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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium STAGE-SETTING PAPERS
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium This page in the original is blank.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium COASTAL ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT: CHALLENGES FOR SCIENCE Donald F. Boesch Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies University of Maryland Introduction At the California regional symposium initiating the Ocean Studies Board's efforts to improve interactions between coastal science and policy, I examined what natural scientists and policymakers and implementors need to know about each other to effectively bridge the gap between their communities (Boesch and Macke, 1995). Time has passed and issues have evolved, so that here I will briefly review our observations and advice and focus on what will be a major challenge for science relevant to environmental and natural resource management in regions such as the Gulf of Maine—application of the emerging concept of ecosystem management. Bridging the Gap In the California symposium paper, we examined differences in how scientists and policymakers and implementors operate and the processes of their interactions. We discussed the cultural differences characteristic of science and policy (Table 1), noting the disparate focus on knowledge versus action, on scientific evidence versus broader societal values, and on long-term versus short-term goals. The effective gap bridger will recognize these
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Table 1 Behaviors and Points of View Typically Associated With the Cultures of Science and Policy (Boesch and Macke, 1995). From Coastal Management, Vol. 21(3), p. 189, Bernstein et al., 1993, Taylor & Francis, Inc., Washington, D.C. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. Science Policy Valued action Research, scholarship Legislation, regulations, decisions Time Frame That needed to gather evidence Immediate, short-term Goals Increase understanding Manage immediate problems Basis for decisions Scientific evidence Science, values, public opinion, economics Expectations Understanding never complete Expect clear answers from science Grain Factor Focus on details, contradictions Focus on broad outline World view Primacy of biological, physical, chemical mechanisms Primacy of political, social, interpersonal, economic mechanisms differences and show understanding and accommodation at the interface. To be more effective across this interface, scientists are encouraged to take a broader view of their scholarship. Finally, it is important to recognize that beyond this simple polar model of science and policy cultures, scientists themselves are part of the social dynamic which influences policy decisions. The concepts of advocacy coalitions (Sabatier, 1988, 1995) among scientists, policymakers and implementors, and interest groups and epistemic communities (Haas, 1990) of experts who share beliefs and values were explored in our paper. It is important to recognize that scientists may play roles of authority figures, advocates, and antagonists within this social dynamic. The processes of translation of scientific understanding to policy formulation and implementation is complex. Notably, these processes often involve the press and the public
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium as well as direct interactions with policymakers and implementors. We emphasized the need to nurture and support people who have the knowledge and skills to assimilate and articulate coastal science through the popular and semi-popular media as well as the importance of interpersonal interactions between research scientists and the technical staff of management agencies. Next, we discussed the mechanisms for obtaining and providing advice, focusing specifically on scientific advisory committees, offering suggestions to both committee members and sponsoring agencies on how to make advisory committees more effective. We argued that science-policy interactions could be more effective if we more forthrightly dealt with the uncertainty of scientifically based predictions and contributed to the development of a Precautionary Principle that was truly operational. We emphasized the need to better integrate and balance the scientific approaches of research, monitoring, modeling, and analysis. And, finally, we touched on the need to provide scientific information and advice on a timely basis. The Challenges of Ecosystem Management I am struck by the recent embrace of the concept of “ecosystem management” by policymakers and managers, including the most senior officials of the federal government. For example, ecosystem management was identified in President Clinton and Vice President Gore's National Performance Review (NPR) as an important goal of the efforts to “reinvent government.” As an ecologist, I am at once elated and frightened. Environmental scientists have long preached the need to consider the whole ecosystem. Now we face the daunting reality of helping to put our words into practice. Here I will examine the scientific concepts embodied in the principles of ecosystem management identified by the White House Ecosystem Management Task Force and my observations on their application in five major coastal ecosystems of the United States: the Chesapeake Bay, Florida Bay, the Mississippi Delta, the continental shelf of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and San Francisco Bay. From this rather personal perspective, I will identify some specific challenges which lie ahead for the scientific and management communities. Reinventing Government through Ecosystem Management One recommendation of the NPR was that “the President should issue a directive to establish ecosystem management across the government” (Gore, 1993). This recommendation was based on the observations that contradictory policies from federal agencies have hindered effective environmental protection, resource management, and sustainable development. The NPR proposed the development of “a proactive approach to ensuring a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment through ecosystem management.” Further, it recommended that the White House Office of Environmental
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Policy (OEP) convene an interagency task force of appropriate assistant secretaries to develop and implement cross-agency ecosystem management. This Ecosystem Management Task Force, composed of Assistant Secretaries of twelve departments and agencies, as well as representatives from the Office of Management and Budget and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is presently evaluating ongoing and planned interagency ecosystem-based activities in order to provide lessons for broader application. The White House Ecosystem Management Task Force has defined ecosystem management as “a goal-driven approach to restoring and sustaining healthy ecosystems and their functions and values. It is based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future ecosystem conditions that integrates ecological, economic, and social factors affecting a management unit defined by ecological, not political, boundaries” (OEP, 1994). It defines an ecosystem as “an interconnected community of living things, including humans, and the physical environment with which they interact.” The Task Force has developed principles and guidelines for ecosystem management (Table 2) which embody principles that many ecologists and resource managers have long espoused. However, these principles are loaded with terms (italicized in Table 2) which provide challenging targets for natural scientists to make meaningful and effective contributions to ecosystem management. Five Coastal Marine Ecosystems I will examine the application of the italicized concepts listed in Table 2 in the management of five important coastal marine ecosystems in the United States (Figure 1) based on my own experiences as a researcher and scientific advisor. I have spent most of my career working in the Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi Delta, and the Gulf of Mexico. My experience in Florida Bay and San Francisco Bay is more limited and comes primarily by service on scientific review and advisory committees. The status of both scientific understanding and ecosystem management in these ecosystems varies considerably. Importantly, all five regions have undergone what Likens (1992) calls “human-accelerated environmental change” as a result of activities throughout the watersheds as well as in coastal waters themselves. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the best-studied ecosystems in the world and has been the subject of a multi-state and federal management program that was formally begun in 1983 (Hennessey, 1994). The structure and approaches of the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) have been widely copied in the National Estuary Program (NEP) and in other programs around the world. A main focus of the CBP has been setting goals for reduction of nutrient inputs and implementation of controls throughout the watershed. The San Francisco Bay has also received sustained investigation, particularly with regard to conditions in the upper Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin delta as they are influenced by consumption and diversion of fresh water. An NEP comprehensive management plan and a federal-state agreement for
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium allocating water to the delta have recently been concluded and a plan for long-term management of dredged material is being developed. Table 2 Principles and Guidelines for Ecosystem Management Identified by the White House Ecosystem Management Task Force (OEP, 1994). The italicized terms provide targets and challenges for the natural science community. Principles and Guidelines for Ecosystem Management Restore and maintain the health, sustainability, and native biological diversity of ecosystems. Base management on considerations of ecological units and time frames. Support sustainable economies and communities. Develop a vision of ecosystem health. Develop priorities and reconcile conflicts. Develop coordinated approaches to work toward ecosystem health. Rely on the best science available. Use benchmarks to monitor and evaluate outcomes. Use adaptive management. Implement through agency plans and programs. The Mississippi Delta in Louisiana (and the Chenier Plain ecosystem to the west) experienced rapid loss of coastal wetlands during the latter half of this century. The causes of this wetland loss have been fairly well studied, but scientific controversies exist concerning the most effective means of slowing this loss (Boesch et al., 1994). The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act of 1990 (CWPPRA) provides a powerful framework for federal-state comprehensive management of this coastal region. The northwestern Gulf shelf is the site of the vast majority of oil and gas production from the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (Boesch and Rabalais, 1987) and supports rich fisheries. Recently, severe oxygen depletion in bottom waters over a large area of the inner shelf has been documented and related to increased nitrogen inputs from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. The dramatic loss of seagrass and proliferation of algal blooms in Florida Bay (Boesch et al., 1993) has just begun to receive significant scientific attention and
