Science Meets Stakeholder Workshop was a Success!

On August 1, 2014, Grand Bay National Estuary Research Reserve (NERR) partnered with NoAA, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and Auburn University to bring the latest research to stakeholders.

Affiliations at the workshop included:

  • An Elected Official
  • Planning and Zoning Commission
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • Private Business Owners
  • Non Profit Groups

Main objectives of the workshop:

  • Share new research
  • To generate participant feedback on relevant tools related to the research

The scientists behind the research, Ruth Carmichael, Elizabeth Darrow, and Bill Walton revealed the chemical composition of the water at specific oyster habitats along the AL and MS coast, as well, the bacteria present in the area. The results concluded high nitrogen and fecal coliform levels, with a high level of certainty it was due to anthropogenic causes.

The second presentation, given by  Hailong Huang, showed and increase in storm water run-off in the area due to and increase of impervious cover.

After the research was shared, the 40 participants split into three different groups, Land Use Land Cover (LULC), Education and Outreach, and Shellfish group, to generate ideas on possible tools that could be created as an outcome of this research.

Highlights from the group discussions included:

  • Who the targeted audience should be- kids, resource managers, policy makers, elected officials, waste water treatment facilities, seafood/fishing industry, planning and zoning officials.
  • Education/outreach ideas and outlets: education through the NEERS, geocaching, website 101’s, eco-tourism, environmental education for k-12 as well, adults.
  •   Tool ideas: Tools with predicative abilities, tools with specific inputs and output (this much rain, this much run-off, this habitat will be affected), pictures that show relatable sites with then and now comparison.

Finally attendees participated in a voting activity to voice which tool and tool functions they would like to see produced as an outcome of the research. Of all the draft tool options, the LAND USE LAND COVER tool was chosen as the overall tool that has the greatest capability to inform the public, and most likely to be used.

Now the researchers are in the processes of creating a tool that represents  the needs discussed among the stakeholders.

 

 

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