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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Managing the Cumulative Impacts of Land and Water Activities in the Gulf of Maine Region's Estuaries and Near-Coastal Environments
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium INTRODUCTION Estuarine systems are characterized by complex, often nonlinear, relationships among biological, chemical, geological, and physical variables and are extremely dynamic. Impacts from human activities and natural events and processes can accumulate over time and space to yield problems that are far more serious than result from individual actions. For example, pollutants and other environmental impacts occur at specific locations, but can accumulate and spread to affect the entire Gulf of Maine region. Cumulative impacts may be additive or synergistic in their effects and may accumulate over decades or centuries. Scientific studies, environmental decisions by agencies, and legislative policy making rarely consider cumulative impacts. The effect of cumulative impacts on coastal systems was selected as a topic for the symposium series because this issue can be addressed by natural and social science and it has become obvious that impacts accumulate over time and space and that coastal policies must consider such impacts. As noted by Hunsaker in the following paper, managing cumulative impacts is critical for sustaining ecosystems, their resources, and their services. Specific examples of cumulative impacts abound for the Gulf of Maine, including the decline of groundfish stocks over time due to fishing pressure and perhaps environmental factors, progressive pollution of harbors and estuaries in the region (e.g., Boston Harbor), and the widespread effect of tourism on coastal resources. Understanding cumulative impacts requires a fundamental understanding about how ecosystems operate, how they have changed over time, and the extent and timing of previous individual impacts.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium MANAGING CUMULATIVE IMPACTS: A KEY TO SUSTAINABILITY? Carolyn T. Hunsaker Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National Laboratory1 P.O. Box 2008 Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6038 Ecology forces us to recognize three major features of all life: interdependence, diversity and vulnerability. Its message is not that we should avoid change, but that no ecosystem is an island. Introduction Cumulative impacts on ecosystems are a function of increasing numbers of humans and their associated activities per unit area; as impacts continue to increase, the ability to sustain a desired condition for humans and other species becomes questionable. The implementing regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) define cumulative impacts as “the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future 1 Based on work performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, managed for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-84OR21400 with Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium actions. . .” [40 C.F.R. Sect. 1508.7 (1978)]. Dickert and Tuttle (1985) provide a somewhat more detailed definition: . . . cumulative impacts are those that result from the interactions of many incremental activities, each of which may have an insignificant effect when viewed alone, but which become cumulatively significant when seen in the aggregate. Cumulative effects may interact in an additive or a synergistic way, may occur onsite or offsite, may have short-term or long-term effects, and may appear soon after disturbance or be delayed. Douglas et al. (1995) provide an excellent overview of works relevant to cumulative impacts, and Irwin and Rodes (1992) present a review of requirements for cumulative impacts in U.S. statutes and definitions of cumulative impacts. Extensive literature exists on cumulative impacts—what they are, how their effects can be assessed or evaluated, and how they can be managed (e.g., Preston and Bedford, 1988; Williamson and Hamilton, 1989; Irwin and Rodes, 1992; Hildebrand and Cannon, 1993; Douglas et al., 1995). Despite the long-time recognition of this phenomenon and a substantial literature that addresses it, we have not been particularly effective at assessing or managing cumulative impacts. Better interaction between natural and social scientists and policymakers is necessary and should improve our ability to manage cumulative impacts. In addition, the assessment and management of cumulative impacts has to occur at all levels—local, regional, and national, and it has to be an interactive and ongoing process. This paper addresses how science can be more effectively used in creating policy to manage cumulative effects on ecosystems. The paper focuses on the scientific techniques that we have to identify and to assess cumulative impacts on ecosystems. The term “sustainable development” was brought into common use by the World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission) in 1987. The Brundtland Commission report highlighted the need to address developmental and environmental imperatives simultaneously by calling for development that “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.” We cannot claim to be working toward sustainable development until we can quantitatively assess cumulative impacts on the environment: the two concepts are inextricably linked in that the elusiveness of cumulative effects likely has the greatest potential of keeping us from achieving sustainability. In this paper, assessment and management frameworks relevant to cumulative impacts are discussed along with recent literature on how to improve such assessments. When possible, examples are given for marine ecosystems.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Assessment Frameworks Researchers in Canada and the United States (Canadian Environmental Assessment Research Council and U.S. National Research Council, 1986; Peterson et al., 1987) have published excellent definitions and discussions of cumulative impacts and associated issues. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was one of the first federal agencies to work on developing an assessment protocol (Williamson et al., 1986). Very early the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supported research into cumulative effects in wetland ecosystems. Preston and Bedford (1988) synthesized concepts from an excellent collection of papers on wetlands; this was followed by the work of Liebowitz et al. (1992). Although not without problems, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) cumulative impact assessments and subsequent management of hydropower permits probably constitute the most extensive example of cumulative impact work within a U.S. federal agency. FERC's efforts include both a policy and numerous examples of its implementation (FERC 1985a,b; Cada and Hunsaker, 1990; Irving and Bain, 1993). Since 1978, the implementing regulation for NEPA required assessment of potential cumulative effects, and many of the states' “mini-NEPAs” also have such requirements. Frameworks provide a useful construct for the thought processes and work needed to accomplish any assessment. Two general frameworks are especially relevant to cumulative impact assessments. Ecological risk assessment, especially when applied at the regional scale (Hunsaker et al., 1990; Hunsaker, 1993), is one of these. The objective of risk-based ecological assessment is to provide a quantitative basis for comparing and balancing risks associated with environmental hazards. Risk assessment is distinguished from other assessments in that it provides a systematic means of improving the estimation and understanding of those risks and it explicitly recognizes and quantifies uncertainty about the risks. The EPA's framework for ecological risk assessment (Risk Assessment Forum, 1992) is a good synthesis of current scientific thinking and is conceptually similar to the National Research Council 's paradigm for human health risk assessments. Components of the risk assessment framework include problem formulation; analysis (i.e., characterization of exposure and characterization of ecological effects); data acquisition, verification, and monitoring; and risk characterization (Figure 1). Effective assessment and management of cumulative effects requires a holistic approach that recognizes the linkages between the activities that drive or create stress on ecosystems, the costs and benefits (market and nonmarket) of ecological effects, and the policy options. The World Bank (Serageldin and Steer, 1994) has stated that we will fail in our efforts to make development sustainable unless better progress is made to integrate the viewpoints of economists, ecologists, and sociologists. A truly holistic risk assessment would try to quantify, in some way, all of the applicable components shown in Figure 2. In reality, the assessment scientist is often able to quantify only some of these with any confidence—whether because of lack of information and knowledge or a lack of time and money. However, keeping the holistic picture in mind is important. Interaction between the
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium risk assessment scientist and the risk manager must occur at some level; however, risk analysis and risk management themselves remain separate activities (Figure 1). The risk assessment scientist provides the critical link between the policymaker and society and the scientists in the field and laboratory that gather and analyze ecological data (Figure 3). Often it is the assessment scientist who must translate fuzzy and complex questions and ideas from the policymaker or society into discreet assessment questions that can, hopefully, be answered through the use of data collected by the field and laboratory biologists. Suter (1993) discusses the role of societal values and ecological endpoints/indicators in the risk assessment process. Regional ecological risk assessment is especially suited to quantifying cumulative effects because it addresses a larger geographic scale and focuses on a structured problem formulation phase and the quantification of uncertainty. Cumulative impacts are best addressed at the regional scale because it is at this spatial scale and associated temporal scales that the majority of cumulative effects will manifest themselves (Hunsaker, 1993). Because the availability of data and models, as well as time and/or money will constrain the completeness of the assessment, following the structured problem formulation phase of risk assessment (Risk Assessment Forum, 1992) should help ensure a successful assessment of cumulative effects. During problem formulation the goals, breadth, and focus of the assessment are established, and the conceptual model is developed, including the stressors, endpoints, and spatial/temporal boundaries. Finally, because risk assessments include uncertainty or confidence estimates throughout the process, during the problem formulation phase the assessor may better focus on those stressors and endpoints that