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December 6-7, 2004
American Geophysical Union Conference Facility
Washington D.C.

with support from







The coasts are a vital ecological and economic resource. Yet, as reported by both the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, the nation's oceans and coasts are in need of serious attention. While the effects of coastal resource problems are most dramatic along the coasts, the causes can develop far inland. Building capacity to address these issues at all levels--from local communities (both coastal and inland) to federal agencies--is critical to finding and implementing solutions.

Resolving marine and coastal resource issues requires a multidisciplinary look at the causes and solutions. Therefore, RNRF convened a national Congress on Building Capacity for Coastal Solutions. The Congress brought together more than 80 scientists, managers, and professionals, from 65 organizations, to consider findings and recommendations, and to identify other high priority activities for early action. Specific goals of the congress were to consider findings and recommendations of the oceans commissions, and to identify high priority activities for early action.

RNRF's Congress on Building Capacity for Coastal Solutions was presented at American Geophysical Union Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., December 6-7, 2004. RNRF's Coastal Web Resource is available here. To download a copy of the congress report (Volume 23 Number 1 of the Renewable Resources Journal), click here.



Margaret Davidson
RNRF, NOAA Coastal Services Center

Christoph Tulou

Center for SeaChange

Timothy Hennessey

University of Rhode Island


Michael Orbach
Duke University Marine Laboratory

David Keeley

Marine State Planning Office


Tom Shyka
Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System


Ben Neal
Island Institute


Richard Spinrad
NOAA Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management

Michael Beck

The Nature Conservancy


December 6, 2004

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:05 am
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Albert A. Grant, RNRF Chairman

9:05 am - 9:20 am
Congress Context and Goals
Margaret Davidson, Chair, Congress Program Committee, and Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center

9:20 am - 9:50 am
Introduction to the Nation's Coasts: Findings from the Pew and
U.S. Oceans Commissions
Christophe Tulou, President, Center for SeaChange, former Executive Director, Pew Oceans Commission
The speaker introduced delegates to the nation's coastal resources through the recent efforts of the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Particular topics included the diversity of resources, human population characteristics, critical habitat and its importance, governance, and information technology. A brief overview of the results of EPA's National Coastal Condition Report II also was included.

[PowerPoint Presentation]

9:50 am - 10:10 am
Discussion and Questions

10:10 am - 10:35 am
The Complexities of Coastal Governance
Timothy Hennessey, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Rhode Island
More than half of the fifteen existing cabinet-level departments, plus several independent agencies, play important roles in the development of ocean and coastal policy. Many individual programs within these departments and agencies administer specific initiatives that address varying, and sometimes overlapping, ocean and coastal issues. State and local governments also have responsibilities along the coast. The speaker examined this overlapping and sometimes conflicting division of power and opportunities for reconciliation, and identified needs and opportunities for cooperation among federal, state, county, and local agencies.

[PowerPoint Presentation]

10:35 am - 10:55 am
Discussion and Questions

10:55 am - 11:15 am

11:15 am - 11:40 am
Building Networks for Solutions: Information Technology and Science
Margaret Davidson, Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center
Solving coastal resource issues will require cooperation and coordination on a variety of levels. The speaker discussed current barriers to effective utilization of information technology (including data sharing, integration, and communication). Science capacity and knowledge also are essential to finding and implementing coastal solutions. Opportunities for overcoming current barriers also were discussed.

[PowerPoint Presentation]

11:40 am - 12:00 pm
Discussion and Questions

12:00 pm - 12:25 pm
Mobilizing and Empowering Communities
Michael Orbach, Director, Duke University Marine Laboratory
While the effects of coastal resource problems are most dramatic along the coasts, the causes can develop far inland. Local communities may have the greatest opportunity to address these issues, but they need the necessary knowledge and ability to actively engage. The speaker discussed how communities can organize and constructively contribute to protecting and conserving coastal resources.

[PowerPoint Presentation]

12:25 pm - 12:45 pm
Discussion and Questions

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm

1:45 pm - 2:15 pm
Case Study I: Gulf of Maine-Governance
David Keeley, State Planner, Maine State Planning Office

[PowerPoint Presentation]

2:15 pm - 2:35 pm
Discussion and Questions

2:35 pm - 3:05 pm
Case Study II: Gulf of Maine-Information Technology
Tom Shyka, Program Specialist, Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System

[PowerPoint Presentation]

3:05 pm - 3:25 pm

Discussion and Questions

3:25 pm - 3:55 pm
Case Study III: Gulf of Maine-Community Empowerment
Ben Neal, Marine Program Specialist, Island Institute

[PowerPoint Presentation]

3:55 pm - 4:15 pm
Discussion and Questions

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm     Dinner
Featured Speaker: Richard Spinrad, NOAA Assistant Administrator Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management

[PowerPoint Presentation]

December 7, 2004

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:35 am
Regional Ecosystem Assessments ..from Planning to Action
Michael Beck, Senior Scientist, Marine Initiative, The Nature Conservancy
The cooperation of all levels of government and the local community, plus the availability of information and scientific capacity are essential to the success of ecosystem-based management. However, each region is acting independently, without a set of common goals and priorities. As a nation, and within the professional and scientific community, the effort must be made to determine what is valuable and the desired outcomes of coastal resource management. The speaker discussed the steps necessary to establish and pursue common goals.

