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About the Summit

Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and the Coastal States Organization (CSO) proudly present the 9th National Summit, which will bring together the coastal restoration and management communities for an integrated discussion to explore issues, solutions, and lessons learned in their work. The Summit will provide timely and much-needed attention to the challenges and opportunities for coastal and estuarine restoration and management. It will bring together a unique blend of people who are involved in policy, science, strategy, business, and on-the-ground restoration and management.

The Summit Program will address all aspects of coastal and estuarine restoration and management, in all ecosystems, at all scales, and in all regions, including the Great Lakes and international locales. These topics are crucial as coastal communities pursue new, more robust strategies to effectively manage, protect, and restore their resources in a changing climate. Ensuring these resources, and the communities that rely on them, are resilient now and into the future will be a particular focus.

Audience

The Summit is an international gathering encompassing all disciplines within the coastal and estuarine restoration and management communities. RAE and CSO will work with 200 partnering and supporting organizations to develop and host the Summit and we anticipate more than 1,300 attendees from the restoration and management communities: non-profit and community organizations, Indian Country, Indigenous Peoples, academic and research institutions, businesses with an interest in the coast, and agencies from all levels of government. Restoration and management practitioners, citizens and community leaders, consultants, scientists, educators, planners, engineers, students, volunteers, philanthropists, program managers, field staff, contractors, regulators, and others involved in restoration and management efforts are expected and encouraged to participate.

Theme | Investing In Our Coasts: Environment, Economy, Culture

America’s coasts continue to be a focal point for gauging our nation’s well-being on many fronts. They highlight the challenging juxtaposition between bounty and scarcity, urban and rural, impacted and pristine. Combined, they represent a patchwork of successes, opportunities, and lessons learned. The Summit theme explores the wide variety of roles our coasts play, ranging from economic to environmental to cultural. People – and companies – are drawn to the coast for a range of reasons, most of which have merit in their own right. When these goals align, then management and restoration can proceed in relative harmony. It is when they do not align that challenges become more difficult. Interwoven throughout this theme is the understanding that a changing climate and all that goes with it (including sea-level rise and Great Lakes level fluctuation) play a substantial role. In these times, we cannot have a conversation about the future of our coasts without keeping in mind the importance of what the future may hold. How we choose to manage and invest in our coasts, including the communities and ecosystems within them, will have profound impacts to future generations. The Summit will provide a forum for dynamic, thoughtful, and insightful discussions as to what has occurred, what is happening now, and how that knowledge should frame our decisions moving forward.

Opening Plenary | Investing in Our Coasts: What’s at Stake

The Summit theme Investing In Our Coasts: Environment, Economy, Culture, reflects the varied benefits that people across the country and the world derive from coastal conservation and restoration. Unfortunately, it also demonstrates how much we stand to lose as a result of the many pressures facing our coasts. At risk are ecosystem sustainability, economic vitality, and cultural continuity for countless communities. We face a critical need for our nation to invest in sound science and tool development, foster a new cadre of young professionals, and meaningfully include people from diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences in order to have our workforces, policies, and approaches best represent the interests of the communities we serve. How have past investments made a difference and what can we learn from them? What needs to be done now to address current and future challenges? How do we best serve and address the need of diverse constituencies and stakeholders? Our panel of experts will provide thought-provoking views on why future investment in our coasts is an absolute national imperative.

  • Kimberly Davis Reyher, Executive Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (moderator)
    • Kim Reyher joined the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana in 2014. Under Kim’s leadership, CRCL has convened candidate forums to focus state leaders on coastal issues, developed “The 300” project to inspire Louisiana’s next generation of coastal leaders and continued CRCL’s science-based policy advocacy and volunteer restoration programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University. 
  • Dr. Meg Caldwell, Deputy Director, Oceans, Conservation and Science, Packard Foundation
    • Meg Caldwell joined the Packard Foundation’s Conservation and Science program in April 2015 as Deputy Director, Oceans. She leads the Oceans team where she manages growth in the scale and ambition of our oceans-related grantmaking, provides strategic direction across our subprograms, fosters the increasingly team-oriented approach to this work, and helps to amplify the work of our Foundation and our grantees as a thought leader on ocean conservation issues. Meg holds a Bachelor’s in Science in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
  • Dr. Katharine (Trina) Wellman, Marine Environmental Economist, Northern Economics
    • Katharine (Trina) Wellman is an associate of Northern Economics based in Seattle, WA. Dr. Wellman holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics and an M.M.A. in Marine Policy, both from the University of Washington, Seattle. She has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Battelle Memorial Institute as a research scientist and environmental economist. Katharine’s work includes economic impacts analysis and ecosystem service valuations of shellfish aquaculture, assessments of the benefits of coastal ocean observing systems and impacts of climate variability and ocean acidification on coastal activities, benefit /cost analysis of marine resource uses, stakeholder involvement and stakeholder choice experiments, the role of the human dimension in marine ecosystem restoration, and the development of indicators of human wellbeing.
  • Dr. Mamie Parker, Principal, M.A. Parker & Associates
    • Dr. Mamie Parker is a fish and wildlife biologist that worked for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Genoa; La Crosse; Madison, and Lake Mills, Wisconsin; Columbia, Missouri; New London and Minneapolis, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Hadley, MA; and Washington, D.C. Parker rose to the rank of Chief of Staff Chief of Fisheries and Assistant Director in the FWS Headquarters. As the FWS Assistant Director, Parker played a major role in implementing CBRA System mapping and flood insurance, Coastal Program and protecting our nation’s waters from the pollutants and invasive species such listing the Snakehead fish as an injurious wildlife species. She led the Service, along with partners, in developing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

Closing Plenary | From Challenges to Opportunities: Envisioning the Future for Our Coasts and Estuaries

We, the coastal and estuarine restoration and management community, face daunting and varied challenges in our efforts to bring about meaningful and lasting results. Lack of funding. Political uncertainty. Climate change impacts. Less-than-clear definitions for concepts like resilience and adaptation. Pollution. You name it. However, we are also uniquely positioned, despite these obstacles, to be able to catalyze amazing outcomes that will bring benefits for generations to come. Flourishing habitats. Prosperous economies. Thriving communities. The question is how we get from challenges to solutions. This dynamic closing plenary session features Jared Blumenfeld, a seasoned environmental leader and the creator and host of “Podship Earth,” who will share an inspiring, visionary, and entertaining perspective on how we can, in fact, meet the challenges of today and navigate a path to the future.

Jared Blumenfeld is the host of the award-winning environmental podcast - Podship Earth. Jared was appointed by President Obama to be the regional administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (2009-2016), he also served as the Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment (2001-2009), chaired the first United Nations World Environment Day held in the US (2005), and founded the Business Council on Climate Change and Green Cities California. He worked for non-profits including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) where he helped protect millions of acres for wildlife and held corporations accountable. Jared is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law. He thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2016. He is a trusted source for environmental stories and appears frequently in the New York Times, BBC, Economist, Los Angeles Times, NPR and other media outlets.

 

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