4
Regional Marine Research Programs

In this chapter, several regional marine research programs (RMRPs) are discussed in detail. The objective of this analysis is to identify aspects of the planning, implementation, and administration of these programs that either contributed to their success or proved an impediment. Success is considered not only in terms of scientific accomplishments, but also in terms of benefits to managers, agencies, and other consumers of scientific information.

NUTRIENT ENHANCED COASTAL OCEAN PRODUCTIVITY (NECOP) CASE STUDY

Goals

The NECOP program was initiated in 1989 as part of the Coastal Ecosystem Health theme of the newly established Coastal Ocean Program (COP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The major themes of COP are:

  • fisheries management in an ecosystem context,

  • ecosystem health, and

  • coastal hazards (the coastal forecast system).

The long-term goal of NECOP was to "improve the environmental quality of coastal waters by predicting the harmful effects of nutrient over-enrichment" (NOAA, 1991). Immediate goals were to determine quantitatively the degree to



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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research 4 Regional Marine Research Programs In this chapter, several regional marine research programs (RMRPs) are discussed in detail. The objective of this analysis is to identify aspects of the planning, implementation, and administration of these programs that either contributed to their success or proved an impediment. Success is considered not only in terms of scientific accomplishments, but also in terms of benefits to managers, agencies, and other consumers of scientific information. NUTRIENT ENHANCED COASTAL OCEAN PRODUCTIVITY (NECOP) CASE STUDY Goals The NECOP program was initiated in 1989 as part of the Coastal Ecosystem Health theme of the newly established Coastal Ocean Program (COP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The major themes of COP are: fisheries management in an ecosystem context, ecosystem health, and coastal hazards (the coastal forecast system). The long-term goal of NECOP was to "improve the environmental quality of coastal waters by predicting the harmful effects of nutrient over-enrichment" (NOAA, 1991). Immediate goals were to determine quantitatively the degree to

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research which coastal primary productivity has been enhanced in areas receiving inputs of nutrients from terrestrial sources, determine the impact of enhanced production on water quality, and determine the fate of fixed carbon in coastal areas and its impact on living marine resources and the global carbon cycle. The northern Gulf of Mexico directly affected by the discharge of the Mississippi-Atchafalaya river system was the only region selected for this program, although originally, several studies of coastal ecosystems impacted by riverine inputs of nutrients were anticipated. This region was selected based on four criteria: a clear anthropogenic signal in the distribution of nutrients, elevated phytoplankton biomass, demonstrable impact on water quality due to enhanced productivity, and the presence of regional living resources of significant value. It is interesting to compare the goals of NECOP with those established through the RMRP process that gave rise to the Gulf of Mexico Regional Marine Research (RMR) Plan. Through a series of workshops, the RMR Board for the Gulf of Mexico region identified 12 research priorities: freshwater and sediment inputs, saltwater intrusion, nutrient enrichment and cycling, toxic materials, trophic dynamics, population stability of marine organisms, nuisance and exotic species, habitat use and modification, physical modifications including dredging-dumping and alterations of freshwater flow, coastal erosion and sediment budgets, catastrophic events, and global change. The RMR Board identified the following research priorities: Develop a comprehensive ecosystem model of the Gulf of Mexico to guide the development of smaller scale predictive models, define information gaps, and track progress toward filling these gaps; Study physical, chemical, and ecological processes in the inshore zone (< 25 m); Study the offshore zone (> 25m) and the Loop Current as it influences the linkage between inshore and offshore processes. The concept of a region as the next largest scale that must be studied to understand the local problem of interest and the importance of coastal circulation is clearly incorporated in these priorities. NECOP addressed research questions related to inputs of freshwater, nutrients and sediments, nutrient cycling, and trophic dynamics, and was primarily concerned with the inshore environment. Thus, the goals of NECOP were within the broader scope of the RMRP for the Gulf of Mexico. Duration, Funding, and Principal Investigators From 1989 to 1996, 49 scientists, 19 federal and 30 non-federal, from 14 institutions participated in an interdisciplinary study of the continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico at a total funding of $9.5M (85% research, 14%

