CRC secures grant funds to share knowledge on smart use of ocean resources

NARRAGANSETT — CRC has secured $659,238 in grant funds from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a two-year project focused on educating both experienced and emerging coastal and ocean professionals about the newest management techniques for planning the allocation of uses and resources in increasingly busy and crowded oceans.

“The Coastal Resources Center at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography has a long and distinguished record to bring science, management and policy studies together to address important coastal and oceanic issues,” GSO Dean Bruce Corliss said.  “This grant will allow CRC to help groups and institutions address critical needs in marine spatial planning and will have a significant impact on ocean sustainability in the future.”

CRC, which developed for the state a celebrated and model ocean planning document, the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), is providing an innovative training program based on Ocean SAMP lessons learned to a worldwide network of ocean and coastal practitioners. Results from this project, as with all CRC projects, will subsequently inform and enhance the entire portfolio of CRC coastal and ocean management work – knowledge made available to the public.

“This grant has been provided in large part due to the breadth of practical on-the-ground experience and knowledge CRC has attained over decades of work on marine issues. This grant will assist in disseminating best practices and helping other groups and institutions to apply innovative and proven approaches for improved governance of our oceans,” said Jennifer McCann, CRC U.S. programs director and Rhode Island Sea Grant College program extension leader.

The Moore Foundation award is its second for CRC. The first, in 2012, funded an international marine spatial planning symposium based on the learnings of the Ocean SAMP process. The latest award will allow CRC to provide opportunities for national and international practitioners to learn from each other. This includes hosting another symposium and sharing CRC’s process for developing the Ocean SAMP as well as the experiences of other states and regions in proactive ocean planning to protect coastal resources while maintaining and encouraging appropriate development.

“Rhode Island has been a leader in marine spatial planning thanks to the efforts of CRC, which Rhode Island Sea Grant has been proud to support. I congratulate CRC on this grant from the Moore Foundation that will help this team share best practices with professionals around the world,” said Rhode Island Sea Grant Director Dennis Nixon.

The current work will assist other communities and allow Rhode Island practitioners to bring new techniques back to the state.

“We believe smart ocean planning can protect both economic interests and biological resources for generations to come,” said Barry Gold, program director for the Moore Foundation’s Marine Conservation Initiative. “Rhode Island is a leader in ocean planning, and we’re excited to see how CRC can leverage their local experience to help improve sustainable management of oceans around the globe.”

Rubinoff attains national floodplain manager certification

Pamela Rubinoff

Pamela Rubinoff, a coastal manager at CRC, has become a certified floodplain manager through the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFM). The national certification program recognizes continuing education and professional develop that enhance the knowledge and performance of floodplain managers. ASFM is an organization of flood hazard specialists working in both the public and private sectors around the nation.

Northeast Regional Sea Grant Consortium Honors McCann

Jennifer McCann

Narragansett — Jennifer McCann, extension director for Rhode Island Sea Grant and a coastal manager at CRC, was recognized by the Northeast Regional Sea Grant Consortium for her work in training practitioners locally, throughout the U.S. and around the world in marine spatial planning.

McCann received the region’s individual award for “Outstanding Outreach Achievement” at the consortium’s meeting Nov. 18 in New Bedford, Mass.

Rick DeVoe, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium director, nominated McCann for the award. He cited her work in not only helping to create the R.I. Ocean Special Area Management Plan, but also in bringing lessons learned from that project to practitioners in the U.S. and around the world at the 2012 Baird Symposium on International Marine Spatial Planning. That symposium was a first step toward developing an international community of marine spatial planners, which McCann has supported through a series of communications efforts, including a blog, a video series and a practitioners guide.

“What is so valuable about McCann’s program is that it not only addresses the needs of practitioners today, but it is actively working to build tomorrow’s ocean leaders,” DeVoe wrote.

An extensive survey after the symposium showed that McCann’s efforts are paying off. All respondents reported being more inspired and/or empowered to advance their MSP effort after attending the symposium, and a third reported concrete gains, such as engaging stakeholders with more confidence and success, and making a greater effort to gain political support for their projects. Over half of respondents have focused more attention on identifying and defining key drivers and issues.

DeVoe wrote that he sought out McCann in order to strategize MSP opportunities for the South Carolina Sea Grant program and the South Atlantic Alliance. McCann has also provided tailored MSP technical assistance to the Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, and New York Sea Grant programs.

Rhode Island Sea Grant is part of the National Sea Grant College Program and is located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

Indonesia-URI collaboration makes headlines

The Providence Journal and The Westerly Sun report on a story about planned collaboration between URI and Indonesian government officials, who will come to the university next fall to study fisheries and marine affairs. CRC and GSO helped forge the relationship with Indonesia years ago and will be involved in this partnership.To read the stories click the links below: