NOAA announces $4.9 million for collaborative research projects to aid coastal communities manage effects of climate change

kristy Greentech

NOAA and the University of New Hampshire have announced more than $4.9 million to fund nine collaborative research projects aimed at making coastal communities and environments more resilient to rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, extreme storms, and ocean warming and acidification.

The grants, made by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative through its partnership with the university, will fund projects in South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Alabama, Oregon and California.

Over the next two years, NERRS-led project teams will bring community stakeholders together with scientists, using the best science to make important resource management and public safety decisions. Projects will address community adaptation to sea level rise, implementation of low-impact development land use practices, oyster and wetland restoration, and river and watershed management.

“Few coastal resource management problems are purely environmental in nature,” said Dwight D. Trueblood, Ph.D., NOAA’s NERRS Science Collaborative program manager. “They affect economies and business, infrastructure and property, human health and well-being. The NERRS Science Collaborative is a prime example of how science in partnership with the community can make a big difference in people’s lives.”

The peer-reviewed grants were competitively awarded and include funding of $4.2 million in current fiscal year funds and an additional $741,509 from a prior NOAA grant. The grants will go to:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $637,023 to explore approaches to build consensus around climate change adaptation strategies;

ACE Basin NERR, South Carolina: $585,622 to restore oyster reefs to protect valuable shorelines from rising sea level, and $329,943 to develop and train local communities to evaluate and use development practices with low impacts on the environment;

Weeks Bay NERR, Alabama: $371,099 to understand whether restoring wetlands can mitigate sea level rise;

University of New Hampshire: $683,472 to develop an integrated climate change adaptation plan for the Great Bay Estuary, and $589,838 to use natural landscaping to prevent flooding and pollution;

University of Maryland: $598,645 to evaluate the cultural, economic and ecological effects of restoring drained marshes to mitigate sea level rise;

South Slough NERR, Oregon: $549,826 to develop socioeconomic and environmental conditions that may signal climate change in the Coos Estuary, and evaluate water flow in developed communities and the natural environment; and

Tijuana River NERR, California: $599,972 to develop wetland conservation and recovery goals that include both scientific data and community input.

NOAA’s Estuarine Reserves Division established the NERRS Science Collaborative through a cooperative, agreement with the University of New Hampshire in 2009 to put science to work for coastal communities. The Science Collaborative also sponsors fellowships in the university’s Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Science, Policy, and Management Program, a master’s degree program that provides the knowledge and skills needed to bring science to coastal decision making.

NERRS is a network of 28 protected areas representing different biogeographic regions of the United States, from Wells, Maine to Katchemak Bay in Alaska. NOAA administers this program, through the Coastal Zone Management Act, in partnership with coastal states and territories. Through integrated research, education, and resource stewardship, the reserves help communities better understand these vital habitats and develop strategies to manage ongoing coastal resource challenges.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia/.

On the Web:

For more information about the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative and a description of funded projects and contacts, visit:

http://www.nerrs.noaa.gov/ScienceCollaborative.aspx