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research management, and 1% outreach). A final synthesis of results was completed in 1999 (Wiseman, 1999). Program Management NECOP was conceived at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) workshop in Fiscal Year (FY) 1988 and initiated in 1989 by a NOAA Coastal Ocean Productivity/Nutrient Enhanced Workshop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Field studies began during summer 1990 and were completed in 1993. In consultation with the Director of COP, the Program Management Committee (PMC; established in 1989) developed and issued calls for proposals in FY 1989 for FY 1990-91 and in FY 1992 for FY 1992-93. The PMC was also responsible for proposal review and funding decisions. The first call for proposals targeted five areas for funding: retrospective analyses received $375,000 for work on sediment cores, a Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) database, and synthesis of historical data; monitoring of dissolved oxygen received $175,000; synoptic measurements and process studies received $650,000 for studies focusing on productivity, development of hypoxia, and carbon transport; modeling was allocated $150,000 to develop mass balances for the inner shelf; and impacts on biota received $125,000. Fifteen proposals were funded. Information is not available on the number of proposals submitted during this first year. Funding was initiated in May 1990. The second call for proposals targeted the following areas for funding: assess the importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and silicon in limiting phytoplankton productivity and biomass; determine seasonal variation in the rates of new and regenerated productivity; enhance the modeling effort by determining fluxes and physical linkages among various study regions; enhance research on hypoxia by expanding studies on the effects of low oxygen on living resources; and assess the impact of hypoxia on socioeconomic conditions in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Of the 26 proposals submitted, 17 were funded. Funding was initiated in March 1992. The final three years (FY 1994-1996) of the project (Appendix D — NECOP spreadsheet) were funded at a reduced level of support for renewals and synthesis. It is noteworthy that the 1994 Ocean Studies Board (OSB) review of COP (NRC, 1994a) found that the solicitation and review procedures were not uniform in terms of the treatment of proposals from NOAA and academic scientists. The panel recommended that procedures for solicitation and review of proposals be "standardized." Data Management and Dissemination In FY 1990, a data management center was established at NOAA, the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML). A workshop on data

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research management was conducted in FY 1993 (the last year of field studies) to discuss data synthesis and data products. Synthesis and the development and calibration of a water quality model continued through 1996. Data submission to the NECOP data manager was completed in FY 1996 and all data were forwarded to the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). External Reviews The project was subjected to an external review in October 1991. The review committee concluded that: The problem of coastal nutrient enrichment is important and requires a focused, multidisciplinary study, such as NECOP; The rationale for defining the limits of the study area and selecting the current mix of funded projects was not clear; The sampling program is unlikely to provide the data needed to determine characteristic scales of variability in river discharge and plume dynamics; The project does not appear to be well coordinated. Several recommendations were made as follows: Elect 3-5 principal investigators to serve on the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to effect better coordination between research needs, recommendations of the TAC, and decisions of the PMC; Enhance the effort to determine the history of hypoxia based on analysis of the sediment record; Make a serious effort to quantify the sources of nutrients (natural, fertilizer, sewage, etc.); Effect greater collaboration and coordination between the observational and modeling efforts; and Develop a more effective strategy for observing the system on time and space scales that are relevant to the goals of the program and for coordinating surveys with more intense and detailed process studies. In response, NOAA reconstituted the TAC with representation by principal investigators, agreed to devote additional resources to retrospective analysis of the sediment record, and worked to develop more effective collaboration among field and monitoring efforts. Quantification of sources was not seen as a NECOP responsibility, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was expected to provide access to pertinent data. The availability and cost of ship time was a concern and a plan to address sampling issues was not articulated.

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research FIGURE 4-1 Hypoxia zone on the continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Monitoring of dissolved oxygen in bottom waters contributes to research and management efforts to assess the impact of excess nutrient inputs from the Mississippi watershed on the coastal ecosystem. From: Rabalais, N.N., R.E. Turner, and W.J. Wiseman, Jr., unpublished data.

