2022 Coastal & Estuarine Summit
Hosted by Restore America's Estuaries
New Orleans, LA | December 4-8, 2022
Outreach, Education and Engagement
OEE
Mon, 5 Dec, 17:30 - 19:30 Central Time (UTC -5)
Poster
Location: Poster Hall
Track: Outreach, Education and Engagement

Expansion of the Galveston Bay Foundation’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program

Shannon Batte, Galveston Bay Foundation
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After oysters are consumed at restaurants, the majority of the shells are sent to landfills. The removal of oyster shells from Galveston Bay, via harvesting practices and extreme weather events, has led to a shortage of hard substrate, a key component of successful oyster development. To reestablish hard substrate in the bay, the Galveston Bay Foundation’s (GBF) Oyster Shell Recycling Program partners with local restaurants to collect spent oyster shells in 5-gallon buckets or 32-gallon bins. The shells are transported weekly by staff to curing sites where the shells are properly quarantined in preparation for reuse in local oyster reef restoration projects. The shells are stockpiled and sun cured on land for a minimum of 6 months to prevent the introduction of parasites and bacteria into the bay. Then the fully cured recycled oyster shells are returned to the bay via shoreline protection projects, small and large-scale reef creation projects, as well as reef enhancement initiatives such as volunteer oyster gardening. With the assistance of Coastal Management Program funds, donations, and sponsorships, GBF was able to purchase a one-of-a-kind heavy‐duty truck equipped with a dump bed and bin lift to facilitate the expansion of shell recycling efforts to the inner loop of Houston. The program has expanded to 26 restaurants and 3 storage sites, steadily increasing the tonnage of shells recycled on an annual basis. GBF has managed this program since 2011, collecting over 1,300 tons of oyster shells as of March 2022. Of this amount, over 500 tons have been incorporated in restoration efforts in Galveston Bay, with plans for utilizing the remaining shells in the next 3 to 5 years.

Targeted Outreach for Green Infrastructure in Vulnerable Areas (TOGI): A Pilot Study Empowering Historically Underserved Communities in Resiliency Actions

Katlyn Fuentes, Chesapeake Research Consortium
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The Targeted Outreach for Green Infrastructure in Vulnerable Areas (TOGI) is a pilot project being led by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Habitat Goal Implementation Team. The goal of this pilot project is to work with communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to design green infrastructure projects that meet both community and habitat conservation goals. Areas within the City of Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Middle Peninsula, Virginia; and Cambridge, Maryland were selected as areas susceptible to climate change within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that could benefit from green or nature-based infrastructure projects. The selection of these communities also included overlaying locally relevant information about diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, as well as social science best practices. The process included listening sessions to help identify local opportunities where climate change problems can be addressed through green infrastructure options, while also helping to meet social needs. Following the listening session, a design workshop was held to develop a preliminary design concept for a community-identified project. The outcome is a design concept for the selected project and assistance in identifying implementation funding.

Conservation Districts Partnering to Conserve our Nation's Coasts

Mariah MacKenzie, National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)
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Across the United States, nearly 3,000 conservation districts—almost one in every county—work directly with landowners to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forests, and wildlife. Conservation districts help to coordinate assistance from all available sources—public and private, local, state, and federal—to develop locally-driven solutions to natural resources concerns. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) represents these districts and the more than 17,000 citizens who voluntarily serve on conservation district governing boards. There are over 300 conservation districts with ocean and Great Lakes coastline across the country. In this poster, NACD will showcase how conservation districts partner with others to conserve coasts, spotlighting four examples: one each from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts, and the Great Lakes. Participants will learn from the poster the varied work conservation districts are doing across the country to conserve coasts and watersheds, and gain ideas on ways they might collaborate with local conservation districts for voluntary, locally-led conservation. The poster will also include interactivity through the use of a QR code and social media hashtags. Participants will be able to scan a QR code on the poster to learn more about conservation districts. The poster will also encourage participants to interact with NACD and conservation districts with posts to social media using the hashtags #NACD and #DistrictsConserveCoasts.

