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Past Activities

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) (2002–2006)

NEON is designed to be a continent-wide research network of geographically-distributed observatories, linked via state of the art communications. Each observatory will consist of a consortium of instrumented field sites and support institutions creating a regional “footprint.” Collectively, the observatories form a “virtual lab” accessed by hundreds of scientists for research to obtain a predictive understanding of the environment.

Science staff worked with staff from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and designers from Free Range Graphics to develop a CD to promote NEON. We assisted in the development of the message to be conveyed, including co-writing the voice over text, choosing examples to portray the benefits of NEON, and assessing the visual impact of the video. We worked with NSF and other scientific organizations to distribute the CD to congressional leaders, agencies, scientific societies, universities, and others to promote the NEON project. Science staff also supported a workshop, held on June 4-5, 2002 in Boulder, CO, to solicit input from researchers on standard measurement and infrastructure for NEON observatories. Many ESA members and staff have participated in NEON planning and implementation.

Senior Ecologist Seminar Series (1997 – 2003)

  • Jill Baron, Secretary of the ESA Governing Board, presented two Senior Ecologist seminars on “Sustaining Freshwater Ecosystems” on May 16, 2003, at the Environmental Protection Agency and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Also see related Issues in Ecology Number 10.
  • In May 2000, Virginia Dale, Chair of the ESA Land Use Committee, presented a Senior Ecologist Seminar on the ESA Position Paper, “Ecological Principles and Guidelines for Managing the Use of Land,” at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Watershed Rap Speakers Series and at the Environmental Law Institute. On November 15, 1998, Val Smith spoke on nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen at both EPA and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
  • On April 7, 1998, Eliot Norse spoke on marine biodiversity at both EPA and the World Wildlife Fund.
  • James Porter, on November 18, 1997, gave a lecture at the Smithsonian, “Multiple stressors on Floridian Coral Reefs: Lessons for a Sustainable Future.”
  • Gretchen Daily, on March 26, 1997, presented, “Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems” at EPA.
  • William Schlesinger, on February 26, 1996, presented, “Human Alteration of the Global Nitrogen Cycle: Causes and Consequences” at EPA.

Invasive Species Review (2000 – 2001)

ESA partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Division and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a summary review of the state of the knowledge and science on setting priorities for non-indigenous species in the United States. A review paper, “Introduced Species and Vulnerable Habitats in the United States Ecosystems,” was developed by Laura Meyerson, Tom Stohlgren, and Fred Meyerson. This paper reviews and synthesizes the recent literature on introduced species and natural ecosystems subject to invasion.

Ecosystem Management Regional Briefings (1996 – 2000)

A series of briefings designed by the Science Office and regional EPA staff on ecosystem management for mid to senior level management staff was held in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 4 (Atlanta), 5 (Chicago), and 8 (Denver). Participants included Charles Peterson (UNC), Rebecca Sharitz (Savannah River Ecology Laboratory), and Elizabeth Blood (Jones Ecological Research Center ).

ESA/UCS Ecosystem Advanced Technologies in Ecology (1998 – 1999)

Between 1998 and 1999, the Science Office undertook several activities in an initiative to help facilitate the use of advanced technologies in ecological research. Activities included technical workshops and discussion sessions at ESA ‘s 1998 and 1999 Annual Meetings, and the creation of a spatial technology information resources guide, providing websites and references to information about available technologies, data, vendors, and user services.

Interagency Watershed Training Course (1998)

The Science Office worked with the Interagency Watershed Training Cooperative (EPA, NRCS, COE , USFS, FWS) to develop a course entitled “Working at a Watershed Level,” and recruited Robert Naiman (University of Washington) to develop curricula for two units: Watershed Ecology and Agents of Change in the Watershed. A pilot offering of the course occurred in June to agency resource managers and others, including Naiman as instructor.

ESA Fellow for EPA’s Office of Water (1998)

ESA fellow, Tamara Saltman, worked with EPA/OWOW. Her tasks included managing a process to produce a set of studies examining the implications of policies affecting deposition and ambient concentrations of key pollutants; contributing the ecological expertise and analysis to the studies, and the production of Frequently Asked Questions About Atmospheric Deposition: a Handbook for Watershed Managers. The handbook provides information for managers and scientists on how to decide whether atmospheric deposition is an important source of water quality contamination in a given area, as well as information on atmospheric deposition monitoring and modeling.

EMAP Program Review (1998)

The Science Office supported EPA’s Office of Research and Development in undertaking a one-day review of EMAP program components in March 1998. The review focused on EMAP’s approach to collection and analysis of geographic data in the mid-Atlantic region with regard to design of a western EMAP pilot program.

Advanced Technologies for Ecological Research (1995–1997)

The Science Office participated in a project with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Army Environmental Policy Institute ( AEPI ) to promote dialogue among ecologists on opportunities to incorporate advanced technologies, such as satellite remote sensing and image processing, into ecological research. Activities included two discussion sessions at the 1996 ESA Annual Meeting and a discussion session and workshop at the 1997 ESA Annual Meeting.

Conversation on Forest Health Policy (September 1996)

The Science Office convened a nongovernmental organization focus group to solicit input regarding the U.S. Forest Service draft Interim Directive on Forest Health Policy, producing a set of comments and recommendations on the proposed forest health policy.

Conversations on Ecosystem Management (1995 – 1996)

The Science Office organized a series of informal focus group discussions that gathered stakeholders from all segments of society to address challenges involved in implementing an ecosystem-based approach to management of natural resources. Incorporating Local Values into Ecosystem Management, Small Businesses and Ecosystem Management, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Ecosystem Management.

Department of Defense Ecosystem Management Technical Support (1994 – 1996)

The Science Office provided technical support to address ecosystem management policy development and implementation issues on the 12.5 million acres which the Army manages. Products included four policy white papers and several staff seminars.

Using Inferential Studies to Assess Ecosystem Dynamics (1993 – 1996)

This project included a workshop and review process designed to produce studies on broad scientific questions of relevance to global climate change. The resulting five papers, “ Inferential Studies of Climate Change ,” were published in Ecological Applications (August 1997).

Habitat Sensitivity Program (1992 – 1995)

The Science Office assisted EPA in evaluating the state-of-the-art in assessing the impact of global climate change on habitats. Using an eight member Scientific Review Committee, SBI facilitated dialogue between outside scientists, EPA personnel, and the Principal Investigators of three EPA-funded projects designed to develop methodologies for assessing climate change impacts on habitats. Outreach activities following the project included: a discussion session at the 1995 ESA Annual Meeting, and a symposium at the 1996 AAAS meeting, “Assessing Ecological Implications of Changes in Climate.” A summary article was published in the April 1996 ESA Bulletin (Eddy, J.O.F. and T.D. Fuad. 1996. Global Climate Change Impacts on Habitats: Assessing Ecological Implications of Changes in Climate.)

Ecosystem Management Roundtable (1993)

The Science Office collaborated with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), and the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) to convene a high level policy discussion of ecosystem management. Participants included the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior, the President’s Science Advisor, two members of Congress, representatives of four other executive branch agencies, and ten ecological scientists.