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Coastal Management Fellowship

2000-2002 Fellowship Project Summaries

Massachusetts: Shari Currey, nominated by Oregon Sea Grant, was placed with the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program. Shari's original project was to develop a resource policy to effectively manage personal watercraft (PWC) use in the coastal waters surrounding Cape Cod. However, the town voted to ban the use of jet skis rather than implement a new management policy. This directly affected Shari's project, and she worked with her mentor to develop a new project plan. They decided to create a PWC impact assessment manual, Personal Watercraft (PWC) Management Guide: a Comprehensive Reference Handbook, that could be used as a reference for anyone involved in PWC management. The manual is comprised of three chapters. First, a peer-reviewed scientific summary provides information on what is known about the impacts of PWC. Next, management strategies used throughout the nation, such as zoning, speed regulations, and education, are highlighted. And finally, issue recognition and creating PWC policy for a community is discussed. Shari distributed the manual to communities before the next boating season started.

California: Becky Ellin, nominated by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, was placed with the California Coastal Commission to develop the Northern and Central California Coastal Wetland Information System, a Microsoft® Access® database and geographic information system (GIS) planning tool to aid in the preservation of existing wetlands and restoration of historical wetlands. Becky chose wetland systems from four counties in northern and central California. She then inventoried the wetlands using existing data from the National Wetland Inventory, local documents, and aerial photography. Next, she conducted a needs assessment to identify the needed data layers to complete the GIS portion of the Web site. This interactive mapping component of the site enables users to access and explore digital spatial information in an easy-to-use Web interface and provides tools for displaying, zooming in and out, panning, querying, and printing spatial information. Another component of the site is the wetland profile section, which highlights, among other things, ownership, acreage, and on-site and surrounding land use. The result is a synthesis of existing biological, physical, and land use information for California's coastal wetlands.

Florida: Ian Zelo, nominated by Washington Sea Grant, was placed with the Florida Coastal Zone Management program to implement the second phase of Florida's BlueWays initiative, an effort to promote adaptive coastal management. The BlueWays initiative is comprised of three parts, and Ian developed the management component, which he designed as a stand-alone management tool. Ian's definition of management included any non-use activity that can significantly affect the natural environment or its use. This included regulation and permitting, as well as education, research, and restoration efforts. In all, Ian identified 14 management types and divided them into 42 management areas. Ian characterized agencies by interviewing coastal managers throughout the pilot region to ensure that managers had the opportunity to explain exactly what they do and how it related to the BlueWays management framework. BlueWays' major partner, the Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI), assisted in all of these phases. Although reorganization and staff changes in the Florida Coastal Zone Management program slowed the progress of the project, the prototype database and application, , is on the Web.

Oregon: The fellow nominated by Oregon Sea Grant, was placed with the Oregon Coastal Zone Management program to develop a littoral cell management plan. Headlands divide the coast of Oregon into sections called littoral cells, or "sandsheds." These natural divisions allow Oregon's coastal managers to take a regional approach to coastal hazards planning. David's project involved a three-step process in the development of a management plan: inventory, risk assessment, and implementation. David created a geographic information system (GIS) inventory at tax-parcel scale, including such features as elevation, orthophotography, parcel ownership value, development date, and jurisdictional lines. The spatial analysis of these data provides support for coastal hazards planning. Next, he investigated historical shoreline change and storm events to identify high-risk coastal zones. The City of Bandon and an unincorporated urbanized area in Lincoln County were both classified as high-risk based on this analysis.

Maryland: Rachel Smyk-Newton, nominated by University of Southern California Sea Grant, was placed with the to develop a comprehensive erosion control plan. Originally, the plan encompassed all of Maryland's shores, but due to lack of funding, the project was limited to two counties that were used as pilot areas. A main component of the erosion control plan is a geographic information system (GIS) tool to help identify regions in need of protection, as well as the types of protection that may be appropriate. Rachel developed four criteria for the model: the rate of erosion in a region; the environmental impacts due to erosion; the impacts of erosion on public and private infrastructure; and the region's vulnerability to sea level rise. In addition to these criteria, Rachel developed types of recommended protection for the model, which include hard action, soft action, no action, land acquisition, and regulatory tools. Maryland continues to work with the counties to implement the strategies in an effort to increase the public's understanding of coastal erosion processes.