Nature-Based Solutions: Community Volunteers Come Together to Help Defend a Vulnerable Coastal Town

Brittany Collins, The Nature Conservancy
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The Eastern Shore of Virginia is one of the nation’s most threatened coastal regions from rising sea levels. The Town of Wachapreague, one of the last fishing communities left on the Eastern Shore, is protected from the sea by a system of barrier islands and marshes, where marshes are the last natural defense against storms and rising seas. As a result of climate change, protective saltmarshes are eroding, and flooding events are more frequent. Waves are the driving force behind these erosional processes causing the marshes to retreat. Without maintaining broad saltmarshes to diminish wave energy, the town will be more vulnerable to storms in the future. Thus, wave attenuation and marsh accretion are critical components of any coastal protection and resilience plan. To help this small community, The Nature Conservancy has had hundreds of volunteers donate thousands of hours to help construct oyster reefs adjacent to an eroding saltmarsh island directly protecting the Town of Wachapreague’s waterfront from the open water of a large coastal bay. The volunteers are crucial to this project for the manufacturing of substrates on land and the field installation of the reefs. The oyster reefs were constructed of two materials: OysterCatcher, by Sandbar Oyster CompanyTM, and Oyster Castles. These reefs are designed to attenuate wave energy that erodes the marsh edge and to facilitate sediment accretion to enhance conditions for potential marsh expansion. The University of Virginia took direct field measurements to quantify the effects of oyster reef restoration on the physical and geomorphic environments associated with the marsh island. This study demonstrates the coastal protection benefits, including wave energy mitigation and marsh sedimentation provided by combining different substrate designs.

Barge-ing Ahead for the Bay: The Prudence H. and Louis F. Ryan Mobile Oyster Restoration Center for Remote Setting

Julie Luecke, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
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In 2019, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) splashed its innovative, new remote setting facility, the Prudence H. and Louis F. Ryan Mobile Oyster Restoration Center, for large-scale oyster restoration and community engagement in the Chesapeake Bay. This uniquely mobile facility sits atop two linked barges that hold six 850-gallon tanks where oyster larvae will set on recycled shells and reef balls. When the oysters have set, these shells and reef balls are planted on nearby sanctuary reefs or given to volunteers to grow as part of CBF’s VA Oyster Gardening Program. For years CBF has done this setting work on the campus of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), which has been a key partner in supporting restoration efforts. While CBF continues some activities on shore at VIMS, the new mobile facility has increased the efficiency and doubled the capacity of our oyster-setting work and reduced the risk of losing oysters during transit as the oysters are grown on the rivers they will be planted in. As a result, CBF can plant millions more oysters and engage with new communities as the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance works toward a goal of 10 billion new oysters in the Bay by 2025.

Going Further, Together: Values and Benefits of a Large Scale Regional Collaborative Group

Lorie Staver, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
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The Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative (CBSSC) is a regional collaborative network of scientists, coastal managers, decision makers, and community representatives whose aim is to assess how changes in sea level will affect the Chesapeake Bay. A working group of scientists (i.e. SET WG) who monitor tidal wetlands at multiple sites throughout the Bay region have been meeting since 2015 to pool together site-specific data to assess regional trends. This group represents several different organizations (e.g. NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserves, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, state natural resources departments, academia). Importantly, the group has built trust over the years which allows participants to work collaboratively and feel comfortable sharing intellectual property and data. Regular meetings among the working group members have strengthened cross-agency collaborations and fostered synergy among the group members that has resulted in a variety of work products that include: an interactive map inventory of surface elevation tables and associated metadata within the CBSSC, an outreach video highlighting monitoring at a suite of marsh types, multiple joint grant applications to pursue monitoring analyses, and journal publications currently in development. The SET WG also largely influenced the planning and content of the CBSSC Marsh Resilience Summit, the articles for a Wetlands Journal Special Feature on “Tidal Wetland Resilience to Increased Rates of Sea Level Rise in the Chesapeake Bay”, and a workshop on vertical land motion. This poster will describe the benefits and challenges of a regional working group connected by mutual scientific objectives, and approaches to forging a productive working relationship. Given the geomorphic suite of different marsh types, we feel that this working group yields a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Shorebird Science and Conservation Collective, A New Project to Translate Shorebird Tracking Data into On-The-Ground Conservation.