9:35 am - 10:00 am
Discussion and Questions

10:00 am - 10:10 am
Explanation of Working Group Procedures
Ryan Colker, RNRF Director of Programs

10:10 am - 10:30 am

10:30 am - 11:40 am
Working Group Session I

Working Group Chairs:
Margaret Davidson, RNRF Board of Directors, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Timothy Hennessey, University of Rhode Island
Tony MacDonald, Coastal States Organization
Michael Orbach, Duke University Marine Laboratory

Working Group Reporters:
Sarah Ball, Virginia Tech
Joseph Gordon, National Environmental Trust
Mia Sealey, Environmental Council of the States
Laura Walko, NOAA

11:40 am - 12:40 pm
Working Group Session II

12:40 pm - 1:40 pm

1:40 pm - 2:40 pm
Working Group Session III

2:40 pm - 3:00 pm

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Working Group Session IV

4:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Necessary Next Steps and Concluding Remarks
Robert Day, RNRF Executive Director


Margaret A. Davidson, RNRF Public Interest Board Member; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Kelly Barnes, American Society of Civil Engineers
Thomas Bigford, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Deen Boe, Society for Range Management, RNRF Board Member
James Colby, Coastal America
Robert Day, Executive Director, Renewable Natural Resources Foundation
Peter Folger, American Geophysical Union
Thomas M. Franklin, The Wildlife Society, RNRF Board Member
Albert A. Grant, RNRF Chairman, RNRF Public Interest Board Member
John W. Haines, U.S. Geological Survey
Kenneth J. Lanfear, American Water Resources Association, RNRF Board Member
Larry R. Pettinger, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, RNRF Board Member
Ghassan N. Rassam, American Fisheries Society, RNRF Board Member
Priscilla Reining, RNRF Public Interest Board Member
Douglas B. Richardson, Association of American Geographers, RNRF Board Member
Howard N. Rosen, Society of Wood Science and Technology, RNRF Board Member
Barry W. Starke, RNRF Vice-Chairman, American Society of Landscape Architects
Deanna J. Stouder, USDA Forest Service
David L. Trauger. College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech

Staff Liaison:
Ryan M. Colker
, Program Director, Renewable Natural Resources Foundation


American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD
American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Reston, VA
American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA
American Society of Landscape Architects, Washington, DC
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Washington, DC
Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC
Baylor University, Waco, TX
California Coastal Conservancy, Oakland, CA
Center for SeaChange, Arlington, VA
Coast Alliance, Washington, DC
Coastal States Organization, Washington, DC
Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, Homer, AK
Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC
Earth Data International, Frederick, MD and Washington, DC
Environmental Council of the States, Washington, DC
Estuarine Research Federation, Port Republic, MD
Five E's Unlimited, Washington, DC
Friends of the Sea Otter, Pacific Grove, CA
Georgia Sea Grant College Program, Athens, GA
Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System, Portland, ME
Gulf Restoration Network, New Orleans, LA
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Washington, DC
International Joint Commission, Detroit, MI
Island Institute, Rockland, ME
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC
Louisiana State University, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Baton Rouge. LA
Maine State Planning Office, Augusta, ME
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay Programs, Annapolis, MD
Maryland Sea Grant College, College Park, MD
Michigan State University, Institute of Water Research, East Lansing, MI
National Academy of Sciences, Ocean Studies Board, Washington, DC
National Environmental Trust, Washington, DC
National Governors' Association, Washington, DC
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC / Silver Spring, MD / Charleston, SC / Norman, OK
New Jersey Marine Science Consortium, Fort Hancock, NJ
Office of U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ), Washington, DC
Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (WA), Washington, DC
Roger Williams University School of Law, Marine Affairs Institute, Bristol, RI
San Francisco Estuary Institute, Oakland, CA
Society for Applied Anthropology, Washington, DC
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL
Society of Wood Science and Technology, Madison, WI
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC
The Coastal Society, Alexandria, VA
The Nature Conservancy, Global Marine Initiative, Santa Cruz, CA
The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, MD
U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Washington, DC / Anchorage, AK
USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC / Atlanta, GA / Gulf Breeze, FL
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, VA
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Natural Resources and Environment, Washington, DC
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA / Kearneysville, WV
U.S. Senate, Committee on Commerce, Washington, DC
U.S. Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Washington, DC
Universities Council on Water Resources, East Lansing, MI
University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Ocean Health, Santa Cruz, CA
University of Delaware, Graduate College of Marine Studies, Newark, DE
University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science, Solomons, MD
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
University of Rhode Island, Department of Political Science, Kingston, RI
University of South Carolina, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC
University of Washington, School of Marine Affairs, Seattle, WA
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Waquoit, MA

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