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research Extent to Which the Goals Were Achieved Significant progress was made in understanding the relationships among nutrient loading, phytoplankton production, and the development of bottom water hypoxia. The project excelled in raising the level of public awareness of the problem. NECOP also provided a more complete historical perspective of the volume and areal extent of hypoxia in the region and showed that anthropogenic nutrient inputs and climate are important parameters of the spatial and temporal magnitude of hypoxia. However, based on the most recent synthesis, the original program goals were not achieved. It is obvious, from the nutrient fields alone, that increases in nutrient loading have resulted in an increase in phytoplankton production. However, the magnitude by which productivity has been enhanced, the quantitative impacts of the higher production, and the fate of phytoplankton production are still a matter of speculation. The program suffered in two important ways: Excessive focus on the immediate mixing plume off Southwest Pass and inadequate attention to the shelf dynamics downcurrent and off the Atchafalaya, where hypoxia is produced and maintained, and A sampling program that was inadequate for documenting important scales of variability and the physical and ecological dynamics of the coastal plume. Among other things, variations in larger scale coastal circulation are likely to have a substantial impact on plume dynamics and the relationships between nutrient inputs, phytoplankton production, and oxygen depletion. Relationships and Collaboration with Other Programs When the project was originally conceived, the field program was to be coordinated with the Louisiana-Texas Shelf Physical Oceanography Program (LaTex), a six-year project to determine the dynamics of circulation, transport, and cross-shelf mixing over the Texas-Louisiana shelf (sponsored by the U.S. Minerals Management Service [MMS]). Unfortunately, NECOP and LaTex were not well coordinated and, to date, the results of LaTex have been of limited value in defining the physical oceanographic setting and regional framework required for understanding plume dynamics and the fate of enhanced primary production. Legacies, Impacts, and Public Awareness NECOP was influential in bringing the problem of the seasonal occurrence of hypoxic bottom water in the northern Gulf of Mexico to the attention of decisionmakers and the public. Broader awareness of the issue has generated

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research support for research and monitoring to address the causes of coastal eutrophication. Since the completion of NECOP in 1996, NOAA has continued to support the monitoring of dissolved oxygen during summer (Figure 4-1). This has sustained a monitoring effort that began in 1985 and was continued as part of NECOP. The occurrence of hypoxic bottom water during the summer is among the most pressing water quality issues in U.S. coastal waters. The first Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Management Conference was convened by Natural Resources Hypoxia Work Group (CENR) in December 1995 to discuss the problem, and the Mississippi River-Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force was formed in 1997 to discuss mitigation strategies. The Task Force initiated two parallel efforts: (1) an ecosystem-watershed management effort to identify actions that are acceptable to all concerned parties and can be taken immediately to reduce excess nutrient loads (CENR, 1998) and (2) an assessment of the causes and consequences of Gulf hypoxia to provide the scientific basis for the development of nutrient management strategies. Six technical reports are publicly available and a draft-integrated assessment has been released for public comment by NOAA (National Ocean Service, 1999). GULF OF MAINE REGIONAL MARINE RESEARCH PROGRAM (GOM-RMRP) CASE STUDY Goals The broad goals of the RMRP and COP are very similar, in that they both emphasize the health of coastal ecosystems. However, the organizational structure of the RMRP was somewhat different. COP identified a specific region to study the environmental problem of nutrient enrichment and hypoxia and emphasized the collaboration between NOAA and academic scientists. In contrast, the emphasis of the RMRP was on the regional coordination of research and monitoring projects and the promotion of more effective collaborations between scientists and managers. The goals of the GOM-RMRP were stated within the Gulf of Maine Research Plan (GOM-RMRP, 1992). The 10-year program goal was to "work toward development of a suite of models that collectively simulate how the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and its interacting components function naturally and under stress." Achievement of these ambitious goals was still below the horizon when the program terminated after 5 years. The broad societal concerns to be addressed by the GOM-RMRP were that contamination of the Gulf of Maine degrades living marine resources or alters ecosystem structure and that physical changes to habitats in the Gulf of Maine alter ecosystem structure and functioning. The scientific questions identified as being appropriate for study under the GOM-RMRP included:

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research What are the sources, pathways, fates, and effects of contaminants on living marine resources in the Gulf of Maine? What are the causes and effects of noxious and/or excessive phytoplankton concentrations? What is the relative importance of natural and human-induced changes to the physical environment on ecosystem structure and function? How susceptible are various parts of the Gulf to dissolved oxygen depletion? It was recognized that the limited resources available would not permit all of these questions to be addressed immediately. Questions 1 and 2 were given the highest priority for initial funding based on consideration of the kinds of information needed to address these issues and the feasibility and importance of acquiring and using this information to achieve predictive capability for the Gulf of Maine system. The highest priority information needs were contaminant transport and cycling for Question 1 and causes of noxious algal blooms for Question 2. Duration, Funding, and Principal Investigators From 1993 to 1998, 49 investigators from 17 institutions participated in the GOM-RMRP. Total funding was just over $7 million (82% research, 17% management, and 1% outreach). Because of their geographic proximity to the Gulf of Maine, all of these institutions (and many of the individual investigators) had a substantial record of previous research in the region and most were members of Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine (RARGOM). While NECOP focused on the effects of nutrient enrichment on the production and fate of phytoplankton biomass, the GOM-RMRP exhibited more diversity as a consequence of the process by which proposals were selected for funding. As far as can be inferred from the titles of the proposals, 19% of the research funding went to projects explicitly concerned with harmful algal blooms (HABs), 22% to contaminant-related studies, 26% to physical oceanography, and 22% to studies of primary productivity and chemical oceanography not specifically related to HABs or contaminants. Data management received 5% of the funding, an ecosystem model received 3%, and the remaining 4% of funds went to other research areas (Appendix D - GOM-RMRP spreadsheet). The GOM-RMRP funding pattern indicates that better understanding of such fundamentals as circulation and links between physical processes and primary productivity were deemed essential to addressing questions related to HABs and contaminants. The investments in data management and integrative modeling were quite modest, probably reflecting the short duration of the program.