Candace Stenzel, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
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Shorebirds are among the planet’s most migratory groups of animals. Scientists across the Americas have used miniature technologies to track species, revealing hemisphere-spanning journeys. Shorebirds travel thousands of miles every year, and coastlines and estuaries are of particular importance to shorebirds for feeding, resting, and nesting. However, coastlines and estuaries are changing, impacted by industrial development, urbanization, and altered hydrology. These alterations are a significant contributor to declines in shorebird numbers. Some populations have lost over 70% of their numbers in just the past 50 years. But restoration projects, protected areas, private lands conservation, and effective outreach activities are in turn, creating habitats for shorebirds along coasts and estuaries. The challenges and opportunities of conserving shorebirds across multiple sectors emphasize the need for coordinated, focused attention on shorebird conservation and access to available data on shorebird use and connectivity of coastal and estuarine habitats. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's newest initiative, the Shorebird Science and Conservation Collective, is one such group aiding in these efforts. The Collective is a partnership of over 50 scientists and practitioners who have contributed tracking data collected from over 2,800 individuals of 29 shorebird species to inform on-the-ground conservation action. This poster will introduce the Collective and highlight partner case studies showing how tracking data is used to support their work. Examples include informing species status assessments at the National level, siting of conservation easements at the regional level, and outreach initiatives at the local level. The Shorebird Collective is bridging this gap for effective shorebird management of coastlines and estuaries.

Everyone Poops - Keeping Waste of Out Puget Sound One Load at a Time

Jeff Barney, NW Mobile Pumpout and Environmental Services
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The South Sound Mobile Pumpout Program operates two custom built Pumpout Vessels covering an extensive area of islands, bays and inlets. The program is funded in part by "Clean Vessel Act Funds" to help reduce pollution from recreation vessel sewage discharges into U.S. waters. In a collaborative partnership with NPO's, private shellfish companies, and local government we service this remote section of Puget Sound. We offer FREE Pumpout Services and educate recreational boaters about the greater Puget Sound Estuary and its No Discharge Zone classification. This poster will tell the story of Captain Paul Weyn days on the water, the interesting people he encounter's and how he educates our boaters about water quality and No Discharge into this fragile estuary we call Puget Sound.

Crowd Sourcing Plastic Pollution Data Throughout the United States

Tracy Weatherall, Mission-Aransas NERR
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A citizen science program called Nurdle Patrol has recorded plastic pellet concentrations along beaches, lake shorelines, riverbanks, and railroads from volunteers conducting 10-minute surveys. Over 5,000 volunteers have collected over 12,000 surveys at over 5,000 sites across the United States, Mexico, and 16 other countries to help identify possible sources of the plastic pellets (nurdles). Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are the basis of almost everything plastic. Nurdles look like food to animals causing possible intestinal blockage and/or starvation if eaten, and they absorb harmful chemicals in the environment that are known to have negative impacts on fish and wildlife. Other benefits to the Nurdle Patrol program include removal of nurdles from the environment, creating an awareness about the nurdle issue, and using citizen science data in management decisions. This presentation will focus on Nurdle Patrol efforts by citizen scientists along the Gulf of Mexico, what the data is showing, and future direction of the program in changing policy about plastics reaching the ocean.

Lessons Learned While Restoring Oysters to New York Harbor

Jennifer Zhu, Billion Oyster Project
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Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is a non-profit organization with a mission to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives and engaging one million new yorkers in the process. Since 2014, BOP has made efforts to foster awareness, affinity and understanding of the harbor by engaging New Yorkers directly in the work of restoring one billion oysters to the estuary. This presentation focuses on some of the lessons learned through years of research and hands-on experience of oyster restoration in the harbor. Starting with aquaculture, we found higher spat (oyster larvae that settled on shell) count at lower depths during settlement within our hatchery container. This was expected as oyster spat prefer to settle away from the light source (where it is likely affected by temperature changes) and the water pump near the top of the container. We also found that certain restoration techniques and structures may be more appropriate at different oyster restoration sites, which can be identified through pre-installation surveying for bottom substrate (sediment characterization and benthic sampling), wild oysters, and biodiversity (epibenthic and fish surveys) of the site. Moreover, a combination of different oyster restoration techniques and structures for one site or project can be used to jump start the oyster population and maximize larvae settlement, in addition to partnering with other practitioners to restore ecological function and protect vulnerable shorelines through wetland restoration and living shoreline installations. Consistent feedback and input from staff and volunteers that participate in the restoration process will help incorporate these lessons learned into our protocols and shared with organizations alike. BOP strives to build upon past experience and explore new eco-friendly designs for estuary restoration that will not only enhance marine ecosystems but also serve New Yorkers.

