National Estuarine Research Reserve System
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a federal-state partnership. The federal government provides funding and administers the system, but the sites are managed on a day to day basis by state agencies, universities and other local partners. The Reserve System has identified climate change and its impacts as strategic priorities, and is developing an initiative with key actions to address climate change adaptation, mitigation, and to promote resilience of estuary ecosystems.
With a network of 28 areas, representing different biogeographic regions of the United States that are protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education and coastal, the Reserves are well positioned to monitor and study the impacts of climate change on estuaries and to work with resource managers and communities to plan and adapt to these changes. Reserves design and implement mitigation and adaptation practices in the construction of facilities and through stewardship projects. Reserve training and education programs help communities understand and adapt to anticipated local and regional climate change impacts.
In 2008, the Reserve System developed a climate change strategy and plan for action. Additionally, as one of three 2011-2016 priority areas for the Reserve System, reserves are supporting both the 'Climate Adaptation and Mitigation' goal as well as the 'Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies' goal in NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan.
The research reserve's Science Collaborative competitive grant program is the mechanism by which most of the NOAA-funded research undertaken at the nation’s research reserves is accomplished. An average of $3 million is awarded each year for science-based projects that address coastal management problems that reserves identify as priorities. To date, the program has funded collaborative projects addressing:
Climate change impacts on estuaries and coastal communities
Mitigation of the impacts of land use change, estuarine eutrophication, and contamination
Restoration of estuarine habitat
The use of System-wide Monitoring Program and sentinel site data
Each reserve is managed on daily basis by a lead state agency or university, with input from local partners. Reserve staff work with local communities and regional groups to address natural resource management issues, such as non-point source pollution, habitat restoration and invasive species. Through integrated research and education, the Reserves help communities develop strategies to deal successfully with these coastal resource issues.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is one of just two place-based operations within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Reserve System is administered by the Estuarine Reserves Division of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). OCRM is part of NOAA's National Ocean Service, which is also the home of a number of services that provide technical assistance and support to the Reserve System.
Phone: (301) 713-3155