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium the Florida Bay is now being factored into management plans for both South Florida (including the Everglades) and the Florida Keys. Figure 1 Five major coastal ecosystems in the United States considered here. Although the issues in each area are numerous, central management issues in Florida Bay and San Francisco Bay revolve around freshwater inputs, in Chesapeake Bay around nutrient enrichment, and in the Gulf of Mexico around oil and gas development and nutrient enrichment. Fisheries management is an important concern in all areas. Restore and Maintain Coastal science has focused primarily on understanding how ecosystems work, how they vary over time, and how human activities change them. Scientists are much more able to detect and diagnose a problem than prescribe a cure for it. Yet in these five degraded ecosystems, management requires knowledge of how to restore ecosystems physically and to regulate inputs and uses in order to maintain them in a desired state. In the Mississippi Delta, management objectives are to slow wetland losses and create new wetlands to offset unavoidable losses. This maintenance and restoration is to be achieved by river diversion for sediment supply and salinity control and regulation of tidal water level and flow. In Florida Bay, critical issues concern how much of the presently diverted fresh water must be returned to the Bay and whether increasing exchange through the channels between the Keys would restore ecological conditions. In San Francisco Bay, a central question has been the freshwater requirements for maintenance of salinity regimes and spawning and nursery grounds for threatened or otherwise important fish populations. Wetland restoration, including the rehabilitation of “reclaimed” wetlands and the beneficial use of dredged material, is also an important issue. In the Chesapeake, major efforts have begun or are planned to restore the oyster bars which were essentially mined out during the early days of harvest. The objective is not only to enhance future harvestable resources, but also to increase filter feeding to remove excess phytoplankton. A management question concerns whether the goal of 40% reduction in nutrient loading will restore and maintain water quality. Finally, I feel certain that someday a critical management question for the Mississippi/Atchafalaya river system and adjacent continental shelf, just as it is for the
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Chesapeake Bay, will be defining the nutrient load reductions required to achieve a defined reduction in hypoxia. Important challenges for science are to: define functional goals and engineering design criteria for environmental restoration; emphasize the use of natural processes in restoring and maintaining function; and determine the success of performance of restoration strategies. Ecosystem Health Ecosystem health is mentioned three times in the Ecosystem Management Task Force principles and guidelines (Table 2). Ecosystem health and ecosystem integrity are concepts often stated but seldom defined. In the Chesapeake Bay the volume of hypoxic water and abundance of seagrasses are central indicators of ecosystem health; benthic communities, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and demersal fishes are also being used in monitoring programs. For each of these components there have been efforts to define the range of targeted conditions. For the Mississippi Delta, maximizing the area of vegetated wetlands is the paramount management objective and is even prescribed as the management objective in CWPPRA. Although no ecosystem health goals have yet been set for Florida Bay, reductions in the coverage of seagrass beds, extent and intensity of algal blooms, and declines in fishery harvests have been interpreted as signs of general ecosystem degradation. In San Francisco Bay, salinity regime, fish stocks, and toxic effects of sediments have been used as environmental health criteria. An important challenge for science is to develop and apply multiple indicators that will allow detection of less-than-catastrophic effects and can be understood and used by managers for environmental protection and restoration and resource conservation. Sustainability Sustainability has not been explicitly addressed within the ecosystem management approaches in the five areas. In the Mississippi Delta, goals have been mostly short-term. The consequences of long-term delta dynamics and sea level rise are daunting both to the public and to the management community. Offshore, we have scarcely begun to think about the effects of oxygen depletion and bycatch mortalities on sustainable populations of important living resources. Policymakers and managers have just come to the realization that the phenomena observed in Florida Bay may result from population growth, water use, and
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium agricultural expansion which cannot be sustained. Recent decisions concerning the allocation of fresh water among agriculture, public water supplies, and fish and wildlife use in the delta and bay are but the first step toward reconciling a sustainable future in San Francisco Bay. In Chesapeake Bay we are struggling to meet the year 2000 goal for reducing nutrient loads by 40%, yet know that even if this goal is reached, efforts will have to be redoubled to maintain those levels in the face of the rapidly increasing population within the watershed. On the other hand, the surprising recovery of striped bass populations in the Chesapeake Bay following restrictions on harvest gives some hope that resources can be sustained. In the end, sustainability poses challenges to both society and the scientific community. Ludwig et al. (1993) suggest that we are suffering