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research Program Management Unlike some of the other regions constituted by the RMRP legislation, the Gulf of Maine had a long tradition of collaborative research activities among regional institutions, and joint research planning activities had occurred from at least the mid-1980s. The broad scientific questions presented in the GOM-RMR Plan (GOM-RMRP, 1992) were identified based on input from a broad cross section of the scientific community, resource managers, agencies concerned with environmental conservation, environmental policymakers, and others (see Chapter 3). RARGOM, an association of marine research institutions and federal, state, and provincial agencies from the United States and Canada, was founded in 1991 to coordinate, facilitate, and stimulate research on the Gulf of Maine. At about the same time, a tri-state task group was formed to assist the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts in the formation of an RMR Board for the Gulf of Maine. The task group recommended involvement of the scientific community in developing the regional plan, so prior to the appointment of the RMR Board, its Chairman (Dr. Robert Wall) asked RARGOM to assist in drafting the RMR plan. In December 1991, after the passage of the RMRP legislation, a Gulf of Maine Scientific Workshop was held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The workshop proceedings summarized current knowledge of the Gulf of Maine, identified major gaps in understanding, and made recommendations for future research activities. The Woods Hole workshop was a valuable tool for identifying research needs and informing institutional leaders about the RMRP. Also, it stimulated the formation of a regional association of marine research institutions, RARGOM, from the previously state-only Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine (ARGO-Maine). The RMR Board, which included representatives from universities, state, and federal agencies, developed the RMR Plan based on the draft prepared by RARGOM and other regional planning activities. The RMR Plan was submitted to NOAA and EPA for approval in June 1992, and the RMR Board immediately issued an Announcement of Research Opportunity (ARO) based on the Plan. The development of the Plan was guided by the following questions: What are the priority marine issues at the scale of the Gulf of Maine, from a societal perspective, that science can address with a predictive capability? What are the scientific questions that are posed by these issues, and what specific information needs are thus implied? Within the context of the broad scientific questions listed under Goals, priorities were set by the RMRP based upon the answers to these questions:

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research How much of this information is either already available, presently being generated in other programs, and fits the purview of this specific legislation? What are the most important of these information needs in order to bring about usable predictive capability over a decadal time span? Which of these issues need to be addressed earlier versus later in this decadal time span? Based on these criteria, the RMR Plan included a table of research priorities related to the four major scientific questions. The highest priority issues were listed in the ARO; and reviewers were instructed to consider the table of priorities when evaluating the proposals. The reviewers also considered the normal criteria of scientific quality of the proposed research, qualifications of personnel, and suitability of facilities. In addition, linkages to ongoing work and to existing and projected databases contributed to a favorable evaluation. Interdisciplinary research approaches and multidisciplinary modeling efforts were identified as deserving support; however, the latter ultimately received very little funding. In all, four AROs were issued; all were similar, although later ones included information on projects that had already been funded. Following mail review, submitted proposals were further evaluated by a review panel convened by the RMR Board. Based upon their recommendations, the Board selected proposals for funding. From 1993-96, Dr. David Townsend was chosen by the RMR Board to serve as Executive Director of the GOM-RMRP. He was responsible for overseeing the proposal solicitation and review process, disbursement of funds, and other Program oversight. After the RMRP authorizing legislation expired in 1996, Dr. Townsend continued unofficially as Director for one year. However, since 1997, which also saw the retirement of Board Chairman Dr. Robert Wall, there has been no administrative office for the GOM-RMRP. Data Management and Dissemination A small proportion (5%) of the total research funding of the RMRP was specifically allocated to data management. In addition, a fraction of the effort of the program scientists was also directed toward these activities. The main, unified presentation of the data and accomplishments of the GOM-RMRP is contained in a web site (USGS, 1999), entitled Research Environmental Data and Information Management System (REDIMS) for the Gulf of Maine. Although the original RMRP funding for this site has ended, it is still maintained by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Woods Hole. In addition to project descriptions, data, and, for a few projects, final reports from the RMRP, there are links to many sources of data, models, and other information. The RMRP data archived so far consists mainly of descriptive physical oceanography. The database is ''distributed," that

