NMFS. The perception of resources as common property, especially, fisheries, is viewed as a major impediment in the development of artificial reef programs. The use of obsolete dredging technology was cited as another hindrance, although recourse appears available in advanced pump design and plant automation (Herbich, 1992b). Lack of communication, not only between the engineering and scientific communities but also between engineers and regulatory agencies, was also viewed as a substantial barrier to effective implementation of technology. This deficiency could lead, for example, to a distrust of engineers by biologists, and it hinders promotion of the multidisciplinary approach that appears imperative to bringing projects to fruition. On the other hand, the lack of communication between engineers and regulatory agencies can cause antagonism between the two groups with consequent further alienation, to the apparent detriment of a rational execution of projects. Similarly, a parochial mentality can lead into an unwillingness to apply useful technology developed elsewhere. Although Table D-2 may indicate that certain barriers are relevant to specific geographical regions, most of these issues are more endemic in nature than the table conveys. This assertion is supported in large measure by the responses on specific issues. Of the 71 respondents involved in habitat creation, restoration,
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Restoring and Protecting Marine Habitat: The Role of Engineering and Technology and enhancement projects, only 12 percent used published criteria or guidelines in project design. Although 71.8 percent of the respondents did not respond to this question, the overall implication can still be construed as a reflection of the nascent state of this particular field of engineering in the marine environment. The apparent lack of codification of engineering planning and design standards appears likely to render habitat development or alteration an iterative experiment into the foreseeable future. Similarly, failure to respond to questions relating to employee training programs (81.8 percent), accreditation requirements (83.1 percent), and public education programs (67.5 percent) speaks clearly to an apparent nationwide phenomenon of inadequate training, inadequate education, and inadequate knowledge. It draws into question the capability of many practitioners to perform credibly that might by suggested by a demonstrated commitment to building requisite engineering and scientific knowledge among those entering the field and continuing throughout their professional development programs. In identifying research needs, respondents were asked what in their view was the single most important technology that merited research and development. Although various topics were listed for future research in habitat protection and enhancement, 77 percent of respondents did not identify the most important technology. A pattern of regional trends is readily discernible from the responses, but certain key issues and research and development areas were cited often enough to render them of global importance. These include: creation, restoration, and enhancement of wetland habitats; improvements in technology for alternative uses of dredged materials; and improvements in public policy and legislation regarding the protection and enhancement of marine environments. The responses indicate that it is in these three areas that future efforts to improve the application of beneficial technology in the marine environment could be directed.
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