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Urban Coast Institute

Nov. 5 UCI-IGU Talk to Examine Significance of High Seas Biodiversity Treaty

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The Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) and Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will resume their joint Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series on Nov. 5 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. with “Connected, Dynamic, at Risk: Coastal Nation Interests in a Strong New High Seas Biodiversity Treaty.” Lecture speakers will include Rutgers University Associate Professor Cymie Payne and Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and coordinator of early career professional engagement for the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science.

The event will be hosted online via Zoom and is free and open to the public. A link will be provided upon registration.

ABSTRACT

Human exploitation of the open ocean has increased rapidly over the past few decades. International agreements that manage individual commercial sectors have not kept pace with the rate of expansion of maritime industries or the effects of climate change that are already being experienced, resulting in poor management of high seas species and ecosystems. Coastal nations like the U.S., with large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), may be the first to experience the negative impacts of poor management beyond their national jurisdiction: ecological connectivity across maritime boundaries connects hundreds of ocean species to the high seas. Years of negotiation are coming to fruition with a new treaty to manage conservation and sustainable use of life in the connected, dynamic global ocean. The challenge for governments is to prioritize long-term health over short-term sectoral interests with an effective treaty for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). It will be pivotal for ensuring the health and well-being of U.S. ecosystems and coastal communities.

BIOGRAPHIES

Cymie R. Payne is an associate professor at Rutgers University. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Human Ecology and at Rutgers Law School. Professor Payne has appeared as counsel before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in its deep seabed mining and fisheries advisory opinion cases. Currently, she is legal advisor to International Union for Conservation of Nature’s delegation to the intergovernmental conference for a legally binding agreement on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental, Ocean Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group. She has also been a member of the Berkeley Law faculty and served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the law firm of Goodwin, Procter and the U.N. Security Council’s environmental war reparations program. Professor Payne holds a M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Guillermo Ortuño Crespo is a marine ecologist with a master of science from the University of St. Andrews in ecosystem-based management of marine systems and a doctorate in marine science and conservation from Duke University. Ortuño Crespo specializes in the spatial ecology patterns of distribution of both pelagic species (such as tuna, billfish and sharks) and that of pelagic fisheries (including purse seines and longliners) to identify areas of high risk and opportunity for sustainable fishing in the open ocean. He has been an active participant in the ongoing high seas BBNJ negotiations highlighting the importance of improving fisheries management beyond national jurisdiction through more transparent operations and a wider use of spatial management tools to reduce bycatch. Throughout his postdoc at the Stockholm Resilience Centre he will be working on a novel spatial management study in collaboration with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to develop the first ever tuna-RFMO dynamic spatial management strategy. As part of his commitment to the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science, Ortuño Crespo is facilitating the conversation on corporate sustainability among early career professionals with the ultimate objective of fostering strong relationships between upcoming science, conservation or technology young leaders and those companies which show determination in leading the way towards a more sustainable future.

Watch: ‘The Ocean-Climate Action Plan’ with Dr. Jason Scorse

 

The Urban Coast Institute hosted the online lecture “The Ocean-Climate Action Plan: Building the Blue Economy for the 21st Century” with Dr. Jason Scorse on Oct. 21. Scorse discussed key projects that he is working on in food systems and ocean and coastal policy and why the International Environmental Policy program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey is unique.

Click here to download slides from the presentation (PDF, 1 MB).

About the Speaker

Dr. Jason Scorse completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkeley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he became a full-time faculty member of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Professor Scorse teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and behavioral economics. In 2009, he was promoted to the Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program, and in 2011, he became the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy, which provides “leadership in research, education, and analysis to promote a sustainable ocean and coastal economy.” Professor Scorse’s book, What Environmentalists Need to Know About Economics, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.  In his spare time, Professor Scorse longboards, cooks gourmet vegan food, and writes fiction for when he starts his new career after we’ve solved all of the world’s great environmental challenges.

Jersey Shore Wave-Monitoring Buoy Deployed from R/V Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe

A buoy programmed to transmit real-time data on waves and temperatures at sea was recently deployed about 13 miles east of Barnegat Bay from Monmouth University’s R/V Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe.

The buoy joined a national network of stations operated by the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to provide coastal engineers and planners, scientists, mariners and the public with a wealth of data that can inform their research and decision-making. Among the parameters being measured are average wave heights, the distance between waves and the direction of their movement. A live feed sharing data from the buoy is now available on the CDIP website.

The buoy’s location fills an important gap for researchers, according to Urban Coast Institute Associate Director Thomas Herrington. The nearest stations of its kind, all maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are located off Long Island, at the entrance to New York Harbor and offshore of the Delaware Bay.

buoy“The Jersey Shore sees very different wave fields than, say, North Carolina or even Delaware because Long Island Sound, Long Island itself and New England act as a natural breakwater for waves coming from the northeast,” Herrington said. “So the wave climate we have off New York Harbor is very different than the wave climate we have off Cape May. This buoy is really important to understanding what’s going on off our coast.”

UCI Marine Scientist Jim Nickels, Field Operations Assistant Mitchell Mickley and Monmouth University student Bryce McCall placed the buoy and its 1,100-pound anchor just inside the southern reach of the zone that separates the Barnegat-Ambrose shipping lanes, among the busiest maritime corridors in the country. It was a job the Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe was born to do – the vessel was originally built as a U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender.

Funding for the deployment came from Scripps through the Army Corps of Engineers, which relies on the CDIP data to evaluate the performance of coastal projects ranging from beach replenishment to the dredging of channels.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) is studying the data as part of an effort to more accurately model wave heights in the region. Depending on wind direction the waves near the coast can be drastically different from waves reported by NOAA buoys which are located farther offshore. The CDIP buoy provides a nearshore wave measurement to validate the high frequency radar-derived wave heights. MARACOOS also provides a free and publicly accessible feed from the buoy on its portal OceansMap.

Antacids for the Sea: Ocean Alkalinization Enhancement in Combating Climate Change

The Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) and Urban Coast Institute (UCI) kicked off their 2020 Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series on Oct. 12 with Dr. Wil Burns, co-executive director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University. Burns delivered a lecture titled, “Antacids for the Sea: The Potential Role of Ocean Alkalinization Enhancement in Combating Climate Change.” Click here to download slides (PDF, 2 MB) or here for information about additional lectures in the series.

Lecture Abstract

It is becoming increasingly clear that achievement of the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets will require both aggressive policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and large-scale deployment of so-called “carbon dioxide removal” options, i.e. processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere to reduce radiative forcing. While much of the early research in this context focused on terrestrial options, scalability and sustainability issues have led to increasing interest in ocean-based approaches. This presentation focuses on one of the more promising options: ocean alkalinization enhancement, which seeks to enhance storage of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans through the addition of limestone or other substances. The presentation will examine the potential effectiveness of this approach, potential risks to ocean ecosystems, and avenues for international governance.

Biography 

Dr. Wil Burns is a Professor of Research and Founding Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University in Washington, DC. Prior to this, he served as the Founding Co-Executive Director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment at American, Director of the Energy Policy & Climate program at Johns Hopkins University, and Assistant Secretary of State for Policy for the state of Wisconsin.

He also serves as the Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Section of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Previously, he served as President of the Association of Environmental Studies & Sciences and was the 2019 recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Scholarship and Service in the field. His research agenda includes: climate geoengineering, climate loss and damage, and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. He received his Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law and is the author of more than 80 publications.

Nov. 10 Online Lecture: ‘Is Seaweed a Fish?’ with Ethan Prall

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The Urban Coast Institute’s Marine & Environmental Speaker Series returns Nov. 10 from noon to 1 p.m. with “Is Seaweed a Fish?” by Ethan Prall, Esq. The talk is free and open to the public. Upon registration, attendees will receive an email with the Zoom link for the event.

Abstract

This presentation argues that fisheries regulation under the Magnuson-Stevens Act should be modified to help facilitate the growth of the seaweed industry, which scientists have claimed can provide a key climate mitigation tool. In my work at Latham & Watkins, I have represented a pro bono client involved in innovative seaweed harvest technology. As I argue, seaweed harvest—primarily wild harvest rather than aquaculture—promises both benefits and costs, and legally, it thus should be neither completely prohibited nor allowed without restriction. Instead, federal seaweed regulation in the U.S. can provide a striking example of regulatory “compromise.” Although seaweed harvest is not a traditional kind of “fishery,” I argue that, in the absence of federal legislation directly governing seaweed, the Act’s regulatory regime can be applied to seaweed harvest with certain modifications that facilitate experimentation by the industry, absent serious environmental harms. Navigating this middle ground requires careful attention to the structure of the Act, to the science and policy of seaweed harvest, and to mechanisms for achieving regulatory equilibrium.

Bio

Ethan Prall, Esq. is an environmental lawyer and policy advocate at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, in Washington, DC.  He represents clients on a variety of domestic and international environmental and clean energy law and policy, including: creating the government for a new clean energy zone overseas, offshore wind energy permitting, Endangered Species Act consultations, and litigating against the Trump Administration’s rollback of California’s vehicle emissions standards. His scholarly work focuses on addressing the global challenges posed by anthropogenic change on natural systems, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. His latest publication, forthcoming Spring 2021, focuses on U.S. federal regulation of seaweed farming as a potential climate change mitigation tool. He holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, an M.T.S. from Duke University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

 

Oct. 23 Online Panel: Green Infrastructure and New Jersey Stormwater Management

The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will host a webinar on October 23 from 12-1:30 p.m. exploring the implications and implementation of new statewide rules that call for the use of green infrastructure to reduce pollution and flooding caused by stormwater runoff. The webinar, which is free and open to the public, is being organized in partnership with Clean Ocean Action, the Deal Lake Watershed Alliance, the Jersey Shore Group – New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, Long Branch Green Team and the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association.

A cornerstone of the amended New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) stormwater standards is the requirement for permit applicants to use green infrastructure (such as rain gardens, bioretention basins and green roofs) rather than more traditional engineered structures to reduce stormwater runoff and achieve water quality goals. The NJDEP announced the measures in the spring and set a March 2021 deadline for municipalities to reflect the changes in their local ordinances and provide the appropriate training for their engineers and review staffs.

UCI Associate Director Dr. Thomas Herrington will moderate a panel that includes one of the NJDEP officials who helped craft the regulations and stormwater experts from throughout the state. The following are the panelists and their discussion topics:

  • Non-Point Pollution Control – Gabe Mahon, Bureau Chief, NJDEP Division of Water Quality
  • Enhanced Provisions to the Model Ordinance – Mike Pisauro, Esq, The Watershed Institute
  • Green Infrastructure Examples – Chris Obropta, Extension Specialist in Water Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
  • Stormwater Utility Defined – James Cosgrove Jr., PE, Vice President, Kleinfelder, Inc.

An email with instructions for joining the discussion via Zoom will be sent upon registration. For more information, contact Karl Vilacoba at kvilacob@monmouth.edu.