Jennifer Plunket, PhD, the Stewardship Coordinator at the North Inlet-Winyah
Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve spoke on the purpose of the Reserve.
The NERRS Science Collaborative was created to put Reserve-based science
to work for coastal communities coping with the impacts of land use change,
pollution, and habitat degradation in the context of a changing climate. The
program is based on the belief that for science to be applied to coastal
management problems, the people who need to use the science must be
involved in its generation.
Why? Few coastal resource management problems are purely “environmental”
in nature. They impact economies and business, infrastructure and property,
human health and well-being. Science may be essential to addressing a problem,
but when it does not account for the economic, regulatory, and social aspects of
a problem, it often gets ignored.
The projects funded are designed to bring the intended users of the science into
the research process so that their perspectives can inform problem definition,
research design and implementation, and ultimately, application of the project’s
results. This is what we mean by “collaboration,” and it is our goal to use this
process to ensure that the good science happening in and around the Reserves
gets put to good use.
There was great interest in the subject since all agreed that The Winyah Bay
and surrounding watersheds are what makes this area so attractive to live in and
worth preserving for the future. It was pointed out that we should all recognize
changes in the climate evidenced by the local flooding that is not caused by
rainfall or storms, but normal astronomical occurrences.
There was an animated discussion amongst Rotarians at the conclusion about
the necessity and purpose of government intervention.
Pictured, Dr. Jennifer Plunket.