I have formally completed my time with the Environmental Defense Fund this Summer. It was incredible and fulfilling work, all of which I feel proud to have been a part of. I am especially thankful to the CBE for supporting me throughout this experience.
The past month has been an absolute grind! Between my fellowship with The Nature Conservancy, the Center for the Blue Economy/MARCO, promotion to Ocean Rescue Lieutenant and planning my move to Monterey, I have been extremely busy. I also had the opportunity to compete in USLA Lifesaving Nationals in South Padre Island, Texas in August adding onto all of the excitement. Having both of my fellowships online has given me a tremendous amount of freedom in where and when I do my work. I have been able to complete work for both fellowships in Maryland, Delaware and Texas this month alone!
After many hours of planning, writing, editing, scheduling, and emailing (not to mention an endless amount of Zoom calls), I have finally wrapped up interviewing key stakeholder groups involved in sea level rise planning and mitigation within the Humboldt Bay region. Our final interview was a conversation with representatives of the grant funder for our study, the California Coastal Commission (pictured above). July and the first week of August were busy as we tried to schedule a one hour virtual sit down with representatives from 19 separate stakeholder groups including the Wiyot Tribe, PG&E, U.S. Army Corps, and local coastal cities to name a few. Eventually 17 groups were able to commit to a meeting with myself and the project team.
We are halfway done! My internship with WWF started with a project in participatory processes in Peruvian fisheries and continued with work on the communications team. With the help of other team members on the communications team, I interviewed partners at various Fishery In Progress projects around the world to discuss their wins! This was a welcomed assignment as it is always nice to hear of all the great things WWF is doing, not just the horror stories we hear about in the news related to the state of the world. Working with the communications team has been helpful in understanding that good work is being done, even if we don’t always hear about it. I had the chance to speak with our team in Peru, The Bahamas, Ecuador, and the US to discuss what success stories WWF was proud of. I took these interviews with the team and created easy-to-digest “blurbs” to incorporate into the website. The idea is that a general audience can quickly read these blurbs that will cycle through at the bottom of the page and get a small taste of our work. Here is a sweet photo of some IEP ladies and myself working together in the community garden. While internships have been remote this summer, we have been able to have fun and feel like a family.
My fellowship with Coral Reefs of the High Seas reached an important milestone yesterday, we officially submitted our paper to the journal Marine Policy! The paper focused on the many cultural and maritime uses of the Salas y Gomez and Nazca Ridges between coastal Chile and Rapa Nui to provide further evidence that this area needs protection. Although the negotiations to create the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) treaty have yet to be completed, we are making the case for high seas conservation in preparation for its eventual ratification. Once ratified, the BBNJ will create a legal pathway to protect the Salas y Gomez and Nazca Ridges from ecological damage and this paper is one of many that can provide ample justification for its protection.
It’s been an action-packed month since my last post. I’ve been on more lionfish hunts, finished reviewing surveys for a fisheries research project with my colleague, and I’m 2 days shy of completing my divemaster certification!
The work I’ve been doing with the Inland Ocean Coalition has had a national perspective from the moment we began developing their Watershed Health Program. My recent move from Louisiana to California and a roll call of committee members from Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and other states truly reflects the IOC’s emphasis on nationwide land-to-sea stewardship.
Well it has certainly been a busy month in the worlds of marine bioprospecting, tuna management, and offshore wind development! I find myself working near constantly, but being able to work on such cutting edge policy topics makes it all absolutely worth it.
[Mouthwatering seagrass at Three Sister's Springs, Crystal River, FL]
The summer has quickly come and gone, and soon with it concludes my time with the EDF Oceans Program. There are several projects I am still working on and until then I look forward to those last weeks of putting together my final touches.
From my previous post I shared three ongoing projects I got involved with as part of the EDF Oceans Humboldt team, much which is still a work in progress. I continue to work on the Humboldt Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) matrix researching and synthesizing the oceanography platforms and parameters that will set up the future OOS for the Humboldt region. I also continue to support the Latin America team in the fisheries focused webinars that have taken place throughout the summer and with it drafting a blog piece for EDF on the webinar outcomes and lessons learned for the Latin America region.
I can’t believe I’m over halfway done with my fellowship with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. It feels like just yesterday I was anxious about figuring out how to sign into my email and get everything set up. The past few weeks have gone by so quickly, but they’ve been incredibly busy too. I’ve been finalizing my proposal for a long-term flood insurance outreach strategy, which I’ll be presenting to different groups in the office starting next week (yikes!). But besides that, so much has happened in the past few weeks that I feel like this blog could easily be 2,000+ words: as a team we toured a WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant) in Brooklyn (maybe TMI, but that’s actually the facility my wastewater goes to which was weirdly fun to know), a rooftop garden, and the Newton Creek Alliance’s WRRF (wastewater resource recovery facility) Nature Walk; the City got some insane flooding from Hurricane Elsa (she really let it go right on top of us); and of course, I developed all the additional material to go alongside my proposal. But since no one wants to read a thesis on wastewater treatment besides me, I’ll keep it brief:
The state of the world’s oceans is largely problematic regardless of who you are. An individual may wish to consume sustainable seafood or go catch enough fish to feed their family. If I wanted to attempt to do either of these things, I would need transparent information on where I could fish or trust that the fish which I purchased at my local grocery store was properly labeled. This Summer, I have taken on two internships whose goal is to establish a comprehensive lens through which any individual or company may use to know how to sustainably interact with the world’s oceans and the resources it provides us.
For my internship, I am working with the Center for the Blue Economy running their social media accounts. This includes spreading relevant news about ocean climate action and the blue economy as well as advocating for any Ocean Climate Action Plan-related policies (currently the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act). OBCSA was recently re-introduced to Congress by Congressman Grijalva, so I have been creating content to highlight the main points of the bill. I also plan on creating more content to educate our followers on why different points of the bill (e.g. reducing marine noise pollution, increased funding for coastal resiliency projects, climate-adapted fisheries) are important for US climate resilience.
For my internship, I will be working for the fisheries division of the World Wildlife Fund Oceans team to develop a report that looks into participatory processes and governance mechanisms worldwide that successfully help fisheries achieve the Marine Stewardship Council Certificate. The MSC Certificate is the gold standard for sustainable seafood, and this type of label can open new markets for fisheries that can earn the label through better management practices. The report I’m working on aims to aid the WWF Peru team in their consultancy with the Peruvian government on the next steps toward sustainable fisheries and gaining the MSC label on their seafood exports. My job is to gather examples of governments worldwide that have successfully implemented the MSC standard into their fisheries, and the management processes they used to engage with stakeholders. The Peru team will then use these examples to work with the government to develop a more sustainable fishery that will benefit their country both socially and economically. The main goal of this report is to show the Peruvian government the benefits of investing in their fisheries and seeking out sustainable labels like the Marine Stewardship Council Certificate.