Ecosystem Based Management: An Analysis of National Needs and Opportunities by the Cooperative Institute

Michael R.Roman University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

ABSTRACT

The goal of this project will be to identify three to five regional ecosystems where Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) could be enabled by strategic implementation of a significant research effort to fill knowledge gaps that limit effective action. We propose to identify significant regional coastal issues that would require additional natural and social science understanding in order to implement or augment EBM approaches. Our work plan is structured to address five specific tasks: 1. Identify critical regional ecosystem typologies and issues that are amenable to the EBM approach; 2. Determine the limitations of current traditional management approaches; 3. Assess how an EBM, enabled by provision of key missing scientific information, would lead to outcomes that mitigate or prevent negative natural and societal impacts and how an EBM approach could realistically be implemented using current governance structures; 4. Determine what natural and/or social science understanding and tools are needed to fill gaps in order to enable EBM; 5. Recommend a realistic path forward that management agencies in the specified region will likely pursue to implement EBM approaches to achieve specific outcomes by utilizing the identified gap-filling science. We propose a work plan that identifies broad typologies of issues in regional coastal ecosystems (e.g., offshore energy generation, increasing development of coastal communities). Within each typology, we will identify specific questions and issues which have inherent trade-offs associated with their resolution which necessitates an EBM approach. Finally, we will evaluate each typology and issue in specific regional ecosystems. These efforts will result in a list of candidate typologies, issues and possible locations of regional ecosystem that would benefit from an EBM approach. This list will be evaluated by a project advisory board that will be established in concert with the NCCOS Program Manager to produce a list of finalist issues and locations for adoption of EBM approaches.