seem most critical and tractable for assessment. Furthermore, the inclusion of uncertainty in cumulative impact assessments should assist the risk manager in making policy or management decisions, which usually require trade-offs, to curtail cumulative effects. Irwin and Rodes (1992) present another unique framework developed to help identify the mismatch between the boundaries for management and the boundaries that define a cumulative impact (Figure 4). Crafted by scientists and policymakers actively involved in cumulative impact assessment, the framework provides program managers with a means of comparing the boundaries of management decisions with the boundaries of cumulative effects and their causes. On the basis of this comparison, managers should be able to determine whether a mismatch occurs and, if so, find ways to use more appropriate boundaries. A set of questions, discussions, and examples are provided to walk one through each step of the framework. The framework of Irwin and Rodes (1992) is complementary to risk assessment frameworks (Hunsaker et al., 1990; Risk Assessment Forum, 1992). The first assists managers in understanding why cumulative impacts are occurring; the latter, in quantifying those impacts. The separate frameworks highlight the important fact that assessment and management of cumulative impacts are separate but linked activities (Figure 1 and Figure 2). This linkage should be part of the role of the assessment scientist.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Good assessment scientists need to have multidisciplinary backgrounds and be able to synthesize and communicate information from the physical, biological, and social sciences (Figure 3). While a few good academic programs produce such graduates, significant impediments exist for the training and career development of such applied scientists. During the National Research Council's symposium Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy in the Gulf of Maine Region, discussions highlighted such impediments and included the following recommendations: modify academic reward systems to encourage applied research and to improve science-policy interactions, create incentives and/or provide adequate funding for interdisciplinary assessments, and identify and foster academic degree programs that produce graduates skilled in integrating information and communicating it to all parts of society. Techniques for Assessing Cumulative Impacts Shopley and Fuggle (1984) and Hunsaker and Williamson (1992) provide reviews of techniques for assessing cumulative impacts. Assessment techniques can be divided into those used for problem definition and those used for analysis and interpretation, two of the phases illustrated in EPA's ecological risk assessment framework (Figure 1). Ad hoc techniques, checklists, and matrices are often used for the problem definition phase. Techniques used in the analysis and interpretation phase include network or system diagrams, cartographic techniques, mathematical modeling, evaluation techniques, and adaptive methods or combinations. Weaknesses in assessment techniques consist of inability to quantify effects, especially at the ecosystem scale, lack of interactive or coupled models, and lack of models that can deal with multiple media and stresses. Concepts developing in the discipline of landscape ecology hold promise for helping with cumulative impact assessments, and several publications illustrate the importance of a landscape ecology approach (Bedford and Preston, 1988; Gosselink et al., 1990; Hunsaker et al., 1990) to evaluating cumulative effects. A landscape can be defined in terms of the following: structure—the spatial relationships between distinct elements, function—interactions between spatial elements, and change—temporal alterations in the structure and function of the landscape mosaic.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Landscape ecology is the study of the distribution patterns of communities and ecosystems, the ecological processes that affect those patterns, and changes in pattern and process over time (Forman and Godron, 1986). The study of scale, both spatial and temporal, is a major part of landscape ecology, and a better understanding of scale issues is critical for cumulative effects assessments (Hunsaker, 1993). While the majority of landscape ecology research has addressed terrestrial systems, landscape ecology concepts have been applied to marine ecosystems. Many of the impacts on coastal marine systems are caused by activities on land. Examples include (1) water pollution in coastal areas from land-use change and (2) habitat destruction in the land-water interface zone from increased recreation activities on the land. Landscape ecology seeks to relate landscape structure and pattern to ecosystem processes, and it often calculates pattern metrics on land cover maps developed from remotely sensed imagery. Using sonar data, the researcher can use the same computer algorithms to quantify the spatial pattern of ocean floor. Such information can be used to identify habitat for marine organisms and to measure change over time for large regions. The referenced studies illustrate how landscape ecology research and quantitative tools are relevant for marine ecosystems. Robbins and Bell (1994) discussed the application of landscape ecology principles to seagrass, and Browder et al. (1985) studied the relationship between marshland-water interface and marsh disintegration. Paine and Levin (1981) studied patch dynamics and disturbance in the rocky