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research is, individual investigators maintain their own data sites linked to REDIMS. This raises some concern for the future survival of this dataset as a coherent entity. The main avenues for dissemination of the RMRP results appear to be the website (Anderson et al., 1998) and traditional avenues of scientific publication (Appendix E). The website is geared to a professional audience, but could be useful to the scientific staff of local, state, or federal government agencies. There was little information available on public outreach. External Reviews There were no comprehensive, formal external reviews of the GOM-RMRP. Extent to Which the Goals Were Achieved Since funding for many of the major components continued into 1998, it is somewhat premature to evaluate the scientific impact of the GOM-RMRP. Although the website compilation of research results and publications is probably not completely current, it provides an initial basis for assessing the GOM-RMRP accomplishments. GOM-RMRP grant recipients identified 88 publications that were supported by the funds from the program (Appendix E). Of the 28 projects funded, 10 now have associated data links on the website. However, there has been no final synthesis of the results. There has not been much tangible progress toward the 10-year goal stated in the RMR Plan, "to work toward development of a suite of models that collectively simulate how the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and its interacting components function naturally and under stress." With funding provided for only 5 of the 10 years of the program, completion of the goals cannot be expected. The RMRP convened, organized, and sponsored a number of workshops and symposia intended to foster interactions among research groups and synthesis of research findings. These included principal investigator (PI) meetings in the Fall 1994 and 1995 and workshops on physical circulation modeling (1993) and ecosystem modeling (1995), but they occurred before most of the data were gathered and before PIs had thoroughly analyzed their own data. Because funding for the RMRP ended early, opportunities for taking the next step toward synthesis and interdisciplinary modeling were limited. The GOM-RMRP has resulted in clear progress toward a better understanding of Gulf of Maine circulation and the role of wind forcing (Brown, 1998). Better understanding of the circulation will also certainly contribute to future understanding of contaminant transport, although that linkage has not yet been made. So far, interdisciplinary synergism is best illustrated by the work on the dinoflagellate Alexandrium (Anderson, 1997), where the inflow of freshwater, winds, and the resultant coastal circulation have been found to strongly influence the spatial and temporal distribution of this toxic species (Figure 4-2). Hence,

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research FIGURE 4-2 Salinity and dinoflagellate (Alexandrium) distributions during the first cruise (Leg II) of 1994 (May 2-4). These observations indicate a correlation between the inflow of freshwater (decreasing salinity shown by darker shading) and blooms of this toxic dinoflagellate (increasing density of dinoflagellates shown by darker shading). From: D.M. Anderson, unpublished data. substantial progress has been made on the question: what are the causes of noxious phytoplankton concentrations? Another accomplishment of the RMRP has been to lay a foundation for further studies of harmful algae, such as those sponsored by The Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (EcoHAB) Program. In conclusion, the GOM-RMRP had, and continues to have, many of the key elements necessary to address the guiding questions concerning contaminant transport and occurrences of phytoplankton. These include a clear definition of programmatic goals that all proposals were required to address; the decision to selectively fund a small number of projects (rather than underfund many projects), and the emphasis on interdisciplinary research (physical, biological, and chemical oceanography) that provides the fundamental context for interpretation of contaminant and phytoplankton data. Problems arose from the lack of a long-term, continuing state and federal commitment for the RMRP. This resulted in the unexpected, early termination of funding after 5 years of what was originally

