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Coastal Management Fellowship

1996-1998 Fellowship Project Summaries

California: The fellow nominated by the Oregon Sea Grant Program, was placed with the California Coastal Commission to conduct a project designed to expand the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for coastal management in California. The project, known as the Coastal Resource Management Geographic Information System (CRMGIS), was developed and partially implemented during Greg's two-year fellowship. It leads the way toward integrated use of GIS tools and data necessary for various regulatory, enforcement, planning, and natural resource management activities. The “CRMGIS Final Recommendations and Report” describes the implementation of an institutionalized, cross-jurisdictional, multiagency program that will be cost-effective and expand the use of GIS for coastal resource management in California. The final product, the “Coastal Information Network,” provides, among other things, Internet tools for data access and downloading, and GIS mapping tools that are accessible to staff of the participating agencies.

Connecticut: The fellow nominated by the Maryland Sea Grant Program, was placed with the Connecticut Long Island Sound Program to conduct research to identify effective restoration strategies for brackish and tidal freshwater marshes. In collaboration with researchers from Connecticut College, Chris studied brackish high marsh areas in the lower Connecticut River, comparing fish use of Phragmites australis-dominated marsh versus restored marsh habitats. Chris also looked at the use of herbicides and surfactants in controlling the common reed (P. australis) in the restoration of tidal wetlands. Another aspect of Chris' fellowship involved the development of a wetland restoration database that tracks restoration projects along the shores of Long Island Sound. The database contains attribute data in Microsoft AccessTM and spatial data in the ArcViewTM application. The attribute data includes sites that have been the focus of restoration activities, as well as those that have been identified for potential restoration. The database provides a tracking mechanism that produces a detailed chronology of the regulatory history of restoration phases for each site.

Florida: The fellow nominated by the Maine Sea Grant Program, was placed with the Florida Coastal Management Program to develop criteria for approval of local government hazard mitigation and redevelopment policies for the local comprehensive planning process. Stephanie’s primary project, the Local Mitigation Strategy Program, was initiated to help local communities reduce their vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic hazards. Stephanie was the technical assistant to 14 Florida counties and municipalities, participating in local working group meetings, answering hazard mitigation inquiries, giving presentations at local council and commission meetings, and conducting training workshops for the local working groups. In addition to her hazard mitigation work, Stephanie researched coastal legislation and regulations, surveyed beach water quality monitoring and public notification of water quality activities, and supported the Florida Ocean Policy Roundtables and the Florida Governor's Ocean Committee.

Massachusetts: Mr. Chris Cornelisen, nominated by the Florida Sea Grant Program, was placed with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of coastal habitat restoration programs in the Gulf of Maine. The goal was to expand coordination and facilitate information exchange among individuals, agencies, and nongovernmental organizations active in the restoration of coastal habitats. Chris collected information on specific restoration activities of tidal marshes, freshwater impoundment construction, tidal flats, and seagrass within Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. This information was compiled into a database Chris developed using Microsoft AccessTM. Information in the database is project specific and includes location, work involved, current habitat conditions, costs, funding sources, and contacts. Chris also prepared a final report, "Restoration of Coastal Habitats and Species in the Gulf of Maine," which in addition to the information included in the database, incorporates information on restoration activities associated with dunes, seabird populations, and anadromous fish.

Oregon: Mr. Chad Nelsen, nominated by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program, was placed with the Oregon Coastal Management Program to develop an estuary management information system for Oregon. Chad developed the Dynamic Estuary Management Information System (DEMIS) using the Coos Bay estuary and watershed as a pilot area. Goals of the project were to conserve and restore estuarine habitat, mitigate for adverse estuarine effects from development, employ the best available scientific information for making coastal resource management decisions, and improve communication among local, state, and federal agencies. Chad developed a framework for DEMIS that included, among other things, guidelines for data collection, storage, and use. In addition, Chad collected over 100 GIS data layers for the watershed to provide up-to-date access to relevant scientific data and information. He produced a CD-ROM that includes the GIS data layers, all of the relevant metadata, and general