intertidal zone, and Steele (1989) evaluated pelagic zone habitat related to physical and chemical processes. Wetlands have served as case studies for landscape ecology, risk assessment, and cumulative effects research (Bedford and Preston, 1988; Gosselink et al., 1990; Liebowitz et al., 1992). Hunsaker et al. (1993) reviewed the use of geographic information systems and environmental models for the marine environment. Rieser and Vestal (1995 in press) reviewed both literature and case studies and organized a workshop on cumulative impacts. In their report on methodologies and mechanisms for management of cumulative coastal environmental impacts, Rieser and Vestal stress not only the contribution that landscape ecology has today but also it importance in the future. Improving Cumulative Impact Assessment and Management Many ideas have been discussed in the literature about how we can improve cumulative impact assessment, but only when assessment and management activities work together can we hope to be effective in understanding and controlling cumulative effects. Following are brief synopses of three recent papers that capture the essence of what we need to work on for improvement. Contant and Wiggins (1993) identified the following three areas to improve assessments: improving monitoring and prediction of actions and impacts over space and time;
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium increasing the knowledge of the responses of environmental systems to development perturbations, including synergistic and indirect effects; and developing management systems that provide the appropriate responses to actions that produce significant cumulative effects. Williamson (1993) stresses the importance of remembering that an assessment is a process: “. . . employ a problem-solving process that can be applied intensively to a wide range of situations and that utilizes adaptively the most appropriate methods and techniques. ” He states that to be effective, a cumulative impact assessment must use both a problem-solving process and scientific cause and effect, while cumulative impact management must use both goal setting and collaboration. In highlighting the need for a common language among scientists and policymakers, Douglas et al. (1995) state that our institutional capacities are inadequate to manage cumulative impacts because of fragmented, incremental decisionmaking. In other words, we need to design a new way of business. With regard to the need to integrate science and policy, Douglas et al. (1995) identify the following issues: management goals and research priorities; identification of methods, indicators, and causal models for evaluation of cumulative impacts; design of monitoring programs; and design and maintenance of databases and information management systems. As shown in Figure 3, the assessor and policymaker should know something about what society values. Often the scientist or policymaker assumes that they know about aspects of the environment the public values. However, this assumption is not appropriate. The EPA is funding a study to determine if people understand and care about the ecological indicators proposed by the scientists for monitoring and whether these indicators can be related to, or mapped onto, people's value domain(s). Figure 5 illustrates a schematic approach proposed for this research (Hunsaker et al., 1995). Conclusions Although NEPA legislation was effective in bringing both attention and efforts to bear on cumulative impacts, it has not provided an especially effective way of truly managing them except perhaps when a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) is being done (Cada and Hunsaker, 1990; Hunsaker, 1993). Aside from the fact that cumulative impacts are very hard to assess within usual time, dollar, and data constraints, an EIS usually does not have a long-term plan or vision to guide or give context to the single proposed
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium scientific basis. Because negative impacts may be neither sudden nor obvious, causal relationships are difficult to prove. The scientific capability to address cumulative environmental impacts in the marine environment is not well developed. This is especially true for chronic, sublethal impacts. Most scientific institutions and disciplines have difficulty in addressing cumulative impacts because the study and management of many cumulative impacts requires interdisciplinary science activities. The evaluation of cumulative impacts requires an analysis of multiple, additive, and synergistic effects, over a longer period of time and on more complex scales than is traditional, within a planning context that takes into account past and future conditions. The absence of meaningful incentives is a major hindrance to interactions between scientists and policymakers in addressing cumulative impacts. Coherent research programs focused on cumulative impacts should be established. These programs should be interdisciplinary and include modeling, monitoring, and research to achieve credible and effective analytical and predictive capabilities. Report of the First Subgroup Chair: Jack Wiggin (University of Massachusetts) Facilitator: Peg Brady (Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management) Rapporteur: Alison Rieser (University of Maine School of Law) Other Participants: David Burdick (University of New Hampshire), John Catena (NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service), Christine Gault (Waquoit National Estuarine Research Reserve), Ramona