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University System of Maryland

Innovative Environmental Management Models: Case Studies and Applications

University System of Maryland via edX

Overview

Case studies are the best means to analyze real world problems and assess viability of proposed solutions. We will explore a variety of ecosystems and determine how effectively they are managed given the specific challenges of each locale.

We will be analyzing how monitoring, modeling, research and resource management approaches are scaled across multiple dimensions such as size, population, complexity, and maturity gradients. For instance, Chesapeake Bay, located in the United States largely within the states of Maryland and Virginia, is the best-studied estuary in the world. Since European settlement, contravening forces (land use, eutrophication via phosphorus and nitrogen point and nonpoint sources, sediment runoff, and wetland degradation to name a few) have impacted the entire watershed of this highly productive ecosystem which falls under the jurisdiction of six different state governments and the local government of Washington DC. A comprehensive management approach involving the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies working under the umbrella of the Chesapeake Bay Program headquartered in Annapolis, MD, has resulted in measurable improvements in water quality. Lessons learned from the restoration efforts of the Bay have applications well beyond fisheries, agriculture, and conservation. Other large complex systems that we will be discussing are the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the implications of the 2010 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the transnational management of the Baltic Sea.

We will also explore innovative stakeholder-driven approaches, such as COAST Card (Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation) that integrates socio-environmental report cards, social network analysis, and system dynamic models. Its development in iconic locations (Chesapeake Bay (US), Manila Bay (Philippines), Tokyo Bay and Ishigaki Island (Japan) and the Goa Coast of India) present both shared and unique challenges for managing coupled human and natural systems. Addressing these linkages between human health and environmental quality and the required trade-offs a management team must make is a key component of best management practice for our natural resources.

Finally, we will discuss the implications of climate change science and how it can influence socio-environmental management. Each case study will present unique solutions to address ecosystem stress. Scalability of management approaches across a variety of ecosystems including those of differing population densities, areas, complexities, and maturities will be discussed.

Upon completion, you will have the practical tools to develop effective management solutions for a variety of ecosystem and sustainability challenges.

Taught by

William “Bill” Dennison, Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen and Richard Arnold

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