Georgia Coastal Research Council (GCRC)
We provide outreach to coastal resource managers by partially supporting the GCRC, which is headed by Merryl Alber. The GCRC has 103 affiliates representing 17 academic units and 10 state and federal agencies. It promotes science-based management of coastal resources by hosting workshops, assisting management agencies with scientific assessments, and distributing information on coastal issues. GCRC staff meet regularly with managers in the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Dept of Natural Resources and respond to technical requests (i.e. requests related to climate change, water quality, and identification of marine species). The GCRC website (www.gcrc.uga.edu), which is linked to the GCE site, features a frequently updated announcement page and has more than 1000 pages and documents plus 1600 external links.
The GCRC works to synthesize information on coastal issues and has produced a number of technical summaries in response to requests from state managers over the past two years. This includes summaries of such topics as Vegetative Buffers in the Coastal Zone; Literature on Impervious Surfaces in the Coastal Zone; and Climate Change Research. Our update of marsh dieback research in Georgia was passed on to Dr. Carol Couch, Director of the Georgia DNR - Environmental Protection Division. One of our documents (Stormwater Treatment in Coastal Areas) was distributed to the Georgia DNR Board at their February 2007 meeting during which they voted to double the buffer associated with permits granted under the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act. More recently we have responded to requests from CRD staff to provide guidance on setting priorities for their water quality monitoring program, and we also provided an external review of an analysis of beach sanitary survey data.
In October 2008 the GCRC convened a Coastal Research Forum, which brought together 40 researchers and coastal resource managers to hear presentations highlighting current research projects, including the GCE LTER hammock project. Written evaluations were positive: everyone who filled out an evaluation said they were either satisfied (61%) or very satisfied (29%) with the forum, and 100% said they would be interested in attending future events. In August 2009 we convened the third “Georgia Coastal Colloquium” which was attended by more than 60 scientists and coastal managers. Colloquium ’09 included speakers on three management-critical themes (Development, Restoration & Remediation, and Climate).
The GCRC is currently managing the South Atlantic Regional Research Program, a separately funded project that involves the identification of priority regional-level research needs for the South Atlantic Region (North Carolina to Florida). In summer 2008 we collected stakeholder input on issues of importance through a widely distributed web-based survey and public meetings. The results of all of these efforts were used to develop a draft “SARRP Alliance Framework”. In April 2009 SARRP convened a Strategy Team Workshop with broad representation from state and federal agencies, research and educational institutions throughout the southeast. Workshop participants were charged with reviewing the Framework document and identifying priority research needs for the region. The workshop report is available here.
Finally, the GCRC has just completed a National Park Service project to create a metadatabase of long-term coastal water quality monitoring efforts in southeast coastal waters (N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia and the Atlantic coast of Florida). As part of this, GCE Information Management staff developed a database of water quality monitoring program metadata for the SE USA coast, plus a web portal and map resources. Data mining software developed for GCE was used to populate the database and both the database and web portal are currently hosted on GCE servers. Information about GCE monitoring activities and data is included in the database, so this water quality metadata portal will provide the public and GCE investigators with a broad view of regional monitoring activities and support discovery of GCE data by a broader audience, including government agencies and environmental managers.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959 and OCE-1237140. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.