Habler (EPA), Madeleine Hall-Arber (MIT Sea Grant College Program), Timothy Hennessey (University of Rhode Island), Jack Mette (Appledore Engineering, Inc.), Paul Scholz (NOAA Center for Coastal Ecosystem Health), and Jack Wiggin (University of Massachusetts) Assessment and management of cumulative impacts is a multistep process that requires close cooperation between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Critical, initial steps of the cumulative impact assessment process are: (1) a definable area is perceived to have a problem with some or many natural resources; (2) groups that control the use of the area or natural resource develop (with scientists and policymakers) a consensus about what cumulative impacts need to be assessed in more detail; (3) the identified impacts can be assessed by (a) choosing indicators of resource condition, (b) performing historical analysis using existing data, (c) collecting more data if needed (which isn't always the case), (d) modeling, and (e) predicting scenarios using the “best available science/precautionary”
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium approach; and (4) policymakers, scientists, and the public must then work together so that everyone understands the management options, the predicted costs and benefits for each option, and the uncertainty of the predictions about how the social and natural systems will respond to each option. Information Needs of Policymakers Policymakers need a variety of information to enable them to manage cumulative impacts. In addition to information, they need to have legal, administrative, and technical support to incorporate cumulative impacts in the decision-making process. The definition of cumulative impacts needs to be simplified and environmental policies should be evaluated regularly within the cumulative impacts context. Often, there is neither the technical capability not a clear mandate on which to base decisions. When scientific information is presented to policymakers, it should include a range of scientific options, so that the policymakers can develop a range of management options. In this approach, policymakers can select the actions that are most acceptable or useful for both environmental protection and the needs of the stakeholders. The range of options may provide predictive information about stakeholders' needs of the future. Examples of information needed by policymakers include: better knowledge and understanding of the potential cumulative impacts of policy decisions; status and trends of resources managed (i.e., land-use patterns, demographics, economic pressures on resources); stakeholders' interests (i.e., competing demands for resources and environmental quality from user groups and from other members of the public); better information about the key indicators of cumulative impacts; information about the relationships of ecosystem and social structures and functions. What impacts can we anticipate now and what can we predict about future human development patterns and their impacts on the affected environments?; and the capacity of marine and estuarine systems to absorb impacts.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Natural Science Issues There is no agreement about how to study and manage complex interactions among different environmental stresses that could contribute to cumulative impacts. It is clear, however, that the relationship between the degree of individual environmental stresses and their impacts on ecosystem function must be quantified, so that land-use controls, effluent limits, or other requirements can be focused on the most important sources of adverse effects. This is a key area for future research, including long-term research needed to understand some types of impacts. Techniques of landscape ecology that relate landscape structure and patterns to ecological functions have allowed scientists specializing in terrestrial systems to (1) develop cumulative assessment methods for these ecosystems and (2) influence management and regulatory options to protect and restore terrestrial systems to some desired level of function. The same knowledge base of landscape patterns and structure does not exist for marine or estuarine systems; therefore, the causes and significance of cumulative impacts on marine systems are much less certain. In addition, marine systems possess unique variables, for example, three-dimensionality and larval transport over large distances, that prevent the direct application of landscape techniques developed for terrestrial systems. Increased knowledge of factors that are specific to marine systems will be needed to lay a foundation for transfer of these techniques. The motivation for scientists to conduct research is often focused on the intellectual question or curiosity, rather than on the application of the information. This leaves some of the stakeholders in the coastal policy-making process with the perception that scientists are averse to applied research. Social Science Issues From the social sciences, we need knowledge about how best to involve all the stakeholders in planning, development, and evaluation, to ensure that all participants will be more likely to accept the management and/or regulatory consequences of new policies. We need a shared vision of the results that are achievable for a given ecosystem. There is a need for information about how to achieve balance among social, economic, and biological needs in the face of competing or conflicting interests. There is also a need to use information from sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics for management, communications, education, and facilitation of coastal policy making and management. Social scientists can contribute information about the societal costs of adverse environmental impacts and about the benefits of avoiding these impacts.