Welcome to TCS20 Back to Table of Contents
Welcome to this latest issue of The Coastal Society Bulletin which offers you a brief compendium of the events, sessions, discussions, and primary "take-home" messages from the biennial TCS-20 Conference held at the Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach, FL from May 14-17, 2006. Many thanks and kudos go to our Bulletin editor Ellen Gordon and the numerous folks who summarized the sessions so that Ellen could pull together the following impressions. It was a lot of work! By all accounts, the conference was immensely successful: a great opportunity to learn more about the field of coastal and ocean management and science; a chance to present research findings and ask questions of experts; and the perfect occasion to meet up with friends and colleagues while enjoying the sandy beaches and ocean waves of the beautiful Florida Gulf coast.
conference certainly could not have happened without the hard work and
dedication of many, many individuals, organizations and sponsors too numerous
to mention here. Needless to say I heartily thank all of them and applaud
their great efforts. For more information on TCS-20, including our program
to aid the Gulf states in their recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
(the Coastal Resource Recovery Fundraiser), please check out our website
www.coastalsociety.org. As always, we're very interested in hearing your
comments about our conferences and TCS so that we can better serve your
needs and wants in the future. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
If you attended the conference I hope that you learned much and had fun.
If not, I look forward to having you join us in 2008. Now, let's step
back a few months and relive TCS-20. Cue the warm sun, seagulls, and salty
the Editor's Desk Back
to Table of Contents
TCS20 co-chairs Mike Wascom and Michael Henderson pointed out that, "This is an interesting, challenging and exciting time to be involved with coastal management issues, along with the myriad of related challenges and opportunities. Following on the heels of two landmark efforts, Pew Oceans Commission and U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, TCS20 offered us all the chance to discuss, debate and offer solutions to many questions raised by these two groups. Clearly, without action the coasts are in trouble." In that spirit of engagement, we came together at TCS20 for three and one half days of presentations formal and casual, hallway chat, reception banter and poster discussions. A plethora of field trips gave attendees options to enjoy and appreciate the local coast, workshops provided hands-on opportunities to learn new ways of doing business and attendees took every opportunity to meet new colleagues and to renew acquaintances with associates from around the country and around the world.
I hope that this special issue of the TCS Bulletin, devoted exclusively to the conference will help that dialog to continue, enhancing the transfer of information between coastal professionals that the conference itself provided. Those readers who attended TCS20 will notice that not every concurrent session is covered. There simply wasn't enough space to include everything. Nor, despite valiant efforts on the part of assisting graduate students, were we able to record notes from absolutely every session. My heartfelt thanks to all of those students, without whose nimble note-taking this newsletter would be much less comprehensive. My gratitude, as well, to everyone who contributed thoughts, comments or notes. I'm not naming names-there are just too many-but you know who you are.
Any errors that might have occurred in summation or interpretation as I prepared this newsletter are entirely mine and entirely inadvertent. Apologies in advance. Except where other authors are specifically credited, I'm the writing voice throughout this newsletter. If it perhaps reads a bit like a travel log, please buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride. Note that none of the material included is intended to represent the opinions of the Coastal Society or of Board members.
am struck by a theme that emerged over and over again, in individual presentations
and group discussions, in workshops and concurrent sessions and plenaries
i.e., communication is utterly essential. All affected groups need to
be given a seat at the table, from residents, to industry to government
to activist groups. From the top down and the bottom up and across the
board, from "day 1" until the decision is done and irreversible
actions are taken, all the parties need to be part of the process. Cut
a corner, try to skip some stakeholders, and whatever else may happen,
you can be assured that your efforts will be less efficient and effective
and that most often the natural resources will suffer negative repercussions.
Getting a Head Start Back to Table of Contents
before the kickoff reception for TCS20, attendees looking to add to their
skills set were attending workshops. On Sunday, May 14, "Collaborative
Learning for Coastal Managers, A New Tool for the Ecosystem Based Management
Toolkit" jumped right off at 8:30 am. A full day seminar, this workshop
stressed the need for an integration of the social and natural sciences.
Workshop leaders Steven Daniels (Director, Western Rural Development Center
at Utah State) and Gregg Walker (Chair of the Dept of Speech Communication
and Director of Peace Studies at Oregon State, Corvallis) got everyone
warmed up by asking each participant to share their best memory and/or
worst memory of a planning/ teamwork/ public participation process. There
was no lack of stories in both categories. Participants laughed and sympathized.
As one individual shared, "My worst experience is why I am here today."
