A new analysis has shown how engaging regional resource managers can guide research to better suit their decision-making needs. Highlighted in the September 2017 Coastal and Estuarine Science News (see “Building Better Bridges for Scientists and Managers”), the results will reach a greater audience among the management community. The authors hope that future research initiatives will be encouraged to take a similar approach to integrating management input into planning and implementation of science programs, as NCCOS desired outcome of conducting scientific research is successful contribution to coastal management. However, the science sometimes fails to effectively address management concerns or translate well to outcomes. A recent project sponsored by NCCOS in the mid-Atlantic region overcame these obstacles by maximizing communication and the participation of managers at every step.
The key with this project was the establishment of a Management Transition Advisory Group, chosen to maximize participation of middle rather than upper managers, based on the idea that they are not political appointees but rather professionals who can remain involved over the long-term and provide crucial institutional memory. The group held annual scientist and manager meetings (as opposed to broad stakeholder meetings that can sometimes lose focus), during which the science team provided updates on their progress, and the management team offered guidance on how to maximize the usefulness of the research. Although not all of the management ideas were feasible, these meetings led to changes in sampling and analyses. Moreover, the participation of the advisory group resulted in improved translation of the results, now being incorporated into the Chesapeake Bay Goal Implementation Teams and other management efforts.
Citation: Turner, E., and T. Jordan. 2017. Integrating regional management needs into a Mid-Atlantic shorelines research project. Estuaries and Coasts. doi: 10.1007/s12237-017-0261-y