under a misunderstanding of the possibility of achieving scientific consensus concerning resources and the environment. Lee (1993) states: “Sustainable development is not a goal, not a condition likely to be attained on earth as we know it. Rather it is more like freedom or justice, a direction in which we strive.” Important challenges for science are to: place resource abundance and use in context of natural variability; assess how the past, present, and future use of land-based resources (water, soils, nutrients) and living marine resources affect ecosystem function and structure; and improve watershed-atmosphere-coastal ecosystem models. Native Biological Diversity To date, biodiversity has not been a central management goal in any of the five coastal systems other than as represented in endangered species. Some biotic indicators used in monitoring ecosystem health do reflect species diversity within a community, but biodiversity within the ecosystem as a whole has not yet received the attention in coastal marine ecosystems as it has in terrestrial and freshwater systems. Three threats to biodiversity are particularly important: habitat modification, invasion by non-indigenous species, and large incidental mortalities from fishing activities. In San Francisco Bay, many dominant benthic animals and zooplankters are non-indigenous. They have displaced many indigenous species and some have had profound effects on production and trophic dynamics in the estuary. Important challenges for science are to: evaluate biological diversity on regional scales and the effects of habitat modification and fragmentation on diversity; and
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium relate diversity to ecosystem function and resilience. Ecological Units and Time Frames The perspectives of management in these coastal ecosystems have evolved to include larger and interrelated ecological units and longer time frames. In Louisiana, management plans by the state and under CWPPRA are based on the nine hydrological basins of the Mississippi Delta Plain and Chenier Plain. Each of these basins are large estuarine systems. But, a collection of basin plans does not constitute a comprehensive ecosystem management plan because decisions have to be made concerning interbasin allocation of riverine waters and sediments (Boesch et al., 1994). Scientific controversies in the Mississippi Delta system are often based on different time perspectives, with geologists seeing delta wetland deterioration as part of a natural process of cyclic construction and destruction, whereas ecologists are alarmed at the rapid rates of change compared to recent history. Similarly, until sediment tracers yielded evidence of increased eutrophication, some argued that hypoxia on the inner shelf had probably always existed as it does today. There was no historical perspective. In South Florida, the Everglades, Florida Bay, and the Keys are increasingly seen as a continuous and interconnected landscape and seascape (Boesch et al., 1993). Still, important questions remain regarding the importance of historical events, especially hurricanes, and long-term climatic variations in Florida Bay. In San Francisco Bay, significant differences between the northern and southern portions of the Bay provide the basis of different management strategies. It is recognized that because of sedimentation resulting from mining activities in the watershed, the infilling of Bay margins, and the introduction of numerous non-indigenous species, the Bay today is far different than it was before European settlement. Return to the pristine state is not an option. Similarly, the historical changes and potential futures of the Chesapeake Bay have become better understood. Management is now focusing on the Tributary Strategy, in which each major subestuary and its watershed is being managed. Time frames of processes have received attention: in situ, continuous measurements detect biologically important, weather-related events; residence times in groundwater of several years are important it controlling the flow of nitrogen through the watershed; and the consequences of deforestation and reforestation over decades and centuries can be followed in the sediment record. Important challenges for science are to: describe and measure at appropriate space and time scales; and evaluate the effects of cumulative small scale effects on the larger ecosystem.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium the total allowable catch of the fish stock (e.g., surf clams off the Mid-Atlantic coast), which they will hold (own) in perpetuity. If this situation were not perceived to be permanent, fishermen would be less inclined to take the long-term view in seeking the best strategies to protect their economic interest, hence, invalidating one of the central tenets of the privatization approach. This “reality ” seems to rule out the possibility to do very much preliminary research or pilot studies on ITQs prior to their universal adoption in a given fishery. Many important scientific questions remain with respect to fisheries management. For example, fishery scientists are not yet in a position to ascribe many of the observed variations in fish abundance to specific causes (pollution, overfishing, habitat loss, etc.), although clearly, this kind of understanding is basic to a rational management program. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments (OCSLAA) The offshore oil and gas activities in the United States are governed under the OCSLAA of 1978. This legislation contains an explicit “science” component—the Environmental Studies Program (ESP) of the Minerals Management Service (MMS). The purpose of the ESP is to conduct studies in support of the overall national offshore oil and gas program. Quite a bit of research has been done under this program, although some critics charge that the results do not seem to be closely related to the policy- and decision-making processes. Due to conflicts among some of the coastal states, environmental interests, and the federal government, both the Congress and the President have placed moratoria on the leasing of certain offshore ocean areas over the last six years. The resumption of preparations for leasing in some of these areas has been predicated on the completion of an adequate set of environmental studies. A recent National Research Council study, conducted at the request of MMS, also pointed out that the ESP has not supported enough social and economic studies in its program to date (National Research Council, 1993). Recommendations were made with regard to a wide range of studies that are needed. An important difference exists between the OCS oil and gas program and the two programs discussed above (CZM and fisheries management). The first two programs are truly intergovernmental in nature, with the states and territories playing active roles as “partners” with the federal government. [The same is true for the National Estuary Program discussed below.] The oil and gas program (and the marine mammal protection program discussed below, as well) is first and foremost a federal program, operated principally for national purposes with the states limited to an advisory role (except for the legal leverage gained through the operation of the federal consistency provisions of the CZMA). Better science can sometimes reduce conflict in controversial development proposals by narrowing the difference between estimates of adverse effects. However, conflicts directly related to perceived inequities in decision-making power must be addressed directly by adjustments in policy- and decision-making procedures.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium In addition to questions regarding the adequacy of socioeconomic studies of the impacts of offshore oil and gas development and the debate over the role of the states and territories in decision making, a number of other issues involving the more technical aspects of offshore oil and gas operations have also faced the program. One example would be the impacts of the use and disposal of drilling muds on the surrounding environment and the resources contained therein. Are such muds injurious to the marine environment and to marine resources? If so, under what conditions? Too often, even after MMS has funded environmental studies to examine issues such as this one, controversy continues. Controversy may persist because the validity of particular findings are in question, or the interpretation of the results is debatable. Recently, MMS is making greater use of outside peer review groups to help in the drafting of work statements; in the review of requests for proposals and in the selection of research proposals to be funded. Hopefully, this more rigorous scientific approach to the operation of the ESP will contribute to a more widely accepted offshore oil and gas program. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 From the beginning, science has been an integral part of the national effort to protect marine mammals in the United States. The legislation —the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972—authorized the creation of the Marine Mammal Commission and a committee of scientific advisors on marine mammals. There was (and still is) a close working connection between the agencies implementing and enforcing the legislation (the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service), the Marine Mammal Commission, and the marine mammal scientific community. The prominence of science may be attributable to the fact that a tractable problem is posed in the legislation—that of protecting marine mammals by prohibiting the taking of the animals and through other related measures. Science has a clear place in assisting in the achievement of that goal. Scientific studies are undertaken of ways to achieve optimum sustainable populations and of all of the factors affecting the health and well-being of various types of marine mammals. Science also is used in developing innovative methodologies to estimate population levels of animals that are sometimes difficult to observe. Research is carried out with regard to the effects of changes in habitat, pollution, food supply, and other changes that could affect various species. On the other hand, fewer studies seem to be undertaken of the interactions between marine mammals and other species, for example fish stocks, which are not under the same kind of protective regime. Also, few studies of the long-term implications of the policy of near absolute protection have appeared in the literature and, with the exception of research involving indigenous peoples, relatively few social science studies exist.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium National Estuary Program The National Estuary Program (NEP) is the newest coastal ocean management program to appear at the federal level. Formally authorized by the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act, 21 of our nation's most important estuaries are now a part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-administered effort. The aim of the program is to produce improved management of important estuaries in the United States, using a waterbody-drainage basin approach and not an approach structured principally by political boundaries and jurisdictions. The legislation and EPA's operational guidance together have built a significant science component into each of the estuary programs. Patterned after the “flagship” program—Chesapeake Bay—scientific and technical advisory committees are created as one of