Monitoring the well-being of communities that depend on our oceans and coasts can indicate whether environmental conditions are enhancing or degrading quality of life for coastal residents. In the case of an industrial disaster, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, monitoring well-being can also provide a roadmap for community recovery and resilience.
On March 8-9, 2011, in collaboration with the NOAA Coastal Services Center, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers convened a meeting of experts from a variety of government and academic institutions to identify and prioritize the baseline social, economic and behavioral indicators needed to monitor well-being in communities impacted by disasters, both industrial and natural. Participants identified a suite of priority indicators and associated measures, as well as possible sources of data to develop models assessing well-being in counties along the Gulf Coast.
Participants also identified linkages between ecosystem services likely to be impacted by industrial disasters and well-being indicators. These indicators will assist a broader study of the well-being of Gulf coast counties impacted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.