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At the annual meeting of the Regional Association for Research in the Gulf of Maine (RARGOM) in Portsmouth, NH, on October 13, Peter Taylor of Waterview Consulting presented a talk about the Make Way for Marshes project that we completed in collaboration with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC). Peter also brought a display about the Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares project that we work on with colleagues from MRAG Americas, University of Washington, Iudicello Consulting, and Northern Economics.

Abstract for the RARGOM presentation:

Make way for marshes: A regional model for knowledge sharing among scientists and managers to support sustainability of ecosystems and coastal communities

Taylor, P. H.

Sharing of knowledge among scientific and management communities is a critical component of any effort to support sustainability of the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystems and coastal communities. An initiative sponsored by the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) in 2014-15 provides a model for knowledge sharing on a priority management issue when scientific understanding of the issue is newly emerging and rapidly evolving. NROC’s members and partner organizations had identified tidal marsh migration in response to sea level rise as an important issue because of the marshes’ ecological significance, the diverse ecosystem services they provide to people, and the marshes’ vulnerability to climate change. Scientific research on the topic is advancing dramatically and managers are seeking to respond on scales ranging from individual marshes and towns to states and the entire Northeast region. However, practitioners saw an immediate need for a well-targeted, timely effort to link science and management to support effective management outcomes. In particular, government agencies and non-government organizations are harnessing computer-based models of marsh ecosystems to inform management and policy strategies to sustain tidal marshes. We worked in collaboration with NROC’s Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health Committee and a project steering committee to facilitate knowledge sharing on this issue. We conducted interviews with scientific and management experts at government, academic, and non-government entities; conducted a scientific and technical literature search; and participated in a regional workshop. The tangible result of this process is the publication Make Way for Marshes: Guidance on Using Models of Tidal Marsh Migration to Support Community Resilience to Sea Level Rise (northeastoceancouncil.org/marshmigration). This visually engaging and reader-friendly guide covers the entire modeling lifecycle from developing a modeling approach and working with data to communicating modeling results. The less tangible results are a strengthened community of practice and a replicable knowledge-sharing process.