INTRODUCTION

Biliana Cicin-Sain

Center for the Study of Marine Policy

Graduate College of Marine Studies

University of Delaware

The Committee on Science and Policy for the Coastal Ocean of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board convened the Gulf of Maine Symposium on Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy at Kennebunkport, Maine, from November 1 to 3, 1994 (see symposium agenda in Appendix A). This was the second in a series of three regional symposia organized to explore the interactions between science and policy for issues related to the coastal ocean—when and how these interaction occur, when and how they are successful, and why. The assumptions underlying the symposia were (1) that interactions between science and policy are often lacking for coastal issues and (2) that there is a need for a more effective process for communicating information needs from policymakers to scientists and for translating research results into a form that can be used to create effective coastal policy. These assumptions have been validated through discussions at the symposia. In addition, the role of the public in the policy-making process is extremely important, as was noted at this symposium. The public, often through non-governmental organizations, increasingly serves as an important linkage between scientists and policymakers, and influences government policies on issues with important scientific foundations.

The primary purpose of the symposia is to consider how the connection between science and policy in issues related to the U.S. coastal ocean can be improved. “Science” is broadly construed to include the natural sciences as well as the social sciences and policy analysis; “policy ” is meant to encompass relevant actions by local, state, and federal governments; and the “coastal ocean” is defined as the area spanning the land portion of the



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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium INTRODUCTION Biliana Cicin-Sain Center for the Study of Marine Policy Graduate College of Marine Studies University of Delaware The Committee on Science and Policy for the Coastal Ocean of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board convened the Gulf of Maine Symposium on Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy at Kennebunkport, Maine, from November 1 to 3, 1994 (see symposium agenda in Appendix A). This was the second in a series of three regional symposia organized to explore the interactions between science and policy for issues related to the coastal ocean—when and how these interaction occur, when and how they are successful, and why. The assumptions underlying the symposia were (1) that interactions between science and policy are often lacking for coastal issues and (2) that there is a need for a more effective process for communicating information needs from policymakers to scientists and for translating research results into a form that can be used to create effective coastal policy. These assumptions have been validated through discussions at the symposia. In addition, the role of the public in the policy-making process is extremely important, as was noted at this symposium. The public, often through non-governmental organizations, increasingly serves as an important linkage between scientists and policymakers, and influences government policies on issues with important scientific foundations. The primary purpose of the symposia is to consider how the connection between science and policy in issues related to the U.S. coastal ocean can be improved. “Science” is broadly construed to include the natural sciences as well as the social sciences and policy analysis; “policy ” is meant to encompass relevant actions by local, state, and federal governments; and the “coastal ocean” is defined as the area spanning the land portion of the