Spreading Awareness and Prevention of Marine Debris through Community Cleanup Events

Jessi James, Mississippi State University Extension Service
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Marine debris constitutes any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and, directly or indirectly, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment. The presence of marine debris has been shown to have significant environmental and economic impacts. Unfortunately, the quantity of marine debris is increasing at accelerating rates due to the increased production of single-use items and poor stewardship practices. To address these issues, a team of Extension specialists founded the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program (MSCCP). The mission of the MSCCP is to prevent and remove litter from the environment through education, outreach, research, and cleanup events. During cleanup events, the relevant information is utilized to create marine debris-focused outreach materials that are distributed through a variety of methods, including social media and direct presentations. Feedback gathered during outreach events has led to several additional activities and materials for the program. These activities include the addition of a July 5th Star-Spangled cleanup, monthly cleanups at peer-suggested sites, as well as the creation of the Mississippi Inland Cleanup Program (MSICP). This new program will extend the cleanup efforts inland to serve a total of twenty-one counties across the southeastern region of Mississippi by promoting trash-free education and additional cleanup events.

Science in Action: Evaluating the Application of CTP Skills and Knowledge to Decision Making

Patricia Hopp, ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholar
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The Coastal Training Program (CTP), located within the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, provides science-based trainings to South Carolina’s coastal decision makers and the community. These trainings provide hands-on skills and knowledge that will help leaders address natural resource management and foster a more resilient coastal community. An evaluation of the program is crucial to maintaining high quality trainings for community members. An initial survey gathered general information on participant success in their attempts to implement knowledge and skills learned at CTP events. This survey was sent out to most every participant in one or more of the Coastal Training Program’s 61 events since January 2019 which included over 1300 participants. 83 participants responded to this survey. From those participants, seven interviews were conducted with questions asking about the participant’s experience in coastal decision making, the Coastal Training Program, and how they have tried implementing skills learned from CTP events into their workplace and community. Responses from these interviews were used to create success and challenge stories of CTP participants. The stories indicate that CTP is having a positive impact in the community through the success of participants. However, changes made in the program could promote more long-term solutions and awareness for increasing concerns along the South Carolina coast.

Fostering Water Quality Management and Flood Resilience with the Coast Watershed Game

Brenna Sweetman, NOAA Office for Coastal Management
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Coastal regions are densely populated, ecologically rich, and economically valuable environments that are also increasingly threatened by water and coastal hazards. Serious environmental management games help improve understanding of best practices to address these challenges through hands-on experience that improves critical thinking and creative problem solving. The Coast model of The Watershed Game, a large format board game developed by a team from Minnesota Sea Grant, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, is one such tool to educate and engage local leaders and youth on the interconnection of water quality, land use and flood resilience. Developed through social science research activities with Gulf and national stakeholders, the game is designed to facilitate conversations on water quality and flooding challenges; introduce plans, practices and policies to improve water quality and resilience; and inspire individuals to take actions and change behavior to support clean water and future flood resilience. These topics are crucial as coastal communities pursue new, more robust strategies to manage, protect, and restore their communities and resources in the face of climate change. The team is pleased to share the final versions of the classroom and local leader versions of the tool to support the health and vitality of our coastal regions through hands-on learning and engagement.

Risk Communication: A Campaign for Coastal New Jersey

Devon Blair, NJDEP
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The NJ Coastal Management Program in partnerships with the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, work with NJ communities in creative ways to communicate risk to flooding. The risk communication campaign aims to increase awareness and understanding of coastal flooding risks through several outreach efforts – community-based art program and social media campaigns. Each component aims to improve the methods and materials used by the state and local-decision makers, as well as community organizations and members, when communicating about the risk of coastal flooding. A series of community-based art installations allow us to work closely with community organizations around the state to host and partner with artists to create a unique artwork, events are held to engage communities around the artwork. To date there have been eleven Community-Based Organizations and artist teams that have participated in this program. “Know Your Tides NJ” social media campaign using infographics, videos, and photos to involve and inform the public about how they can be impacted from and need to plan for high tides. “Rising Together NJ” a communication campaign that allows anyone from NJ submit a variety of stories from anyone who has been impacted by flooding to raise awareness and how it impacts everyone across the state. MyCoastNJ, website and mobile app, allows users to connect through tools used to document tides, storm damage, beach cleanups, and more. NJ has deployed two tools “Highwater” and “Places We Love” with “Rising Together” tool coming soon. Through Risk Communication: A Campaign for Coastal New Jersey is able to share the importance of understanding flooding and how you can best protect yourself while communicating in a way that is understandable and welcoming to community members.