the major organizational elements of each program. These committees oversee research programs aimed at filling the gaps in understanding the behavior of the estuaries in question. If the Delaware estuary program is a representative example, the bulk of the funding available to the individual NEP programs during their first several years goes into research and characterization studies of the estuaries. With the completion and federal approval of the initial comprehensive conservation management plans (CCMPs), the first several estuary programs are entering the “implementation” phase, notably Buzzards Bay (Massachusetts) and Puget Sound (Washington). No specific implementation plan had been included in the 1987 legislation on the assumption, presumably, that each of the agencies in the “management conference” (a body of all of the involved and affected federal, state, and local agencies) would accept the responsibility to implement those portions of the CCMP under their control. Relatively little NEP funding appears to be going into management or implementation-related research, although a novel program like NEP would seemingly benefit from such studies. Estimates of the degree of science involvement in each of the five coastal ocean management programs are noted in Figure 2. Entries in the table have been subjectively estimated by the author based on reference to the underlying legislation; the nature of the implementation processes used in connection with the five programs; and a general appraisal of the policy making approaches in each area.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Figure 2 Science and national coastal/ocean management programs. Figure 2 shows that “science” is explicitly built into four of the five coastal ocean management programs. Only the CZM program has no such element. Of the five programs, the marine mammal protection program is judged to be the most tractable; the fisheries management program and the offshore oil and gas program, the second most tractable; the estuary management program is of “moderate” tractability; and the CZM program is the least tractable (Cicin-Sain, 1986). Estimates of the degree that the natural sciences are involved in the program suggest that the most tractable program is likely to have a larger natural science involvement than the less tractable program. Similar estimates for the social sciences suggest an involvement more than minimal in only two program areas, fisheries management and offshore oil and gas. Conclusions and Suggestions I have argued that science can play an important role in the formulation, implementation, and operation of national coastal ocean management programs. In practice, however, the role is uneven and varies from program to program and is dependent on the phase of the policy process. Figure 3 below contains a list of some of the principal ways that, in my view, science can have a positive influence on the coastal ocean policy, decision-making, and management process.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Taking into account the opportunities for science input suggested in Figure 3, several suggestions are offered to those agencies currently funding coastal ocean science research. This research is being conducted to support improved policy making, decision making, and management, and to support those responsible for the drafting of legislation and the implementation and operation of national coastal ocean management programs. Coastal ocean management legislation should contain specific mandates for regular, objective evaluation of the management systems resulting from the legislation. Coastal ocean research programs justified on the basis of improving policy, decision making, and management should involve active managers of coastal ocean resource management programs in all of the processes related to project selection, funding, and oversight. Agencies implementing coastal ocean resource management programs containing new and relatively untested concepts should adopt implementation strategies that acknowledge the experimental nature of such programs. Coastal and ocean resource management programs should regularly collaborate to (a) develop and maintain a list of the most critical scientific and technical needs facing such programs and (b) ensure that these research needs are regularly forwarded to agencies funding research in this area. My suggestions for an initial list of candidate items are given below. Topics Deserving Additional Research Emphasis A number of topics should be the focus of additional research, including: development of appropriate mitigation and restoration strategies based on a full understanding of the natural functioning of wetlands, improved understanding of eutrophication and algal blooms, effective management measures for non-point source pollution control, determination of coastal erosion rates, methodologies for handling cumulative impacts, methodologies for multiple use coastal ocean management, methodologies for valuation of natural resources (and the uses of such resources),
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium use of innovative approaches for managing shoreline use in the face of accelerating sea level rise, formulation of better integrated coastal zone management program, use of market-based approaches in natural resources and environmental management, operationalizing the ethical concepts of intergenerational equity and stewardship, operationalizing the legal concepts underlying the public trust doctrine, and development and testing of innovative approaches to shared governance (federal-state) approaches in the expanded territorial sea and in the Exclusive Economic Zone. Figure 3 Ways in which science can assist coastal ocean policymaking at different stages of the policy process.