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium coastal zone to the edge of the 200-mile outer limit of U.S. ocean jurisdiction—the Exclusive Economic Zone. The symposia have each brought together 60 to 80 individuals representing three major perspectives: natural sciences, social sciences and policy analysis, and policymaking and implementation at both state and federal levels (the symposium participants are listed in Appendix B). The Gulf of Maine symposium was cochaired by Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain (University of Delaware), Mr. David Keeley (State of Maine), and Dr. David Townsend (University of Maine). The symposium was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (National Ocean Service's Center for Coastal Ecosystem Health and the Coastal Ocean Program); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and the Minerals Management Service (MMS). This report presents the papers delivered at the Gulf of Maine symposium and summarizes the essence of the lively discussions that ensued during the symposium and the divergent perspectives that were expressed regarding the difficult questions related to improving the use of science in coastal policy making. Background information about two of the major Gulf of Maine science programs is given in Appendix C. Rationale for Examining Science-Policy Interactions Government policy often appears to the scientific community to be unconnected to science, representing the results of value-based pressures from different groups, as is natural in a democratic system of government. The public plays an important role in interpreting science and in communicating their preferences to policymakers. This factor makes the education of the public and their involvement in the policy process important issues. Some issues do not require input from science, because the decisions about the issues are not based on natural or social science information. For other issues, the application of scientific knowledge is extremely important. The absence of appropriate natural science information, for example, can sometimes lead to poor policy outcomes: irreparable damage to the environment or a waste of public resources in efforts to control situations beyond the extent —from a scientific point of view—to which the situations can or should be controlled. Similarly, when social scientific analysis is not used, poor policy outcomes may result—for example, the wrong people may benefit from a governmental program, a range of unintended negative social impacts may occur, or a policy may not work because the institutional capacity for carrying out the policy (e.g., enforcement capability) is not taken into account. In addition, situations also arise in which there is apparent consensus between decisionmakers and the scientific community, but the policies fail because the affected public disagrees with the policy choice. The reasons for the disagreement may include the financial cost of the choice, a disagreement over risk assessment, the lack of effective public education strategies, or a simple lack of trust that scientists and policymakers have taken sufficient account of public values.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium The present state of science-policy interactions for coastal environmental management and policy making was discussed by planners of the symposium series to provide a basis for framing the questions that would be posed to symposia participants. It was concluded by the committee and other participants in various planning activities that: The sciences can contribute to better policy. Part of the challenge is to determine when and how science matters to policy and which scientific perspectives (natural and/or social) must be considered. There are significant obstacles to interactions between scientists and policymakers. These obstacles are related to the structures of the realms of science and policy and to the nature of the incentives and rewards that prevail in each realm. An ineffective reward structure was cited by one of the issue groups as a factor constraining interactions. For example, academic scientists tend to emphasize and reward development and dissemination of knowledge, critical review, and independence, and often orient their work in relation to goals that stretch over a period of years. Policymakers tend to emphasize responsiveness to and implementation of societal preferences, achievement of consensus, and teamwork, and often operate with goals that must be accomplished in one year or less. Considerable national benefits could accrue with more effective interactions between science and policy in issues related to the coastal ocean. The nation has already made a significant investment in coastal ocean natural sciences (the U.S. federal government spent $672 million on coastal science in FY1991-1993, primarily for science related to living resources, habitat conservation, and environmental quality (NSTC, 1995)). There has been substantial national investment in coastal ocean management activities through such programs as NOAA 's Coastal Zone Management Program, EPA's National Estuary Program, and the implementation of various federal laws concerned with the coastal ocean (such as the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and others). The national investment in the marine-oriented social sciences has been modest (primarily through the NOAA Sea Grant College Program and to some extent as a small part of programs funded by agencies such as MMS); nonetheless, a significant body of knowledge and expertise on the human aspects of coastal ocean issues is available in the United States. Solution of coastal environmental problems would be more achievable if the expertise and perspectives of natural scientists, social scientists, and policymakers were combined. Significant national resources have already been devoted to understanding coastal systems, both natural and human components, but the resulting information is not often integrated in seeking solutions. Tangible means need to be found for improving the use of science in coastal policy making. The organizers believed that this could be done in several ways:

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Better understanding of how and at what point the natural and social sciences could enter into the policy process is necessary. By thinking about the various stages through which policies generally proceed (initiation, formulation, implementation, evaluation, modification, and termination), (e.g., Brewer and deLeon, 1983) one could identify various opportunities for the natural and social sciences to contribute to the policy process. For example, in policy initiation, both the natural and social sciences could be instrumental in identifying emerging problems likely to need a new public policy or private sector response. During the formulation and implementation stages, the natural and social sciences could provide technically sound methods for dealing with specific coastal ocean management problems. The science-policy interface should be examined not only in the abstract but also in the context of issues related to specific regions of the United States. Thus, in each symposium, the science-policy interface was examined in the context of three issues: (1) an issue common to all three regions, (2) a current region-specific issue, and (3) an emerging issue in the region. Individuals with a variety of perspectives should be involved, including natural scientists, social scientists, and policymakers (from executive and legislative branches). It is important to maintain a balance between local perspectives and perspectives from other regions by involving participants from a given region as well as from other coastal areas of the United States to facilitate comparisons among regions. Purposes of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Given the assumptions outlined above, the symposium sought to Examine a number of case studies (both successes and failures) focusing, in particular, on clarifying how the interaction between science and policy works according to: The issue involved. The stage of the policy process (e.g., Is the issue just emerging? Does it concern implementation of a previous decision? Does it involve evaluation and monitoring?). The relative contributions of the natural and social sciences to different aspects of the issues at different points in the policy process. The diverse needs of relevant decisionmakers (e.g., at the federal, state, and local levels, from the executive and legislative branches).

