Collaborative Project Increases Resiliency of Chesapeake Bay Marshes
For many members of the university community, Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay is an invaluable resource for research, relaxation and recreation. Professor Michael Paolisso in the Department of Anthropology is dedicated to protecting the Bay by examining how environmental and natural resource management policies affect the various individuals and groups who live, work and play in the area, and what steps can be taken to help the region become more resilient to natural changes and to human activity.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is in a constant state of transformation, due to rapid private and commercial development and increased tourist and recreational activity. These human activities create pressure on the ecosystem, harming aquatic life and the natural terrain. Professor Paolisso is the principal investigator of a key socio-cultural needs assessment that aims to address these environmental issues and to provide a baseline assessment of the marshes and communities on the Deal Island Peninsula on the Lower Eastern Shore, specifically Monie Bay. The results of the study are informing the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System of best practices and recommended programing that will help the region adapt to change and will preserve it from harm. This work is funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Stakeholders in the area include farmers and commercial fishermen, as well as policymakers and new and longstanding residents. Bringing more than 12 years of fieldwork to bear on this project, Professor Paolisso is learning whether these groups are familiar with climate change and how to best convince them to adapt policies and behaviors that will protect and benefit the region. These policies and behaviors include adopting responsible building practices, conserving natural buffers to flooding and developing storm-related evacuation plans.
“This project is a great example of collaborative science, where researchers are working alongside community members and local stakeholders to try to restore this area and make it resilient to future natural and manmade changes,” Professor Paolisso said. “This is a knowledge-sharing project. The marshes mean different things to different people. We’re helping to activate these various groups to help this region adapt.”
Published on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - 10:23AM