TITLE:Creating a Decision Support Toolbox for Safe Beaches & Shellfish Harvests
SPEAKERS: NEST Decision Support Systems Team
Kate Beard (Computing and Information Science), Damian Brady (Marine Sciences), Brian McGill (Biology & Ecology, Mitchell Center), Bridie McGreavy (Communication & Journalism), Sam Roy (Mitchell Center), Sean Smith (Earth & Climate Sciences, Mitchell Center)
Through a combination of interviews, stakeholder meetings and background research, a collaborative team of scientists has learned that government agencies responsible for the management of shellfish flats and beaches have been required to make use of data sets that are not customized for analyses and prediction of coastal pollution. Some readily available spatial data layers necessary for the evaluations are inaccurate or have not existed. A much-needed framework for the integration of rainfall, pollution sources, and watershed attributes governing the production and delivery of runoff and tidal dynamics has also been unavailable. A decision-support toolbox that incorporates site-specific spatial attributes and associations and historic water quality data has the potential to help decision makers make faster and better-informed monitoring and advisory decisions. Researchers from NEST’s Decision Support Systems team have compiled long-term, largescale water quality datasets from multiple stakeholder organizations. They have simultaneously created and organized spatial data sets that can be used as proxies describing the sources, delivery and residence time of coastal bacteria pollution. This interdisciplinary team is currently analyzing the data in ways that respond to the needs of decision makers at organizations such as the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources, the Maine Healthy Beaches Program and the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection. This seminar will discuss some of the results from their efforts to produce a synthesized dataset and decision support tool that is relevant for prediction and management of coastal water quality and public health problems.