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Bringing science to bear on coastal decision-making. Waves of Change September 4, 2003 David Keeley Maine State Planning Office. Issue: Society is expecting informed and science-based decision-making. Population pressures cause us to live closer together; Resources are more finite;

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Bringing science to bear on coastal decision-making

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Bringing science to bear on coastal decision-making

Waves of Change

September 4, 2003

David Keeley

Maine State Planning Office

Issue: Society is expecting informed and science-based decision-making

  • Population pressures cause us to live closer together;

  • Resources are more finite;

  • Decision-making needs to be more precise

Today’s Themes

  • Coastal Management Vignettes

  • Science to Management Needs

  • New Tools for the Coastal Ocean

Setting a National Context -- Patterns of Development in Maine: 1940 - 2050

Part 1 - Coastal Management Vignettes: Bringing science to bear

  • Coastal Dredging – regional & local

  • Public Access to the Shoreline

  • Marine Protected Areas

  • Working Waterfronts

  • Commercial Fisheries

  • Coastal Water Quality & Shellfish

Coastal Dredging – regional ports

  • National security, jobs & economic development

  • Channel maintenance

  • Side-scan sonar, shoals, buoys & redeployment

Coastal Dredging – local ports

  • Dredging tidal inlets (e.g., sand budgets, marshes and the sand on adjacent beaches. Beach nourishment/use of dredged materials

  • Long-term impacts to beaches and dunes from repeated maintenance dredging.

Access to the Shoreline

  • Changing land ownership patterns

  • Socio-economic research (e.g. user surveys, willingness to pay)

  • Environmental research (carrying capacity)

Marine Protected Areas

  • Effect of dragging on the ocean floor and species

  • 5-year moratorium & call for science and traditional knowledge

  • Report to Legislature

Working Waterfronts

  • Public & private access for commercial fishing is diminishing & calls for action

  • Socio-economic research to preserve working waterfront property

Commercial Fisheries

  • Available species data & information impedes sound decision-making

  • Inshore trawl survey & emerging fisheries research

Coastal Water Quality & Shellfish

  • Bacteria levels exceed standards

  • Identify specific sources (humans, wildlife, etc.)

  • Targeted management responses (efficiency, priority)

Part Two: Science to management needs

  • Improved dissemination of existing knowledge and research;

  • Research on priority coastal & ocean management issues;

  • Translation of scientific results into information managers can use;

  • Building the capacity of local, state and federal managers to manage

Disseminating science

  • We are not fully capitalizing on previous investments in coastal and marine science

  • Work with funders, libraries and others to harness the information age

Investing in new research

  • Local, state and federal coastal managers need to better articulate their leading management issues and corresponding research needs

  • Sponsors of research (State and federal agencies, industry, foundations) need to integrate these needs into their funding programs

Turning data into information

  • Managers and scientists need to work collaboratively to synthesize data into information & create products of value to managers and decision-makers

Building capacity (teaching them to fish vs. fishing for them)

  • Local and state managers need to routinely invest in themselves

  • Existing mechanisms need to be reinforced

  • National estuary, coastal, ocean programs need to place a premium on capacity building

Part Three: Investing in new tools for coastal ocean management

  • National effort to strengthen the monitoring of coastal ocean trends and conditions

  • Ocean Commission priority on more informed decision-making & making the required investment

  • Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS) -- as an example

Coastal Ocean Observing

Purpose -- Facilitate safe and efficient marine operations, ensure national security, ensure sustainable food supply, manage ecosystems, mitigate natural hazards, and protect public health.

Critical Elements

  • Buoys & other sensors in the water

  • Land-based radar

  • Satellites

  • Modeling

  • Ships of opportunity

    Analysis, synthesis, & products

Why make this investment?

  • To provide data and information that serve public and private sector needs to:

    • Solve practical problems,

    • Predict events,

    • Increase public awareness,

    • Further understand natural systems

      A Coastal Oceanic Analog of…

      …the National Weather Service

User Needs & Payback

  • Mariners – safety, rescue

  • Shipping – safety & efficiency

  • Mammals – endangered species assessment

  • Aquaculture – site selection & water quality

  • Lobster fishing – recruitment prediction

  • Petroleum Industry – spill response

  • Shellfishing – spat collection, site selection

  • Military – national security, operations test bed

  • Coastal Management – eutrophication

  • Commercial & Sport Fishing – stock assessments

  • Research – long-term observations, infrastructure

Ocean Observing Summary

  • It will inspire and facilitate research

  • Users will justify the investment

  • Users need a 24/7 operational system that provides useful, timely information…and drives research

  • GoMOOS cost/benefit: $(3/30)M/year

  • A national OOS will only come to pass if Congress hears the same request from all regions!


  • Coastal states have many issues in common & a history of cooperation

  • We understand why & how science can be better applied to coastal management issues & the benefits

  • We need a consistent and firm statement from the Governors to the Ocean Commission on this matter

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