The New and Improved NOAA NCEI Coastal Water Temperature Guide

Jennifer Webster, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) / National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
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We are introducing a new twist on a great beach companion - the NOAA NCEI Coastal Water Temperature Guide. This popular interactive map provides recent ocean and Great Lakes temperatures based on data collected from buoys, tide gauges, and other monitoring stations from NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center and NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. Newly added to this product, is a daily, optimally interpolated sea surface temperature satellite image which fills in the water temperature gaps between physical stations. The satellite layer is clickable and will reveal a daily climatology temperature calculated by NCEI's Surface Marine in-situ group. Along with the popular calculated monthly means, users can use this information to plan recreational or vacation decisions in advance. Scientists, fishermen, and others can use this guide for invasive species determination, hypothermia estimates, or even when to store boats for over-wintering. By having access to regional data, users can compare the area’s current ocean temperature to past averages and also click through and view additional information collected by each monitoring station.

Oyster Reef Exploration: Using Virtual Reality as a Method of Science Communication

Katherine Harris, University of Central Florida
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First-hand, positive experiences with nature are a dominant factor in developing a person’s concern for the environment and influences engagement in conservation and restoration. For many people, gaining first-hand experience is limited, particularly for inaccessible habitats like oyster reefs. This impacts people’s awareness and may reduce community support for restoration efforts. The use of innovative and creative mediums of science communication can be used to increase awareness and environmental attitude in these cases. Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive virtual environment that simulates realistic experiences. Additionally, it has the power to evoke the same cognitive processes that occur when people interact with spaces in the real-world. Oyster reefs in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida were used as a case study. Through VR, participants learned about the importance of oyster reef habitats and how restoration can re-establish vital ecosystem services. It was hypothesized that oyster reef restoration communicated through a VR medium would increase participants’ knowledge and environmental attitude compared to an in-person, outreach-style of science communication. Realistic, 360° videos of oyster reef restoration projects were captured and displayed through fully immersive VR headsets along with narration. The in-person outreach consisted of games and activities that mirrored the content of the VR videos. A pre- post- assessment was used to measure the knowledge retention of participants and a pre- post- survey was used to measure environmental attitude. Preliminary results suggest that knowledge retention and environmental attitude increases in both the VR and in-person versions. However, viewing oyster reefs in VR was shown to have a stronger impact on participants. This preliminary data demonstrates that VR may be an effective way to increase access to threatened habitats and provide a positive, experience-based method of engaging with habitat restoration projects.

Taking a Grassroots Approach: Local Community Science Partnership Pilots Environmental Justice Field Study for Phytoremediation Potential of Grasses on Common Contaminants in a Coastal Urban Park

Jacqueline Wu, Randall's Island Park Alliance
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Phytoremediation continues to be a highly researched area of remediation across the world. However, much of the research is conducted in controlled greenhouses or in areas with low disturbance. Meanwhile, many urban areas contain highly elevated soil level contaminants due to centuries of human and industrial use. Randall’s Island Park Alliance’s Park-As-Lab program, a community science research collaborative, and researchers from local universities developed a pilot field study to investigate the ability of plants and soil microbes to stabilize or degrade soil contaminants. This took place at a two-acre Living Shoreline recreational area recently constructed on a vacant lot at Randall’s Island Park, an urban park with large volume of pedestrian traffic. Randall’s Island Park sits at the juncture of East Harlem and South Bronx, two historically underserved communities. A result of unequitable city-planning, soil contamination is disproportionately distributed where people of color and low-income communities are located, increasing their risk of exposure to harmful contaminants. This project aimed to reduce such risks in East Harlem and the South Bronx by studying phytoremediation strategies and increasing soil safety awareness in an urban environment. Toward this goal, RIPA and public university partners facilitated phytoremediation research, engaged stakeholders in scientific research, and promoted youth development in STEM careers at local high schools through applied research, ultimately supporting youth to drive change in their communities.