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Nature of Existing Science and Policy Interactions Existing interactions between scientists and policymakers are minimal in the Gulf of Maine region for all levels of government and for all kinds of science. However, people in the region understand that improved interactions are desirable, and there is movement in the direction of greater interaction. The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, where nutrient loading models have been developed to support local zoning ordinances to reduce nitrogen inputs to the estuary, appears to be a successful example. The group cited the Atlantic Canada Coastal Program in the Canadian Maritime Provinces as another successful example. National Estuary Programs of the Gulf of Maine region provide a potential avenue for greater involvement of social and natural scientists in science-policy interactions. Impediments in the Existing Science and Policy Interactions Scientific questions associated with assessing cumulative impacts are quite difficult, and scientists are somewhat daunted by questions raised under this issue because it involves so many processes and factors that not are well understood individually, much less in an integrated sense. Scientific investigations of cumulative impacts may require a higher degree of certainty or precision than is needed by management or regulatory programs. Institutional factors can impede the sharing and integration of information that is necessary for dealing with cumulative impacts. This integration often requires the cooperation of scientists from several different disciplines. The goal should be to achieve a multidisciplinary approach to environmental problems, followed by a synthesis of results in a manner that is useful to managers. There is a need for both greater intra- and interagency collaboration and coordination. Agencies often lack the capacity for synthesis and translation of research results. Presently, there are few people whose responsibility is to communicate scientific information between scientists and managers, to serve as translators (see Appendix E). Some research programs that were explicitly created to generate management-related scientific and technical information were, only recently, given the resources, including staff, to accomplish this function. Managers and regulators tend not to be consulted in the design of research projects and in the review of research proposed in response to requests for proposals. Recently, however, a number of federal research programs have mandated the inclusion of managers in the peer-review process. For example, proposals for the Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) included state coastal zone managers and the representatives of the NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). Likewise, OCRM/C-CAP collaborative research required
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium the involvement of state coastal managers in all proposals. Collaborative research projects between OCRM and the Environmental Protection Agency 's Office of Wetlands and Ocean Waters on nonpoint source pollution of coastal waters also required input from managers as part of the review process. Finally, state programs of the National Sea Grant College Program often ask industry and governmental users of research information to review program proposals. Research and management programs have generally not been evaluated regarding the extent to which science and management were integrated. For example, the Section 312 reviews of the National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) or of state coastal zone management programs have not been used in this fashion. Environmental managers have not asked these programs to be accountable for applying information developed by the NERRs or National Estuary Programs (assuming that these programs have generated information applicable to other systems). Ways of Improving the Interaction of Science and Policy Management agencies need to develop areawide comprehensive planning programs for all sectors of the coast to address the problem of cumulative impacts. Existing models might be the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans of the National Estuary Program or the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern program in Massachusetts. The characteristics of these programs worth emulating are (1) stakeholders' involvement in determining needs and direction in the early stages of the programs (stakeholders in this context means citizens, scientists, managers, and policymakers); (2) reliance of these programs on scientific information; and (3) conduct of foundational scientific research before program plans are developed. These characteristics ensure that social and scientific concerns form the foundation of the plans, rather than being considered later, as part of regulatory processes. For example, some members of the group believe that a state planning and approval process similar to that required for federal activities by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would help to integrate science into decision making at state levels. A NEPA-like process allows greater opportunity for managing cumulative impacts. Involvement of stakeholders in coastal policy making was highlighted as an important element of improving the use of science in coastal management. Stakeholders should be involved in setting priorities and selecting research activities and in evaluating and applying research results. Managers, scientists, and other stakeholders should be on panels to decide what scientific research will be funded as part of research programs that are designed to provide management-relevant science. Early involvement of stakeholders will make it more likely, although not entirely certain, that policy solutions will be acceptable to stakeholders later.