From the NERRS Science Collaborative: Eleven projects involving 17 reserve sites across the nation and totaling more than $3 million have been recommended for support by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative, managed by the University of Michigan Water Center.

This funding cycle’s projects fall into two categories: collaborative research and science transfer. Collaborative research projects conduct new applied science through a user-driven, collaborative process that results in research, data, tools, or other products that will inform decision-making related to a reserve management need. Science transfer grants support the transfer of existing information, approaches, and techniques to support reserve activities and programs across all reserve sectors.

The projects recommended for funding will tackle a variety of active and emerging coastal issues, many directly related to climate change. Topics include furthering our understanding of coastal ecosystem services; planning for flood resilience; monitoring oyster reef conditions; incorporating Indigenous knowledge into watershed management; enhancing science literacy; and addressing marine debris.

“These projects demonstrate the power of these place-based reserves whose strong relationships with their communities help them identify and pursue this highly impactful work,” said Dr. Jennifer Read, Director of the University of Michigan Water Center and the NERRS Science Collaborative. “We are delighted to support the researchers, practitioners, and partners across the reserve system working together to undertake this important, local but highly transferable work.”

All Science Collaborative projects integrate decision-makers and other end users to ensure that products address current coastal management issues. Over the course of the project period, teams have access to Science Collaborative support and resources, including experts in collaborative research design and implementation, and data management.

This is the third year of a $20 million, five-year cooperative agreement with the University of Michigan, which administers the program. New for this year: guidance for the review panels on how to recognize traditional ecological and Indigenous knowledge in proposals.