Community Ambassadors: Learning from Outreach for a Largescale Living Shoreline Project in South Carolina

Nicole Pehl, The Nature Conservancy
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The Boyd Living Shoreline project, primarily funded by the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation, will be the largest living shoreline in South Carolina upon its completion in 2023. Sized at one acre, the project will reduce site-specific erosion and create marine habitat while maintaining the look and function of a healthy marsh. Located alongside Morgan Park in downtown Georgetown, SC, this site is a community gem, offering refuge to people and animals alike in a small-town setting. Due to the site’s value among locals, community outreach has been a central focus during the project’s planning and design phase. Social restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented usual outreach initiatives, such as community forums and information-sharing workshops, leading to the formation of a Community Ambassador program. The goal of this program was to identify local representatives who were willing to learn about the project, disseminate information, offer input on the project’s design, and participate in follow-up meetings with the project team. To ensure that community representation was diverse and equitable, multiple avenues were used to find ambassadors, including flyers, Facebook ads, survey posters, and digital media. Working with the Ambassadors has built relationships, developed trust, and allowed for the free sharing of ideas between the project team and the community, leading to improved project design and community awareness. It has also led to additional outreach and engagement opportunities with various groups in the community, such as middle and high school students, library patrons, and business owners. The Community Ambassador program has proven to be an effective means of outreach for the Boyd Living Shoreline project and was vital to ensuring that community engagement and education occurred despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team will continue soliciting input from the Community Ambassadors through the project’s construction and monitoring.

Partnerships in Action: Integrating Estuary Restoration Techniques into Recreational Angling and Education

Kevin Swain, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
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Since the inception of the SCDNR South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) Program has worked with more than 500 unique organizations who have volunteered time focused on estuarine habitat restoration activities. Over 20+ years, through volunteerism, more than 106,800 hours of service has been focused on oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and salt marsh (Spartina alterniflora) restoration at 136 coastal SC sites. None of these efforts would have been possible without the continued commitment and participation by volunteers and programmatic partners. Continued partnerships have allowed this program to continue growing since 2000. In 2019, SCORE partnered with the Southeast Atlantic Resources Partnership (SARP) to secure a grant from the Fish Habitat Partnerships (FHP) to involve SC recreational angling groups in the creation, pre-deployment planning, deployment, and monitoring of oyster reefs in waterways accessible by target groups. Due to the COVID-19, pandemic the SCORE team was unable to utilize previous restoration methods and instead integrated recycled oyster shells into fabricated wire mesh cages dubbed Manufactured Wire Reefs (MWRs). The MWR reef unit more effectively utilizes recycled oyster cultch while also allowing for a portable, socially distanced activity to engage recreational angling groups. SCORE and 16 recreational angling groups deployed 296 MWRs at 13 sites in coastal SC. This methodology shift along with new and existing partnerships within the estuarine conservation community has opened the door to a variety of new oyster substrates and communities to work with. One such project will engage 3 Title 1 K-12 schools with the goal of developing an estuarine habitat conservation ethic while fostering youth recreational angling in underrepresented communities. Students will be enrolled in a comprehensive educational curriculum developed by SCDNR and partner organizations involving students in activities related to salt marsh education, estuarine habitat creation, and recreational angling.

WETshop: A Wetland Teacher Experience for Louisiana's Educators

Lindsay Seely, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
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WETshop is a coastal awareness, teacher stewardship workshop that is typically held in mid-July for five days at the Grand Isle Fisheries Research Laboratory on Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island, Grand Isle. With approximately 15-20 Louisiana teachers in attendance, the goals of WETshop are: 1) to provide teachers with a comprehensive, phenomena-based look at wetland issues related to history, fisheries management, wetland habitats, wetland ecosystems, coastal land loss and restoration, water quality, and oil & gas exploration; and 2) to educate a large population of Louisiana’s citizenry about the serious issues that Louisiana is facing due to coastal land loss. WETshop provides educators the rare opportunity to interact with scientists in a field environment along coastal southeast Louisiana and interface this experience with classroom activities, which provide the tools needed to improve wetland education. One of the culminating activities is a field trip from freshwater to saltwater ecosystems to experience the changing landscape, including changes in water quality parameters, biodiversity, and land loss. This immersive experience encourages teachers to take their newfound knowledge back to the classroom to not only educate their students but their colleagues as well. Once teachers complete this workshop, they are encouraged to complete a six-hour wetland project for their students, coworkers, and/or community, which will have a long-lasting and valuable impact. Teachers take a pre- and post-assessment of the topics discussed over the course of the workshop, and data has shown from the 2021 workshop that teacher scores improved from 50% to an average of 86%. WETshop could not happen without the continued partnerships between LDWF, BTNEP, Port Fourchon Commission, Sea Grant Louisiana, The Nature Conservancy, CWPPRA, LUMCON, and LA Department of Natural Resources as they all contribute current and useful materials along with meaningful experiences for the teachers involved in this workshop.