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Identify obstacles to effective interaction between science and policy, for example: In the case of an emerging issue, appropriate scientific information (from either the natural or the social sciences) may be absent. In the case of a current issue, much scientific information could be available but may be in need of synthesis and translation into nontechnical terms. There could be problems in communication and no mechanisms available to facilitate the use of science in coastal policy making. Identify specific incentives and mechanisms for improving the interaction between science and policy. Examples of incentives include (1) an effort whereby policymakers receive constructive scientific advice in a timely manner, demonstrating the potential usefulness of the science-policy relationship, and (2) tangible means of rewarding (within the university structure) scientists for giving advice to public officials. Examples of possible mechanisms for improving the use of science in coastal policy making include (1) increasing the number of scientists employed by public agencies and appointed to their supervising boards and commissions; (2) establishing advisory mechanisms (such as legislative requirements for scientific review, creation of advisory boards, and science review boards); (3) increasing education of policymakers, managers, and the public at large about use of scientific information in policymaking; and (4) holding targeted workshops to bring scientists and policymakers together to discuss specific issues. Develop ideas for specific actions that could improve science-policy interactions in the region, and ultimately, the nation. Conduct of the Symposium Participants were selected primarily from the Gulf of Maine region, but a number of individuals from outside the region were also invited, to bring outside perspectives and to facilitate comparisons among regions. Stage-setting and issue papers were circulated prior to the meeting and presented orally in plenary session. Symposium planners chose three major issues for their specific examination of the science-policy interface: (1) responding to the cumulative impact of land and water activities in the region's estuaries and near-coastal environments; (2) protecting regionally significant

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium terrestrial and marine habitats; and (3) using indicators of environmental quality as a tool to maintain the health of the Gulf of Maine. These three issues were discussed in concurrent sessions. Symposium participants identified general means for improving the interactions between science and policy as well as specific means for improving the use of science for policy making in the three issue areas. The three issue papers presented at the symposium are included in this volume, together with summaries of the discussions of the issue sessions. The papers and issue group discussions provide useful information about successful science and policy interactions in Gulf of Maine coastal areas, as well as failures in interactions and reasons for these failures. These sections also suggest ways in which interactions could be improved. The report contains opinions and judgements of individual authors that are offered to provoke thought, but are not necessarily the opinion of the NRC bodies that hosted the symposium and published this report. Two additional symposia on science-policy interactions have been convened: one was held in California in November 1992 and the other was held in the Gulf of Mexico region in January 1995. Considerable activity exists in both of these regions in terms of both coastal policy and coastal science; it is hoped that these symposia will advance the interaction between the realms of science and policy in the context of specific issues in these regions. A proceedings report will be produced for each symposium. The Committee on Science and Policy for the Coastal Ocean (see Appendix D for biographies of committee members) prepared a synthesis report of the information gathered from the three regional symposia, comparing the problems and solutions for all three regions (NRC, 1995). The goal was to produce a set of recommendations for improving science-policy interactions that can be generalized for use in the variety of coastal areas of the United States and of other nations. References Brewer, G.D., and P. deLeon. 1983. The Foundations of Policy Analysis, Dorset Press, Homewood, Ill. National Research Council (NRC). 1995. Science, Policy, and the Coast: Improving Decisionmaking. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). 1995. Setting a New Course for U.S. Coastal Ocean Science. National Science and Technology Council, Washington, D.C.