"Coastal Training to Improve Small Dock and Pier Management," a half-day workshop from 1:30 to 5 pm, was a more narrowly focused program. Managers looking for help with coastal development came to learn how to better deal with the increasing number of permit requests for small private docks and piers. Using a model training workbook and PowerPoint presentations created by two NOAA offices on behalf of several National Estuarine Research Reserves, the training materials can be modified to meet specific local interests and needs. Docks can have environmental, visual, and navigational impacts, as well as effects on public access. Managers need ways to factor in cumulative impacts, gain a better understanding of the science related to impacts, improved tools and techniques and additional ways to incorporate new information into the permitting process. The workshop provided participants an opportunity to learn the latest and share experiences.
A two part TCS student workshop was held in the afternoon. Four TCS professionals talked about their careers. The broadly based speakers' panel represented state and federal government, a private not-for-profit and a private for-profit consulting firm. Attendees learned about the paths that had led the speakers to their current positions, as wells as tips on networking and finding jobs. The professionals talked about the importance of good communications and people skills, of persistence and flexibility. Students took advantage of a question and answer period to ask questions that ran the gamut of how much money they could expect to make, to whether or not it's worth getting a PhD to what the professionals might have done differently, given the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
The latter part of the session was an opportunity for information sharing among the student themselves. Representatives from each chapter present talked about what kind of activities they've tried, where their successes and flops lie. Funding-and lack thereof-was an important area for trading ideas. Beach clean-up were a popular way for getting involved with local communities. Tom Bigford, long a driving force in TCS, mentioned that the idea for beach cleanups arose at a TCS conference in Baltimore early in 1980 or 81. Alumni are invited back to social hours and brown bags to talk about their career paths. Common problems include difficulty expanding chapters because of the high turnover rate, a result of the nature of most marine affairs-type programs. Student chapters currently include East Carolina University, Duke University, University of Washington, and the University of Rhode Island. There's rising interest in starting a chapter at the University of Hawaii.
Several field trips were offered on Sunday, including an exploration of Shell Key, a kayaking excursion to Shell Key, another trip to Egmont Key State Park and National Wildlife Refuge and a dolphin watch sailing tour. While the kayakers got off to a late start due to van problems, (which just meant extra opportunity to chat informally in the hotel lobby) the participants proclaimed it a fun trip, and particularly cited the extraordinary experience of paddling through a mangrove tunnel.
For those who had arrived on Saturday, the Welcome Reception capped a full day of learning and fun. For those just arriving for the conference, the Sunday evening reception under the open sky in the hotel courtyard was a great way to get their conference experience going. With two cash bars (first glass of beer or wine free) and a plethora of munchies, conference attendees greeted old friends and colleagues and began introducing themselves around. Chats ranged from the serious to silly, and while some turned in early, others continued the party at one of the many local nightspots in St Pete Beach.
Opening Plenary Back to Table of Contents
At nine o'clock am Monday morning, Coastal Society President Paul Ticco welcomed everyone to TCS20. Paul pointed out that we are a diverse group, including scientists, analysts and managers, private citizens and students. We come from many levels of government and from the private sector. He suggested that we came because we care and we want to make a difference and that maybe we were here because we are all just a little bit angry. With our oceans and coasts in peril, Paul charged us to act individually and collectively at every level, locally, regionally and globally to develop a new vision. He challenged participants to learn from each other and to devise new solutions.
Paul mentioned some new TCS initiatives, including a fundraiser to help repair the Gulf Coast. He spoke about new TCS chapters, including the student chapter in development at the University of Hawaii. Moreover, we are looking forward to a Gulf Region Chapter and one in the DC Capital region, as well as the already extant Cascadia Chapter in the Pacific Northwest. And he enjoined everyone at the conference to have fun!!
attendees received a local welcome from Ms. Suzanne Cooper, Principal
Environmental Planner for the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. She
spoke about the challenges Tampa faces, as well as the solutions they
are seeking. A vital economic engine for the region, the Port of Tampa
and Port Manatee are growing by leaps and bounds. Tampa struggles to balance
that growth with maintaining the health of the estuary. Ms. Cooper was
pleased to see fresh young faces in the audience, bringing new tools and
an enthusiasm for sustainable growth.
Chris D'Elia moderated for the speakers. The panel was comprised of Steven Bocking, a professor in the Environmental and Resource Studies Program at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; Jim Murley, Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University and Lisa Nisenson, principal in a land use and environmental consulting firm. Dr. Bocking spoke about the essential connection between science and effective coastal environmental management, peppering his presentation with examples from his experience with offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, salmon farming on the Canadian west coast and the growth of human and industrial uses in Long Island Sound. According to Dr. Bocking, offshore drilling is essentially a rather large scale experiment. He pointed out that while large oil spills grab attention, little focus is given chronic releases such as drilling muds and floating garbage like hard hats and drums. So many uncertainties exist. What are the impacts on ecosystems? What contaminants are being released? What is the assimilation capacity of the Gulf of Mexico? The media attempts to reduce the complexities into straightforward, simple choices, but the complexities remain.
also heard from Dr. Bocking about the coast of British Columbia, where
there are currently 60-80 salmon farms, some of which provide economic
support for isolated communities. Are they dangerous threats to the marine
environment, producing harmful organic and chemical wastes, sampled fish
showing trace toxins, a source of sea lice parasites, and the opportunities
for the escape of exotic Atlantic salmon into the Pacific Ocean? Or are
waste controls considerably improved, sea lice parasitism only isolated
incidents, and escapees rare and likely incapable of surviving? Is it
possible that the nutritional benefits of salmon outweigh the risks? Instead
of using science to resolve these issues, the opposing sides are using
it as a polarizing force.
Of course in the Southeast, hurricanes are a big issue. Measured by the magnitude of insured losses, Mr. Murley informed us that seven of the ten most expensive hurricanes in US history occurred in the fourteen months between August 2004 and October 2005. Yet despite that boggling statistic, there is no practical way to abandon development along the coast of Florida. Aware of the threats to its coasts and resources, the state has been trying to address issues by developing strategies, joining regional alliances, creating initiatives and assessing areas of great need, including the creation of the Coastal High Hazard Study Commission, whose mission it is to examine ways to limit growth on barrier islands and other coastal areas.
Lisa Nisenson, a private consultant, spoke enthusiastically about the need for smart growth. She told us that we shouldn't be trying to stop growth, but rather to shape it. We need comprehensive looks at development, something local government with its limited resources really can't manage. According to Ms. Nisenson, too often new environmental rules actually disperse development and contribute to sprawl, rather than encouraging redevelopment in urban and suburban areas. For example, we'll get little redevelopment of strip malls and vacant malls unless we change the rules and make these areas more attractive to development. We have to recognize that zoning codes under gird and impact all of it. Another example Ms. Nisenson mentioned are today's requirements for setbacks, onsite handling of storm water and parking minimums which preclude development like the commercial downtowns found in most older towns. Single-use zoning, common in some areas, doesn't allow for the development of affordable housing above stores. The general media has picked up on green issues, with the "ultimate in conservation design" even making it into magazines like Vanity Fair and Elle. Unfortunately, so called "low impact development, green buildings, and conservation design" often still contribute to sprawl. That the average American family makes 12 car trips/day has some pretty big implications!
MacDonald of the Urban Coasts Institute at Monmouth University moderated
questions, answers and discussion between the audience and panelists.
In the spirit of reaching for solutions, it was far ranging, from talking
about the end of the age of oil; "it's here and its going to affect
absolutely everything," to the question of whether anyone in political
power has ever said that we have reached natural carrying capacity; that
we have enough development and we just can't fit anymore.
Concurrent Sessions Back to Table of Contents
Coastal Hazards and Mitigation
Coastal Management Solutions for Safer and Smarter Gulf Communities, moderated by Josh Lott
Social Science and Communities, moderated by Steven McLeod
Alternative Approaches for Shoreline Erosion Panel, moderated by Kris Wall
Governing Ocean Use Conflicts Back to Table of Contents
Ocean and Coastal Governance: Theory and Practice, moderated by Mark Imperial
Offshore Wind Power on the Horizon: A New Energy Frontier for Oceans, People and Wildlife, moderated by Jeremy Firestone
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Panel, moderated by Justin Farrell
Effective Integration of Science Back to Table of Contents
Coastal Resource Management Challenges in the 21st Century: The Role and Applications of Human Dimensions, moderated by David Loomis
Pollution, Contaminants and Water Quality I, moderated by Gib Chase
Integrated Ocean Observing Systems: Focus on the SE, moderated by Geno Olmi and Chris Simoniello
Tools for Environmental Characterization and Management I, moderated by Geno Olmi
Changing Behaviors Back to Table of Contents
Collaborative Processes for Coastal Conservation, moderated by Simon Geerlofs
Social Science, Human Dimensions and Economics I, moderated by Laurie Jodice
Land Use Challenges Back to Table of Contents
An Overview of a National Initiative: No Adverse Impact (NAI): Practical Solutions for Flood Damages, moderated by Rod Emmer
Shaping Land Use in Florida's Coastal Waterfront Communities: Successes and Lessons Learned in the Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program, moderated by Jennifer Carver
Conservation Leasing and Ownership of Submerged Lands, moderated by Tony MacDonald
Watersheds and Shorelines, moderated by Paul Ticco
Hurricane Katrina, moderated by Mike Wascom
Coastal Development, moderated by Amy Blizzard
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Mr. Skinner opened by asking each panelist's opinion of the current state of the nation's energy policy as it related to the coasts, the influence the law might have, potential conflicts and suggested solutions. After hearing the panelists' responses, the audience had ample opportunity to ask questions. A frank discussion ensued, with each panelist bringing a particular perspective, as well as a wealth of experience to the table. While several issues had been identified, the focal point of audience attention was renewable and non-renewable energy development. As the plenary ended, it was clear that the Energy Policy Act brings new challenges for coastal managers, challenges that need to be more fully identified before solutions can be crafted.
Resource Recovery Fundraising at TCS20
The Coastal Society launched a new fundraising initiative at its 20th International Conference in St. Pete Beach in May 2006 called the Coastal Resource Recovery Fundraiser (CRRF). The purpose of the CRRF is to raise funds to contribute to existing coastal resource protection, restoration, and education projects underway in areas devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
While at TCS 20, marine resource liaisons wore striped aprons and shark, pirate, and crab-themed hats to attract attention to this effort. Although walking into a room of colleagues, peers, and friends dressed in costume, wearing a headpiece that was utterly too big for our heads was at first a terrifying thought, we eventually gave heed to the hat hair gods and donned the costumes for a good cause. TCS members and conference participants responded in kind, giving approximately $2,100 during the four days in St. Pete Beach.
Funds raised will be donated to a maximum of three organizations that support or sponsor coastal resource protection, restoration and education projects in coastal communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. All CRRF contributions will be donated directly to entities recommended by a CRRF Selection Committee, and approved by the Board.
As residents in the Gulf of Mexico region continue to watch out for budding hurricanes, with the hope that the storms' energy dissipates prior to reaching land, The Coastal Society continues to collect funds for this important initiative. Our goal is to reach a total fund of at least $3,000. We are almost there--just $900 left!! Donations will be accepted via PayPal on TCS' website (www.thecoastalsociety.org), as well as through postal mail (checks can be addressed and sent to The Coastal Society, P.O. Box 25408, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-5408). In appreciation of any contributions over $20, TCS will mail you a gold-plated starfish pin (very popular at TCS 20!).
We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all who contributed time, energy, and money to this fundraising initiative!
Award Winning Moments Back to Table of Contents
It is a tradition at each TCS conference to bestow awards to individuals who merit special recognition for their efforts to advance The Coastal Society and the field of coastal and ocean management in general. At TCS-20, President Paul Ticco presented the following awards to five very deserving recipients. We all applaud their very fine work and dedication.
The Distinguished Service Award......to Judy Tucker, in grateful recognition for her years of exceptional work and dedication to The Coastal Society, its members and its mission.
The President's Award......to Gib Chase, in appreciation for his extraordinary energy and vision to continually advance the efforts and health of The Coastal Society.
The President's Award......to John Duff, in gratitude and admiration for his years of exemplary leadership and tireless service to The Coastal Society.
The Robert W. Knecht Award for Outstanding Professional Promise (a new honor)......to Kate Killerlain-Morrison. To a rising professional in the field of coastal and ocean management who, in their early career, best emulates the vigor, dedication, vision and generosity of Robert W. Knecht.
TCS Outstanding Public Service Award......to Dr. Thomas R.
Kitsos, in recognition for his outstanding accomplishments in the
field of ocean and coastal management, and his continued dedication to
the mission of The Coastal Society.
Careers: TCS20 Survey Results and Analysis
This survey was intended to gather information and input from as many individuals from as many different fields as possible. 19% of conference participants completed the survey and their time and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Response from students attending was minimal, but due to the format of the survey, they may not have thought they could contribute much. To invite as many groups as possible to share their experiences, thus yielding a broader and more diverse feedback spectrum, specific improvements would include creating either more distinctive categories, or a more open-ended format for response.
Beginning with a question asking the participant to share their current career field, the survey sought to obtain information on the genres and sources of knowledge important to the individual's job. Participants were also asked about useful undergrad and grad courses, as well as what hindsight might tell them about courses they should have taken. The final question dealt with solving the knowledge gap by opening up the space for requests for supplementary topics of environmental issues that could be incorporated into The Coastal Society's newsletter and future conference concurrent sessions.
In addition to shedding light on possible and unique environmental career paths, the survey demonstrated numerous interactions within the overall environmental field. Diversity can be a benefit, at the same time that it may sometimes increase the complexity of decisionmaking. While the survey showed that job experience is considered the most important source of knowledge, confusion and policy disputes can be avoided by a well rounded education. This track appears to be suggested by many of those surveyed, as those in the two largest fields, science and policy, expressed regret at not taking more courses in the opposite field during college as well as a strong desire to compensate by continuing to learn throughout their careers. Here, The Coastal Society can play a critical role supplying supplementary information at their conferences, and facilitating discussion between potential partners.
More detail, as well as the survey summary can be found here as a pdf file.
by Jeff Flood. Jeff Flood is a student at St. Mary's College of
Maryland, located where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. He
plans to major in public policy with a minor in environmental studies.
Meanwhile, he is available for summer 2007 internships!
TCS 1-20: Our Ventures Through the Past 30 Years Back to Table of Contents
While enjoying TCS20 in St. Pete Beach, I found myself comparing that excellent conference to our long record of stellar events. We have an impressive history, with the longest series of coastal conferences on Earth and a written record of our deliberations that serves the field well as a college text, scientific reference, and nostalgic marker. Our collective efforts provide fodder for many observations, and I appreciate this opportunity to offer a few thoughts.
Our twenty conferences offer a trip down memory lane. TCS was incorporated in 1975, three years after passage of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and in the midst of an unprecedented decade of environmental awakening and natural resource legislation. Our first few conferences probed current conditions and prospects for the future, both generally and for some of the more important resource extraction sectors (i.e. energy, fishing, etc.). Conference programs in the 1970s and early 1980s reflected the youth of our field. Coastal plans, implementation, and early integration in the 1970s enabled us to debate with conviction our successes and experiences as TCS entered its second decade.
The Society's early years also reflected our commitment to building partnerships where relationships didn't exist. TCS worked with geologists, political scientists, a new field called ecology, and traditional fields such as engineering and geography. Shared interests led TCS into productive discussions with other organizations dedicated to coastal issues. In 1978, the Coastal Zone Foundation, led by Orville Magoon and affiliated with the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Beach Preservation Association, initiated its own annual conference on coastal issues. Similar missions led TCS and CZ Foundation leaders to share our messages and constituents during several years of overlapping efforts, separate but with sufficient integration to hint at a stronger future. Eventually, with support from throughout our field and our important sponsors, it was decided in 1982 that TCS would convene in the even calendar years and the Coastal Zone conferences would be held in the odd years. This tradition has served our fields well, with a continuous series of conferences offering a wholesome diet of timely information.
Since the 1990s, TCS conferences have developed a unique character and appeal. Unlike some of the larger conferences in our fields of interest, TCS remained on the small side. Rarely has attendance surpassed 400, by design. TCS and its conferences have always had a family feel, with a tight Board of Directors and engaged members. We've developed a special relationship with students. Each new generation renews our commitment to the central issues of our coasts.
Perhaps most noteworthy in the history of TCS is how our efforts changed citizen views to the coastline. For me, the single greatest accomplishment came about when Barbara Fegan challenged us in 1982 at TCS8 to increase citizen participation. Her timely leadership two years after the 1980 acclamation of "The Year of the Coast," barely six years after the first Earth Day, and during some difficult economic times, caught our attention. What began as "Coast Day" with slide shows and clam chowder grew to "Coastweek" and the first National Estuarine Research Reserve Day, and soon to a three-week "Coastweeks." A local concept has evolved into an international event, attracting millions annually to beach cleanups, educational events, and social activities. TCS was an original sponsor, and remains a primary guardian of the concept of coastal activism. Thanks, Barbara!
So, as we look toward our next decade and plan the next few conferences, it is gratifying to reflect back on our long history of conferences from San Diego to Boston to San Antonio, glance at thousands of pages of conference proceedings and TCS Bulletins (and a few CDs) adorning my book shelves, recall past officers and other dedicated members, relish our productive partnership with Coastal Zone, consider how coastal enthusiasts owe their commitment to Barbara Fegan, contemplate ventures for the future (such as a joint meeting with our Canadian colleagues for the first time since TCS convened in Burlington, Ontario for TCS4 in 1978), and reinvigorate myself for another 30 years of personal and professional benefits courtesy of Our Coastal Society.
Written by Tom Bigford. Tom, a man with many hats, has been a TCS member since 1976, was TCS Secretary from 1980-82, Bulletin Editor from 1979-1994, Executive Director from 1991-94 and Board member from 2004-06.
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