Wow! I can’t believe I am already 8 months into my Fellowship with DLCD, it really has flown by! As I look back, I think one of the main things that have stuck out to me is how close-knit this community really is. It takes several different entities to have a coastal “blue economy” up and running, including resource managers, fishermen, hotel and recreational employees, etc. Each of these people give a unique perspective to coastal management, and I am very excited to continue to grow these relationships in the final 4 months of my fellowship!
My main project has involved looking at the reasonable coastal effects of offshore seafood processing discharge, and writing a document known as a Geographic Location Description (GLD). This GLD will allow the state to review federal activities or federally authorized activities listed in the document, and approved by NOAA. Over the course of my fellowship, I have been able to gather a majority of the data necessary for the state to begin to understand these effects, and map areas of concern. For example, we are aware that land-based processing facilities discharge high impact wastewater; meaning this wastewater has a high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). Research has shown that certain areas that are being discharged into have also seen a recurrence of low dissolved oxygen waters. One of the concerns is that these waters mix with state waters resulting in larger hypoxic events along the shelf. While these discharge events are not the sole cause of the hypoxia, we can infer that it most likely cannot help. Issues like these have been at the heart of my project, and it has been very interesting collaborating with resource managers, academic professionals, industry officials, and others to help gather the information necessary for the GLD. (I like to think of it as a scavenger hunt!)
Due to the pandemic response, I am also blessed to be working from home on my project. It was definitely an adjustment at first, but I feel like I am more used to working from my living room now! As I am rounding the corner of my fellowship, I hope to have a GLD ready to turn into NOAA. If not, I hope to have DLCD much closer to having one, than when I began!