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research designed to be 10-year project. As a consequence, there was a lack of 'sunset' management funds needed to bring the program to an organized conclusion. Although many of the PIs continue to interact on other collaborative research projects and at planning exercises for future Gulf of Maine research, there is no impetus or funding to work on syntheses of RMRP data. Only minor funding (some from the harmful algal bloom proposals, some from a stand-alone project) was ever provided for interdisciplinary modeling. Judging from the somewhat limited participation in efforts to attain an RMRP "final product," in terms of providing data, final reports, or publication citations to the website, this program is rapidly falling off participants' priority list. Although PIs are making good progress toward publishing the results of the individual projects in peer-reviewed journals (at least 77 publications to date), it is likely that future accomplishments will be limited to individual and small group publications, with little of the interdisciplinary synthesis envisioned by the original plan. Relationships To and Collaborations with Other Programs The original authorizing legislation for the RMRP called for an assessment of how the GOM-RMRP would incorporate existing research and management programs. Two specific programs, the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and the National Estuaries Programs (NEP) were cited in the act as potential linkage programs. However, the GOM-RMR Plan indicates that the research needs of each program were (1) site-specific rather than regional in scope and (2) driven by individual mission-oriented goals. While the assessment may be accurate to some degree, the GOM-RMR planning process did not attempt to identify regional opportunities for collaboration with these legislatively mandated programs. At a minimum, the GOM-RMRP should have included specific research needs that are regional in scope and pertinent to both NERR and NEP, such as assessment of coastal habitat loss and water quality. The GOM-RMRP planning process did take steps to gather insight from multiple-user groups before and during assembly of the plan. Workshops and conferences were held to understand, in the broadest sense, the work needed to sustain the integrity of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Beginning with the 1989 "Sustaining Our Common Heritage" conference, state and local leaders, non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives, and the research community worked to establish a list of research priorities and identify opportunities for collaboration among resource agencies within the region. Subsequent scientific workshops were held to continue to gather more detailed research needs and develop a framework for the final RMR plan. Subsequent collaboration efforts narrowed to those parties directly involved in the research plan and activities.

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research Legacies, Impact, and Public Awareness The impact of the GOM-RMRP is difficult to assess from scientific and policy perspectives because of the lack of external reviews. In presentations to this committee, individuals did indicate that research detailing Gulf of Maine circulation patterns and processes initiating and sustaining HABs provided valuable insights. The data and information also served as a basis for understanding the linkages between Massachusetts Bay and the Gulf of Maine, particularly as studies were under way for the proposed Massachusetts Water Resources Authority wastewater outfall. Also, the current effort to design and implement the Gulf of Maine Observing System (RARGOM Report 98-1) is an important legacy that may form one of the building blocks of the U.S. integrated ocean observing system currently under consideration by Congress. It is no surprise that little is known of the GOM-RMRP publicly. Less than 1% of the budget was devoted specifically to outreach activities. As a result of the early efforts to reach out to many user groups during development of the plan, coastal managers and advocates are aware of the GOM-RMRP process, plan, and specific studies. Yet, they would not necessarily recall specific findings of the studies and actions that might have been taken as a result of these findings. The only avenue for individuals to gain access to information from the GOM-RMRP is through the website that inventories the studies supported and provides access to a distributed data base (REDIMS). Since no RMRP or NOAA funds are allocated to the maintenance of this site, it survives through the grace of the host agency (USGS, Woods Hole). OTHER SELECTED REGIONAL MARINE RESEARCH PROJECTS Following are brief descriptions of several other regional programs, for comparison to those already discussed above. The intent is to highlight unique characteristics of these programs that were not represented in the earlier examples. In particular, each of these had different approaches and a varying commitment to involving a broader community in the research planning process and disseminating research findings. All achieved substantial interagency cooperation but differed in their emphasis on local, state, and federal participation. Long-Term Management Strategy for San Francisco Bay Dredging of approximately four million cubic yards of San Francisco Bay sediments annually is necessary to maintain shipping channels, terminal facilities, and some recreational activities. This dredging is subject to state permits issued by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFBRWQCB) and federal permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies. All federal