Stories from the Alabama Waterfront: Preserving the Oral Histories of Bayou La Batre

Jody Thompson, Auburn University
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Working waterfronts along the Gulf coast share a rich tapestry of historical, cultural and economic significance that can be difficult to communicate. One of the best ways to capture the fabric of the working waterfront is through oral histories. Over the years, many efforts have been made to capture the oral and video histories of those along Alabama’s working waterfront, resulting in a trove of valuable high-quality information that carries the importance of preserving these spaces. However, although a wide library of content exists, it remained piecemeal, serving as a static resource to be accessed on demand. In an effort to put these resources into a more active use, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium in partnership with Auburn University, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the University of Mississippi, worked with oral historian Anna Hamilton to create a dynamic, interactive picture of Alabama’s working waterfront. Using ArcGIS StoryMaps, the team used multiple media types to create an impactful audiovisual and interactive telling of arguably Alabama’s most important working waterfront town, communicating the importance of this economic and cultural system. The StoryMap (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/7e91d589406f4ed2828c1b5504998c3b) includes historic, current, and future working waterfront trends, interviews with industry workers, cultural aspects and events, and other important information. Capturing and showcasing oral history interviews was particularly important, as many of the participants have passed on. Our StoryMap is one example of an outreach tool that can be used to tell a working waterfront story and utilize some of the many oral histories that have been gathered. We hope to leverage this tool to create a coffee table book as well as to transcribe and catalog a number of audio histories from the Alabama waterfront that can be used to further enhance our story.

Using TNC Mapping Tools & Community Engagement to Enable Local Coastal Resilience Projects

Susan Bates, The Nature Conservancy
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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and partners have developed an online coastal resilience tool (CR Tool) which allows users to plot information about sea level change, habitat change, living shoreline feasibility, and coastline change. Offline, TNC also maintains a land protection prioritization tool which further aids our Coastal Resilience (CR) Program. TNC’s CR work at the Virginia Coast Reserve is focused on and driven by our communities, so robust engagement is crucial to our process. Built with community input, the CR Tool is used by local decision makers to inform local and regional planning, by the public to inform property and community decisions, and by TNC to inform our local coastal resilience work, land protection and habitat restoration. This includes projects within Oyster Village, a seaside community on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, to enhance resilience to sea level rise and storm surge for both habitat and community alike. This poster will illustrate the capabilities of TNC’s CR tools and community engagement, including how these methods inform and enable coastal resilience work in the village of Oyster.

People of Guana: Collaborative Science, Heritage, and Working with Descendent Communities

Glenda Simmons-Jenkins, Florida Public Archaeology Network and Gullah/Geechee Nation
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For 6,000 years people have called the Guana Peninsula in Northeast Florida home. Now, natural and cultural resources on the peninsula are threatened by climate change. The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR) directly manages the southern portion of the Guana Peninsula, providing stewardship, research opportunities, and visitor access. Using a collaborative science mindset, the People of Guana project hopes to gain a better sense of how resources were used in the past and how they currently are being used by communities to ensure responsive resource management and relationship building with visitors, descendants, and other community stakeholders. One key descendent community is the Gullah/Geechee, descendants of Africans who were human trafficked to the coastal Southeastern United States. While a historic marker at the park entrance describes clearing and building done by enslaved Africans, as well as their removal to South Carolina in 1784, little is known about their lives on the Guana Peninsula. The current community is striving to fill in lost connections to these ancestral landscapes. This project combines archaeological investigations and applied anthropological methods to broaden the scope of interpreted history and connect living Gullah/Geechee descendants with the conserved marsh landscape to better understand their significant role in Florida’s collective coastal heritage.