MASGC Project Impacts

Research shows coastal residents are willing to pay to preserve open space associated with coastal waterfronts

Relevance:

Alabama. A contingent valuation method (CVM) was employed to estimate citizens' willingness to pay (WTP) to support open-space preservation. Waterfront open spaces are dynamic places and represent an interface between aquatic and terrestrial communities. Waterfront open space provides environmental benefits, recreational opportunities and opportunities for water-dependent economic activities (e.g., ports, boat yards, marinas, storage facilities, fishing docks, seafood markets and others). Benefits from waterfront open space are critical to coastal communities and their visitors. However, with a growing population and urbanization, these areas compete with various land use changes.

Response:

A Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium-supported project evaluated residents’ willingness to preserve open space (water permeable ground cover that is devoid of built structures and which may be public or private property) in coastal regions of Mississippi and Alabama. Two large and two small communities were selected based on total population: Daphne and Mobile, Alabama, and Biloxi and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. 

Results:

Study findings suggested the majority of residents valued waterfront preservation. More than 70 percent of respondents supported the preservation of open space, of which 50.54 percent were willing to make a one-time payment of at least $80. Median willingness to pay was more than $80 and less than $162.14 as a one-time payment in all four models tested in the study. This suggests that the majority of respondents valued waterfront open-space preservation. Local planners and decision-makers will benefit from these findings, which demonstrate a quantitative evidence of the value of open space among their constituents. The data provided the foundation to implement outreach programs to convey the importance of open space preservation to decision makers in their community planning decisions.

Recap:

Research suggests that more than 70 percent of coastal residents would be willing to preserve waterfront open space with a willingness to pay $80-$162 to preserve these areas. (2017)

Research informs preservation of Native American sacred mound site, supports tribe’s effort to become federally recognized

Relevance:

The Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe (PACIT) is seeking to become a federally recognized tribe. There are several steps required to obtain this status, and tribe members recognized that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) mapping could support their application for federal recognition.

Response:

The tribe gave oral history information and maps to a Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant-supported research team. The research team also collected all known maps, photographs and other documents of the area dating as far back as the mid-1500s. Based on these resources and additional information from the tribe, the team created a single map showing where people used to live. The research team also gave the maps and data to the PACIT.

Results:

The research team translated and digitized old maps to show the movement of tribes over time and clarify some confusion that the federal recognition application review board had expressed. The team made more than 100 maps, a dedicated website and an online story-map (complete with a library of historical maps and local projections of sea-level rise and land loss) available to the tribe. Since the Sea Grant project concluded, the maps have been used in the designation process to preserve a Native American sacred mound. Researchers also received additional funding to address priorities identified during the Sea Grant-funded project.

Recap:

At the request of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe (PACIT), a Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant-supported research team mapped historical tribal lands, which is aiding its application for federal recognition. The tribe also has used the maps in the process to preserve a Native American sacred mound. (2017)

Sea Grant builds bridge of trust with people who have questions about impacts of oil spills

Relevance:

A substantial amount of oil spill science information has been released since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. People whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico may have trouble accessing and/or understanding the science published about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, particularly if scientific language is too technical or study results appear contradictory.

Response:

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program collects and translates peer-reviewed research for target audiences who rely on the Gulf for work or recreation. Through the life of the program, the team has built contacts around the region through one-on-one and large-group engagement with stakeholders. To examine the success of these efforts, Sea Grant partnered with NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management to conduct two social network analyses of oil spill science information.

Results:

The NOAA/Sea Grant social network analysis revealed that the Sea Grant oil spill science outreach team members have played a prominent role in the oil spill science information social network to bridge communication between all target audiences. As they form relationships throughout the country, their influence spreads and new audiences seek them as a trusted resource. As a result, the oil spill response community involved team members in updating future spill response plans and industry leaders asked them to present emerging oil spill science at local, regional and national meetings.

Recap:

In less than four years, the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant oil spill science outreach program has matured to become a trusted resource for current oil spill science, successfully engaging with the target audiences who seek them for credible oil spill information. (2017)

Emergency responders use information synthesized by Sea Grant oil spill team to protect society, environment

Relevance:

Emergency responders are required to complete training courses throughout their careers and regularly attend Regional Response Team and Area Committee meetings to stay informed about local, regional and national spill response issues and best practices. Post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the emergency response community needed to incorporate current, relevant and synthesized science information into response education, training and planning activities.  The NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Spill Control School invited the Sea Grant oil spill science outreach program to address this need.

Response:

The Sea Grant-led outreach program synthesized science to develop oil spill science publications, seminars and trainings specifically for emergency responders. The National Spill Control School at Texas A&M University trains approximately 400 students annually, including courses for academic credit and individuals from industries and government agencies. The school adopted the Sea Grant oil spill science program’s publications as a training tool. NOAA’s Science of Spills courses help emergency responders increase their understanding of spill science when analyzing spills and making risk-based decisions. The Sea Grant program presented new science to Science of Spills’ trainees. Sea Grant specialists also participated in Regional Response Team and Area Committee meetings to update Area Contingency Plans and present new science.

Results:

Nationally, regionally and locally, the emergency response community is incorporating the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program’s synthesized information into activities and trainings.

Recap:

Multiple agencies and industries are using oil spill science extension information to make informed decisions. (2017)

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant demonstrates leadership in addressing regional issues, implements projects totaling $15.8M

Relevance:

Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, coastal communities are exposed to similar risks and issues of concern, including hurricane threats, loss of habitats and ecosystem services, impacts of coastal development, risks associated with extraction of natural resources, and more.

Response:

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) was the leader of many regional projects involving Sea Grant programs in the Gulf of Mexico. These projects included a regional research planning initiative, a NOAA community-based restoration program, a privately funded oil spill science outreach program, a NOAA sentinel site program, a National Water Extension Liaison, an independent stock assessment of red snapper research competition, and a NOAA Coastal Storms program. Through leveraging work with the three other Gulf Sea Grant programs, the impacts of these efforts were far-reaching and often renewed for continued funding.

Results:

In 2014-17, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant supported 20 regional projects through management of $15.8M in regional funding. These regional partnerships have been so successful that some of the efforts, such as the national water extension liaison program, StormSmart Coast network, red snapper stock assessment initiative and Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, are broadening to have national impacts. The Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice is being emulated around the country, and the oil spill science outreach program now includes a national scope.

Recap:

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is a regional and national leader in multi-state, multi-region strategic initiatives, managing $15.8M in projects covering a broad range of topics related to fisheries, oil spills, hurricanes, flooding, waterways and restoration. (2017)

City of Prichard, Alabama, restores Reading Park Creek streambank

Relevance:

Reading Park Creek, which runs through a passive park in the City of Prichard, Alabama, was highly degraded due to stormwater runoff and pervasive invasive species. This creek is a tributary to Eight Mile Creek, which is listed on the state's 303(d) list of impaired waterways due to excessive amounts of pathogenic bacteria. The community members are predominantly African-American and historically underserved, and they value their environmental resources and desire more access and recreational opportunities, as evidenced by their participation in the development of the Eight Mile Creek watershed management plan.

Response:

Sea Grant-funded scientists and staff gathered public input and created a plan for the restoration of Reading Park Creek. City of Prichard workers removed invasive species, graded the stream banks and established a flood plain in Jackson Reading City Park. About 45 volunteers helped plant 3,000 native plants along the creek and in upland areas at the site, which is located in the Eight Mile Creek Watershed. The project created buffer zones 25 to 50 feet from the creek to allow pollutant-filtering plants to remain undisturbed.

Results:

The City of Prichard, Alabama, restored 300 linear feet (4.49 acres) of streambank along the creek in Jackson Reading Park using forested buffers to protect wildlife, remove sediment and filter pollutants. The ecosystem service value of the restored streambank and associated park is $449,000. Volunteer hours involved in this project were valued at $3,973.

Recap:

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant helped plan and implement the restoration of 300 linear feet along Reading Park Creek in Prichard, Alabama. (2017)