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research permits issued for projects that affect the Bay must also be found to be consistent with the San Francisco Bay Conservation Development Commission's (BCDC) management program and the Seaport Plan that is developed by BCDC and the Metropolitan Transit Commission. The dilemma facing Bay ports, maritime shipping, and environmental protection interests was how best to balance the needs of maritime commerce with the protection and management of the Bay's significant aquatic and wildlife resources. The competing needs of industry, ports, fishermen, and the environment caused a debate over where and how to dispose of dredged material, which halted certain harbor deepening projects. In response to these concerns, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), EPA, State Water Resources Control Board, SFBRWQCB, BCDC, the U.S. Navy, and approximately 40 other concerned public agencies embarked on a Long-Term Management Strategy (LTMS) to establish solutions to these issues. The program is highly visible by design and it functions with substantial regional input from dredgers, industry, environmental groups, and concerned members of the public. It was used to form a regional strategy for managing dredging within San Francisco Bay for the next 50 years. The study plan for the program was adopted in 1991 and technical studies were completed by 1996. The budget was estimated to be $16 million. The technical studies were evaluated by a Technical Panel composed of five technical reviewers not associated with the LTMS program. This review was adequate, but the efforts were limited by budget constraints (Steve Goldbeck, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, via telephone conversation and electronic mail in April 1999). Despite these limitations, the studies have provided a technical basis for designating the ocean disposal site, evaluating upland disposal options, helping to determine the best locations for limited in-bay disposal, and providing information for the policy environmental impact statement (EIS)/programmatic impact report (EIR). One of the weaknesses of the program was the lack of a coherent data management strategy. Each agency and study established the parameters of their particular study, but consistency between the efforts was not always achieved. A central repository was not established and much of the information generated is now not easily available to third parties (although some of the results are now summarized in the EIS/R, which is available on the Internet; USACE et al., 1998). The structure agreed to by the participating agencies at the beginning of the program has been surprisingly effective. Most of the problems and delays that were encountered can be attributed to the ad hoc beginnings of the effort, staffing shortages, data management concerns, the controversial nature of the subject matter, and the ambitious goals established for the program. The LTMS was developed through a series of long and sometimes difficult strategy sessions that ultimately succeeded, but were time consuming and expensive. The reward for

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research this effort was the development of a strategy for dredging, environmental protection, and resource enhancement that is intended to provide guidance for the next 50 years. Future programs of this type would benefit from a research coordination structure, developed at the beginning that incorporates the necessary data management, technical review panels, and other organizational elements. Chesapeake Bay Land Margin Ecosystem Research (LMER) LMER was initiated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1990 to address scientific and societal questions concerning the causes and consequences of changes in the structure and function of estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems. The overarching goals of this program are to assess: (1) the roles of these ecosystems in modulating the fluxes of materials between terrestrial and oceanic systems and (2) the influences of climate, land-use practices, and oceanic processes on trophic dynamics and biogeochemical cycles in ecosystems at the land-sea interface. Achievement of these goals requires an understanding of interactions among terrestrial, estuarine, and marine ecosystems. They require regional approaches that transcend political, disciplinary, and ecological boundaries. Projects were competitively funded through the NSF peer and panel review process. The Chesapeake Bay LMER began in 1990 and ends in September 2000. The central hypothesis is that high primary production and fish production (relative to other coastal and estuarine systems), scaled in terms of annual nitrogen input, are consequences of the pulsed nature of nutrient inputs, the long residence time of nutrients in the system, benthic-pelagic coupling, and physical processes that enhance trophic transfer efficiencies. From 1990-1994, the project focused on responses to point-source and diffuse nutrient inputs to the estuary, in terms of nutrient cycling, the production and fate of phytoplankton biomass, water quality, and the development of a nutrient budget that identified major pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus input and export and major sinks within the system. In 1995, the emphasis shifted to the effects of physical processes on scales of meters on the coupling between primary and secondary production. Results from this research have: Elucidated relationships between nutrient enrichment, phytoplankton production, and oxygen depletion; Enabled the development of a coupled hydrodynamic-water quality model that generates realistic simulations of ecosystem dynamics, and is used to evaluate how nutrient control strategies will affect water quality (and will be used to calculate total maximum daily loads [TMDLs]); Provided the scientific basis for continued support of the nutrient management strategy for Chesapeake Bay; Revealed important linkages between convergence zones (including the turbidity maximum), the concentrations of phytoplankton and particulate organic

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research matter, and grazing patterns of zooplankton and fish larvae that have important implications for fisheries management and dredging practices in Chesapeake Bay. The success of this project can be attributed to a great extent to the Chesapeake Bay observing system implemented in 1984 as part of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program (see "Problems Transcend Geopolitical Boundaries, Agencies, and Disciplines," in Chapter 2). The Chesapeake Bay LMER was conceived and conducted in the context of a sustained, regional-scale observing system, a Baywide, EPA-NOAA-State collaboration that provides data on the distributions of temperature, salinity, nutrients, oxygen, sediments, toxic chemicals, plankton, macrobenthic organisms, finfish and shellfish, submerged attached vegetation, and tidal marshes throughout the Bay and its tributaries. These data are based on measurements of environmental and ecological properties and processes at 165 stations at monthly and bimonthly intervals. The constructive interaction between monitoring and research has led to rapid progress in the understanding and prediction of environmental variability. The existence of the observing system and the wealth of data it provides set the stage for a multi-institutional research effort that is unparalleled for an estuarine system. In FY 1998, this amounted to 169 programs in research, education, and outreach totaling $8.3 million in extramural funding, for studies of living resources, water quality, ecosystems, smart growth and development, as well as public education and environmental governance. It is noteworthy that ecosystem research accounted for nearly 40% of FY 1998 expenditures and that federal agencies accounted for about 60% of extramural funding (principally EPA, NSF, NOAA, and U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]). Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study (PNCERS) PNCERS is a program entirely funded by NOAA's COP. The planning was a joint effort of the Oregon Coastal Management Program, the Washington Sea Grant Program, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, who are represented on the Program Management Team (PMT). In part, PNCERS emerged as a result of the planning activities undertaken as part of the Pacific Northwest Regional Marine Research Program. Oregon Sea Grant also cooperates. PNCERS perceives itself as "a five-year, multi-investigator, interdisciplinary approach to identifying the physical and human-mediating factors affecting the estuarine and near shore ecosystems . . ." (Parrish and Breslow, 1999). Its focus is five estuaries in Oregon and Washington State. The history and subsequent development of PNCERS are best viewed as a two-step process. In 1995, the COP provided $2.5 million to "greater" PNCERS. The initial grant was to determine the boundary conditions in which research programs would operate:

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research How far into watersheds should the research programs penetrate? What are the limits to "coastal" research? What are the geopolitical limits (i.e., whether to include California and British Columbia or restrict the program to Oregon and Washington)? To better target research funds, a workshop held during August 1996 further developed the conceptual model and presented a science plan. In late 1996, the PMT further refined the program goal and objectives based on the workshop. The new program goal is "to improve the understanding of natural variability and anthropogenic stressors on coastal ecosystems that support Pacific salmon, and to translate that understanding into improved management of resources and activities that affect coastal ecosystems." The program was further focused as follows: (1) because long-term coastal research programs existed in both California (e.g., California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations [CalCOFI]) and British Columbia (La Perouse Bank), PNCERS research funding was limited to Oregon and Washington; (2) the near shore domain was set by the inner limits of NSF's Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC) program, with the intent that the dual research efforts would prove complementary; (3) the research program had to include the social sciences, be multidisciplinary, and address the socioeconomic state of the local human communities. The PMT then wrote a request for proposals, which outlined these boundary conditions and general goals. Eight pre-proposals were received, and two of these were selected for a "winner take all" competition with full proposals. The single successful proposal, as specified, was a team effort judged on the merits of its focus and integration. This strategy is in contrast to the approach of funding individual investigators based on scientific merit, with integration achieved as a byproduct of the program. Future reviews of the PNCERS program should include evaluation of the team investigator approach to funding. The initial research grant was for a five-year period and totaled approximately $5.0-5.2 million, with $4.6 million designated for research. COP now funds two interrelated administrative entities. One, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, has hired a full-time program administrator. It also funds outreach programs to resource managers and, in that sense, will disseminate PNCERS research products. This includes annual workshops where input from coastal resource managers is solicited and participation by PNCERS researchers is required. The second, at the University of Washington, has a one-quarter time person in charge of research administration who coordinates the research program through the University of Washington. The research monies are dispersed to the PIs at both Oregon and Washington universities and the Battelle Marine Science Laboratory. PNCERS currently funds 12 PIs. Pacific salmon were an obvious central theme, involving both coastal ecosystems and human communities. The inte-

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Bridging Boundaries through Regional Marine Research grated research effort proposes to identify and explore factors influencing local ecosystem health and sustainability. One goal is to define the nature of both natural and anthropogenic factors, and then design tools for addressing and mediating these factors. A unique feature of the original design is a "carrot and stick" approach to continued funding. In this approach, an increasing fraction of the remaining monies is reserved (approximately $600,000 unallocated for years four and five) to give the program the flexibility to fund research on identified data gaps and integration. Thus, in the annual research evaluations, participation in the integrated program is a major criterion for renewal without which even excellent science might not receive further funding from PNCERS. Collaboration with other on-going programs was viewed as highly desirable, even necessary. Physical oceanographers involved in PNCERS have sought liaisons with GLOBEC. Investigators focused on Oregon and Washington estuaries have collaborated with the relevant state agencies and researchers on plankton, fishes, and seabirds in the near shore domain have developed ties with both state and federal (NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service [NMFS], U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS]) agencies.