Interdisciplinary, cross-agency partnerships are key to managing ecosystem-scale challenges, but the ability to form lasting partnerships that truly meet the science needs of managers is often hindered by ignorance of the challenges and benefits of institutional collaboration.
The Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) Partnership is the subject of a recent organizational management review conducted by the University of Washington and the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center. ORHAB evolved from an NCCOS project to a state partnership that continues to successfully limit HAB impacts on valuable shellfish in Washington.
The management reviewers identified organizational and institutional factors that contributed to ORHAB success. Documented gains by partners in ORHAB included lowered transaction costs (e.g., for obtaining information), improved institutional performance (e.g., minimizing administrative costs), and increased adaptability (e.g., encouraging learning and innovation).
The authors also evaluated other ecosystem research partnerships and gauged their likelihood for success. The review was reported in the journal Coastal Management .