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Cooperation among stakeholders, and particularly between scientists and policymakers, should include the joint preparation of written plans describing how agencies (local, state, and federal) will pursue integration of science and policy. As discussed above, agency managers can be encouraged to integrate science and policy by making their performance of such integration a part of their evaluations. NOAA 's Coastal Ocean Program and Center for Coastal Ecosystem Health are attempting to involve managers in research planning. The group suggested integrating or coordinating the evaluation of research and management programs and activities, for example, the Section 312 review of state CZM programs and NERRs. This suggestion could also logically be extended to other programs, such as the National Estuary Program.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Report of the Second Subgroup Chair: John Teal (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Facilitator: Fran Rudoff (Maine Department of Economic and Community Development) Rapporteur: Peter Douglas (California Coastal Commission) Other Participants: Richard Burroughs (University of Rhode Island), John Costlow (Duke University, ret.), Daniel Farrow (NOAA), Jonathan Garber (EPA), Timothy Glidden (Natural Resources Council of Maine), Larry Hamilton (University of New Hampshire), Kenneth Hood (EPA/ORD), Carolyn Hunsaker (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Jack Pearce (NOAA/NMFS), Wendy Porter (Champion International Corp.), Gail Wipplehauser (Maine Natural Areas Program), Melissa Waterman (Maine State Planning Office) The subgroup organized its discussion around two scenarios—(1) a natural resource problem relating to cumulative impacts found on a very small scale (e.g., a small bay within a much larger regional embayment) and (2) a scenario based on the larger geographic reach. With respect to each scenario, the group agreed that six key questions need to be answered to promote effective science-policy interaction. Who are the policymakers/implementors? Who are the stakeholders? What are the information needs of each? What impediments exist to improving involvement of scientists? What means can be identified to improve interactions between scientists and policymakers? What specific suggestions for action can the group endorse? First Scenario: Cumulative Impacts in Small-Scale Setting The group specified a hypothetical small bay within a much larger embayment. The bay contains a variety of natural resources (e.g., commercial and recreational shellfisheries, beaches, fish nurseries, wetlands, wildlife, visual resources of greater than local importance). The watershed for this small bay contains a variety of land uses [e.g., residential, agricultural, managed and unmanaged forests, and public works (roads, sewer plant)]. The hypothetical cumulative impact was the decline of shellfish harvest as a result of pathogens harmful to humans. The group focused on the effect of land-use policies on this problem. The relevant policymakers/implementors include the legislative authorities (local/state/federal) and regulatory agencies with applicable jurisdiction. Stakeholders include commercial and recreational clam diggers, local homeowners, nonresidential
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium interests, small businesses, builders/developers, nongovernmental organizations having an expressed interest in the health of the bay, and the public agency stewards of the bay's natural resources. Information needs of stakeholders and policymakers/implementors include: an assessment of the environmental parameters and processes in the watershed and waters of the bay that relate to the biological health and productivity of shellfish, measurements of the concentration of pathogens in the bay, relevant water chemistry data, identification of the potential multiple causes of contamination and data on the relative contribution of animals and humans to the pathogen problem, an evaluation of alternative solutions to the problem and their potential short- and long-term consequences, information about the costs and benefits of the potential solutions, an evaluation of how the problem is linked to the larger system(s) affecting the bay (e.g., hydrology), and an evaluation of the division of institutional responsibilities relative to the treatment of the problem(s). Scientific input should be timely, understandable, and credible. The provision of sound scientific information might be impeded by: insufficient time to acquire, compile, and interpret the necessary information, inadequate resources (funding) and lack of incentives to ensure that scientific work is performed and effectively communicated to policymakers, uncertainties about the conclusions regarding cause and effect relationships, political realities that discourage the development and communication of scientific information,
