CRC Staffers Participate in…

CRC Staffers Participate in Restore America’s Estuaries

CRC’s Environmental Management Career Development Program works with the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to offer three-year staff opportunities for science, management, and policy graduates as the partnership works to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. While the CRC Staffers provide critical support to the Chesapeake Bay Program, their time is also spent exploring their own professional interests and preparing for the next steps in their careers.

In December, four CRC Staffers journeyed to New Orleans to participate in the Restore America’s Estuaries Conference. The theme of the conference was “Our Coasts, Our Future, Our Choice,” which was selected to reflect the environmental, economic, and cultural importance of coastal areas to their residents and to the nation as a whole. The CRC Staffers were not only able to learn about new scientific findings and management techniques; they were able to contribute to the conversation by displaying posters discussing the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Best Management Practice verification process and anthropogenic and climate change impacts on tidal wetland and fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay. Let’s hear more about three of the CRC Staffer’s conference experiences in their own words.

Kyle Runion, Protect and Restore Vital Habitats Goal Implementation Team Staffer

“The Restore America’s Estuaries Conference was an awesome experience. Sessions focusing on innovative restoration techniques and regional planning and policy were invaluable. The representation from the Chesapeake watershed was impressive and along with the local experience from Gulf of Mexico folks, provided such a wealth of knowledge in estuary restoration. Personal favorites among the sessions dealt with tidal wetland restoration and coastal sediment management, topics I hope to further study in my career. Above all, I was struck with the awareness of locals in New Orleans to the environmental issues they face. The trumpet player at the Jazz Playhouse rattled off figures of wetlands lost per day when we told him why we were in town. I’m grateful to CRC for the terrific experience in the lovely city of New Orleans.”

staffers-at-rae-poster-feb-2017smPaige Hobaugh, Protect and Restore Vital Habitats Goal Implementation Team Staffer

“Attending the Restore America’s Estuaries conference proved to be an invaluable experience. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference as a first-year staffer and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. Each session I attended was truly useful, but presentations by graduate students on their marsh expansion and climate change work left me particularly inspired to continue studying and working in this field. In another session, I was able to hear about the experiences different estuary programs around the country had in creating climate change adaptation plans, providing me with insight into the process and its nuances as well as enriching my understanding of our own Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. Having never been to New Orleans, I was struck by its liveliness and welcoming charm (the seventy-degree weather in December also certainly helped). It served to perfectly complement the encouraging and communal atmosphere of the conference. I look forward to visiting again!”

Kara Skipper, Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team Staffer

“Attending Restore America’s Estuaries this past December was a wonderful experience. I participated in a number of informative and eye-opening sessions on a diverse array of topics – incorporating modeling of coastal morphology into coastal policies, designing restoration projects to be more resilient, developing thresholds for oyster reefs, among many others. I was fascinated by the expansive projects and efforts occurring around the United States and struck by the innovative approaches that other states were developing to incorporate climate resiliency into restoration projects. The summit itself was a thrilling place to be. While understanding and managing our living resources can be intimidating, the atmosphere of the conference was one of optimism and drive. From the opening plenary to the conclusion of the event, the air was charged with a desire to absorb as much knowledge as possible, using it to iterate upon others’ accomplishments and respond to universal challenges. In addition to discussing coastal and estuarine restoration and management, my fellow staffers and I took the opportunity to explore New Orleans. We browsed the art-filled French Quarter, admired architecture in the Garden District, listened to jazz every night, and ate alligator jambalaya. In short, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the CRC for giving me this unique opportunity.”

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