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium Others will, of course, have their own candidate items for this list. In any event, it is hoped that agencies funding coastal ocean science and research will find listings such as this one useful as they formulate their funding priorities. Suggestions Regarding the Integration of Science and Policy in Coastal Ecosystem Management Good science and good policy are fundamental to the rational management of coastal ecosystems. Clearly, unless at least the general outlines of the behavior of a particular ecosystem are known, effective management of that system is virtually impossible. Indeed, it is reasonable to suppose that as our knowledge increases and becomes more complete, our ability to manage also increases. Bringing this knowledge to the policy-making table in a timely fashion requires that natural scientists have been able to find support for studies of sufficient duration and appropriate design to produce the necessary answers. Social scientists also bring necessary expertise to the policy-making table. Policy making, especially policy making that is a part of the ecosystem management process, obviously requires more than a good scientific understanding of the ecosystem to be managed. Also required for policy making are the skills of lawyers, political scientists, and economists, among others. Just as the natural sciences may show the kind of options that exist relative to the management of the ecosystem, so the social sciences can show the policy options that exist relative to the human interaction with the ecosystem and the resources associated with it. In short, the natural sciences can develop options on what could be done in terms of the scientific realities of the ecosystem, the social sciences can develop options on what could be done in terms of the human/social systems that interact with the ecosystem. Ideally, the policymaker then seeks to make the best decision on what will be done by integrating these two sets of options together with the value preferences of the public. In practice, as we all know, this seldom happens. This failure is often blamed on one of two causes: that scientists, preferring curiosity-motivated research, prefer not to deal with applied problems, or that policymakers are too busy reacting to the political pressures of the day to seek and use good scientific information. Plainly, these explanations neither adequately describe the situation nor provide any real help in addressing it. I would like to suggest that there are at least two alternative explanations, both of which offer some suggestions as to possible remedies. They are (1) the inflexible nature of
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium the present management system and (2) the lack of incentives for meaningful scientific involvement. The Nature of the Present Management System—Most management systems, even those directed at important resources of coastal ecosystems, are not science-driven in any fundamental sense. Their characteristics are often the result of political compromise in the legislative process and not of scientific standards. Management measures are often adopted by policy bodies because these groups need to be seen as acting—and acting, now—to solve the problem. The adoption of management measures does not necessarily await a full scientific understanding of the processes or the natural system that is involved. Indeed, design and implementation of a management approach typically involves a number of non-scientific needs and constraints: the need to act consistently with the legal jurisdiction of the policy body the perceived need for universal application the need for equity and fairness in the management regime the need for simplicity and administrative workability the need for political acceptability and public support of the proposed management regime Too often, the question of scientific soundness of the management process simply becomes one among several factors to be weighed in devising a management strategy rather than the essential underpinning of such a strategy. Several other characteristics of the management process also reduce the opportunities for scientific rigor in this process. First, the management process is almost always linear with little or no significant feedback. Relatively little attention is paid to monitoring the results of the management process and using this information to revise and/or adjust the management approach. This lack of feedback is a serious shortcoming in many of today's management schemes. It may be associated with a reluctance on the part of managers and policymakers to set (and be bound by) clearly articulated, measurable goals for their management efforts. And, without such specific, quantitative goals, effective “outcome” monitoring is impossible. A second reason why existing management systems may seem impervious to new scientific information involves timing and the question of priorities. Once a management process is put in place, little time seems to exist for analysis, modification, or assessment. The time available seems taken up with the formal processes such as public notice, public
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium hearing procedures, and other activities related to the operation of the ongoing regulatory system, and not with retrospective studies or analyses. We are used to performing periodic maintenance on our automobiles as a necessary step to keep them performing properly. That our social systems need a similar kind of periodic assessment and maintenance, is not yet well understood. In summary, then, we tend to have management systems in place that are not especially science-friendly. They are seen to be preoccupied with processes and constraints related to legal and administrative considerations. Given the current approach to management, little time, inclination, or incentive exists to seek the relevant science and apply it. Similarly, those on the science side have little reason to believe that they would be welcomed at the policy-making table even if they were aware of the need, the timing, and the expertise required. The Lack of Incentives for Meaningful Scientific Involvement—At any given time, most of our scientific expertise is being applied to one line of research or another. For the most part, scientific talent does not tend to be unengaged and awaiting new assignments. Hence, the task is to motivate scientists to shift from their present preoccupations into the areas where policymakers feel their expertise is needed. It is germane, then, to ask what attracts scientists to particular problems. Most of us would agree that factors such as those below are important in this respect: the inherent challenge represented by the problem the belief that a person may have talents/techniques/or expertise that are uniquely suitable to the problem in question the availability of relatively flexible funding support the perception that it is an important problem (to society, to the nation, or to humanity, etc.) I think that it is fair to say that the scientist, from the laboratory bench, does not automatically associate these factors with the kind of policy-related applied research that is required in the science-policy partnership. But, in my view, applied research having a clear social purpose, should be able to attract scientific attention if the importance of the problems and the availability of funds are adequately communicated to the right parts of the scientific community. Securing funding for such research is always an issue. It should, in principle, be easier to obtain funding support for applied research clearly tied to important policy or management problems, than for the typical, more basic studies. Yet this does not necessarily
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium seem to be the case. It is my impression that funding offices are inclined to support more basic research even if they are part of a mission-oriented agency. Perhaps they believe that more fundamental kinds of inquiry are more likely to pay off in the long run. A Few Suggestions—I have several suggestions that I feel might be helpful in moving toward the improved integration of science and policy in ecosystem management. These suggestions deal with changes in the management approach and with issues having to do with funding applied research proposals. I believe that a relatively small number of changes in the management approach would significantly improve the prospects for a more effective integration of “science” into that process. In particular, I believe that adding greater specificity and accountability to the management process is a way to begin. Regulatory regimes, under this suggestion, would be called upon to be specific with regard to their goals and to specify those goals in measurable outcome-oriented terms. For example, a program to manage a given estuary might set its goals as follows: “by the end of year two, to have the abundance of a given fish stock increase by 20 percent; to reduce the areas of closed shellfish beds by 50 percent; and to lower the annual swimming beach closings from an average of four per year to no more than two per year.” In my view, it is important that the goals be expressed in terms of the real bottom line—that is, what the public expects to see as a result of a successful, publicly funded, management effort for the estuary in question. I emphasize this point because of the current tendency to avoid the setting of specific goals. Many of our present management systems seem to operate on a kind of “faith”—faith that if certain meritorious policies are followed in the regulatory systems, that desirable outcomes will result (or, at the least, that the chances of poor outcomes will be reduced). In this process-oriented approach, the goal of a given management program becomes the more or less systematic application of a set of policies, rules, and/or procedures in the operation of the regulatory permitting process. The extent to which this approach actually produces “desirable outcomes” is rarely, if ever, formally determined. Clearly, several problems exist with the present approach. First, it is not easy to determine how well the management system is doing or to find out how much it is costing to achieve certain real benefits because specific outcomes are rarely expressed as goals and equally rarely monitored. Second, it is difficult to make improvements since we are not generally employing a causal model in the management process. My suggestions, then, are twofold. First, require policymakers and managers to shift their focus away from process-related outcomes or intermediate surrogates, (for example, a
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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Symposium reduction of 60 percent in the phosphates entering an estuary), to bottom-line, outcome-oriented goals and require systematic monitoring and reporting of those goals. This shift will soon make clear to all concerned that we probably do not know how to achieve the desired goals because of gaps in our understanding of the targeted ecosystems. Policymakers and managers will see that, one way or the other, funds must be found to close these gaps and to begin to manage in a more informed way. Once the policymakers and managers see that they must avail themselves of more and better (more relevant) “science,” ways will be found to fund such work. I suggest that among CZM grants, Sea Grant grants, NOAA Coastal Ocean Program funding, and funding for research through the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, a rather sizable amount of money exists that could potentially be directed toward these needs. Perhaps some funds could be set aside in the Coastal Ocean Program or in the Sea Grant Program to match funding made available by field-level coastal zone managers to confront specific, critically important research needs. This kind of leverage is needed given the limited funding that field program managers tend to have to support their needs for management-oriented applied science. The suggestions made here are not complex, nor do they require new scientific breakthroughs. Rather, these suggestions represent a return to basics. Ask the interested public what they want from a “restored ” Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, or Gulf of Maine and then ask establish a management system to achieve it and a monitoring system to measure progress along the way. The pressure for relevant science to be applied will be, I feel, strong and immediate, and money will be found to fund it. References Brewer, G.D., and P. deLeon. 1983. The Foundations of Policy Analysis, Dorset Press, Homewood, Ill. Cicin-Sain, B. 1986. Ocean resources and intergovernmental relations: An analysis of patterns. In Ocean Resources and U.S. Intergovernmental Relations in the 1980s, Maynard Silva, ed. Westview Press, Boulder, Colo. Lowry, K. 1985. Assessing the implementation of federal consistency policy. American Planning Association Journal 51:288-298. National Research Council. 1993. Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program: IV Lessons and Opportunities. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
Representative terms from entire chapter: