Looking across the Bays: status and trends in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay July 2015 Journal

By Prassede Vella, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Documenting trends and conditions across a region as diverse as Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay is not easy, but that’s just what the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program set out to do at the 2015 State of the Bays Symposium, held in Boston on April 15, 2015.

The Symposium included 5-minute talks from 19 experts organized into 4 panels: Climate, Weather, and Human Uses; Water Quality; Habitats; and Wildlife. Real-time graphic recording pulled the information together, and supported networking and discussion among the 100 scientists, resource managers, town officials, nonprofit staff, and citizens at the event. Attendees provided insights that will inform future initiatives, suggesting that MassBays:

  • Consider status and trends in social science measures.
  • Consistently share information about solutions, in addition to describing problems.
  • Continue to connect local, state, and federal efforts to document information about the Bays.

Proceedings (abstracts and slides) are available on MassBays’ website (http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/mass-bays-program/state-of-the-bays/). Funding for the Symposium was from U.S. EPA; contributions for food and scholarships were provided by The Nature Conservancy and the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network. As most of those who filled out an evaluation asked for more frequent Symposia to bring those interested in the state of the Bays together, don’t be surprised if MassBays calls on you to share your own research findings!

Graphic recordings served as the basis for small-group discussion; those groups added their own ideas to the drawings using sticky notes.

Katharine Parsons, Director of MassAudubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program, shared the surprise of the day: piping plovers appear to prefer Revere Beach over lower Cape Cod beaches. (data provided by MA Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program)