MIT Sea Grant Center for Coastal Resources

PI: Judith Pederson, MIT Sea Grant

Project Number:1998-A-5

Start Date:1998-03-01End Date:2003-02-28

Proposal Summary

Objectives: To develop and implement outreach and education activities that address timely issues of priority to the Commonwealth, NOAA, Sea Grant, and MIT Sea Grant through the following specific objectives:
1. To organize and convene conferences and workshops
2. To prepare outreach materials for managers, scientists, nongovernment organizations, industry, and the public
3. To translate scientific information for managers to assist with policy development
4. To provide leadership in coordinating regional research and monitoring programs

Methodology: All project activities depend on the interaction between the MIT Center for Coastal Resources and the user community, i.e., the Commonwealth, coastal managers, local and federal governments, industry, non-government organizations, students, teachers, and the interested public. All outreach activities will be developed in conjunction with the appropriate user group or groups. For example, the currently proposed Symposia and Workshops have steering committees to advise and assist with program development. The advisors include scientists, managers, industry representatives, and nongovernment organizations that contribute to the overall review and quality of proposed activities. Other projects involve materials and products that will be developed by MIT SG CCR, but eventually turned over to the user, for example, a database collating information of interest to the state. Similarly, development of web materials, fact sheets, and other outreach projects rely on advice of users and materials are reviewed for scientific and technical content. Assessment will occur on several levels, e.g. how many people use the web site, questionnaires that reflect modifications in attitudes and behavior, evaluation forms for the workshops and conferences, and indirect measures of less tangible changes (such as changes in agency priorities).

Rationale: As populations increase along the coast, there is a need to minimize pollution and sustain natural resources. The MIT SG CCR is dedicated to coordinating activities and effecting changes that will result in informed decision making as we use our coastal resources. Issues facing Massachusetts include potential economic impacts and threats to human and ecosystem health from invasive species, point and non-point pollution, particularly affecting urban harbors and ports, and coordination of ongoing research and monitoring efforts on a regional scale. Informed decisions are made with good data and information. the MIT SG CCR will continue to use the best scientific information as outreach products and activities are developed. Specific areas of focus are: to provide managers with new tools and approaches in making decisions about water and sediment quality and management, to increase awareness of the impact of non indigenous species and develop a plan for prevention, eradication and management, to prepare written materials summarizing research efforts and relate these to management activities, to facilitate regional research and monitoring efforts, and to continue to identify timely topics of interest for the user community.

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