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium efforts by special interests seeking to interfere with and delay the gathering of the information, failure of institutions and individuals to address long-term consequences, and lack of consistently derived and readily available basic information for assessing environmental problems, prepared at appropriate scales (e.g., land-use cover, soils, shellfish areas). Actions for improving the interactions of science and policy could include: Gather and catalog relevant data, at the appropriate scale(s), on an ongoing basis. Ensure that scientific information is translated into language that is understandable to stakeholders and communicated to them. Initiate actions, such as workshops, to educate stakeholders about the availability and importance of scientific information. Implement actions to bring stakeholders together on a regular basis to inform them about the information that has been developed. Encourage innovative techniques, such as using a facilitated dispute resolution mechanism, that require the use of scientific information and provide incentives to foster public participation. Include socioeconomic considerations when alternative solutions are evaluated. Take the necessary steps to match the solutions to the appropriate “institutions” to ensure efficiencies and to link those institutions in an appropriate way. Take steps to ensure that the media is kept informed, so as to encourage the dissemination of accurate information to the public. Second Scenario: Cumulative Impacts in Large-Scale Setting Dealing with cumulative impacts on a larger scale is likely to involve all the factors mentioned for the small-scale scenario, plus some additional factors unique to the large-scale scenario. There are additional policymakers and implementors, such as international bodies, requiring that more decisions be made. The diversity of stakeholders (e.g., non-resident interests, federal agencies, international interests, financial interests) increases. Therefore, the goals and motivations of stakeholders are more diverse.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Additional information, with more emphasis on that larger perspective, would be required under this scenario. Information needs may increase due to the nature and extent of the larger system (physical, cultural, and political) and of problems at this larger scale. The additional information needed and the approach to it are somewhat different, and include: information derived from modeling, used in an appropriate manner, a better understanding of the limits of the knowledge that is available, and information that addresses longer time periods. The same obstacles to effective input of scientific information exist as for the small-scale scenario, but most are magnified. Additional obstacles include: the likely absence of consensus on the nature (definition) of the problem, the lack of agreement within the scientific community about certain technical issues and data, the likelihood of “turf wars” among government agencies, the probability of poor communications and coordination among agencies, the existence of legal impediments (i.e., potential for litigation) to the sharing of technical information, the increased difficulty of achieving effective public education and participation, and the likelihood that the institutional arrangements and the division of management responsibilities will not be suited to the dimensions of the natural system in which the problem occurs. It was suggested that policymakers take advantage of existing international arrangements, such as the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (primarily Atlantic nations) and the International Joint Commission (United States-Canada), to improve science-policy interactions. The following suggestions recognize that addressing cumulative impacts will require interdisciplinary scientific input. In addition to mechanisms identified for the small-scale scenario, the following measures apply to the large-scale scenario. Make incentives (funding) available and find ways to encourage greater linkages among disciplines and among stakeholders.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Modify academic reward systems to encourage applied research and to improve science-policy interactions. Identify and foster academic degree programs that produce graduates skilled in integrating information and communicating it among stakeholders. Establish apprenticeship and mentoring programs, career tracks, and other initiatives that further the integration of science and policy. Expand intergovernmental personnel agreement programs at all levels of government and extend them to include nongovernmental organizations. Plan and convene meetings designed to encourage the nonadversarial exchange of information among stakeholders. Develop special incentive programs that improve the quality of science and environmental reporting in the media (e.g., special award programs). Identify and implement initiatives and actions to expand the ethnic diversity of environmental managers and scientists. A fundamental need in the Gulf of Maine region is for an environmental impact assessment process at the state level akin to the federal environmental impact assessment process required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. Accordingly, appropriate legislation is needed to mandate that scientific information be prepared and made available for use by decisionmakers.
Representative terms from entire chapter: