Training: Overview

Coastal Training Program

The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Coastal Training Program (CTP) encourages stewardship of Mississippi’s coastal resources by promoting informed, science-based decision making. Training workshops, seminars, field demonstrations, and individualized technical assistance are offered to coastal decision makers to achieve this goal. Coastal decision makers are a diverse group of people who represent a wide variety of professions where part or all of their responsibilities include making professional choices that impact the health of coastal resources or habitats (e.g.  municipal planners, county council members, developers, engineers, and many others).

CTP training topics vary widely, from wetland plant identification to coastal inundation mapping using GIS software, but all relate to responsible and sustainable coastal living and growth. See CTP Services for more information about training topics, services, audiences, and other ways CTP can help meet your needs. If you recognize a need for a CTP training event in your area, please submit a request to the CTP Coordinator. For CTP services in coastal Alabama contact the Weeks Bay NERR CTP Coordinator.

Training Overview

CTP Services


The Grand Bay Coastal Training Program was created to serve local audiences and address local needs. These needs are identified through formal needs assessments and through ongoing contact with coastal communities, which ensure that training topics align with audience-driven priority issues. In 2005, the Grand Bay CTP completed two formal surveys of decision makers, the results of which were published in a Market Analysis Report and a Needs Assessment Report. In 2011 subsequent research was done in cooperation with the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Alabama, this updated Market Analysis provided valuable guidance to each program’s CTPs. Specifically it pointed out a need to expand the list of target audiences and address broader training needs. The Grand Bay CTP operates in Mississippi’s six coastal counties: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone, and George. For CTP services in coastal Alabama contact the Weeks Bay NERR CTP Coordinator.

Training Programs

Examples of CTP training topics, formats, and audiences are below, but these lists are by no means comprehensive. Workshop content varies from introductory to advanced (from engineering and design specs of pervious concrete to general overviews of low impact development), with the workshop duration being determined by the scope of the topic being covered (one hour to multiple days).

Topics: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure, Beach/Shoreline Management, Ecotourism/Sustainable Tourism, Living Shorelines and Coastlines, Wetland Ecology, Geographic Information Systems, Community/Land Use Planning, Stormwater and Watershed Planning/Management.

Target Audience: Elected/Appointed Officials, Municipal Staff (Planners, Public Works, etc), Natural Resource Managers, Developers, Engineers, Architects.

Training formats: Workshops, Seminars, Field trips, Demonstrations, Hands-On-Activities, Skills-Based Training, and Technical Assistance.


Technical Assistance
The CTP also offers technical assistance by serving on local committees and advisory boards, assisting with comprehensive plan rewrites, providing input on ordinances, grant-writing, and a variety of other activities. The CTP also aims to serve as a resource for information, helping to connect people to local experts and agencies who may be able to provide more detailed and expert information, as well as providing information through our Resources collection.

CTP Goals

The goals of CTP programs and assistance are to share current science on priority issues, increase audience understanding of the environmental, social, economic, and policy consequences of human activities, and facilitate coordination among stakeholders, all to promote more informed and confident decision making in our coastal communities. Training is based on local case studies whenever possible to maximize the relevancy of the information for Mississippi’s southern coast. Program and assistance is also aligned with the Reserve’s Management Plan as well as the CTP Program Strategy that is updated every five years.


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