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Social Factors Key to Landscape-Scale Coastal Restoration: Lessons Learned from Three U.S. Case Studies

The Nature Conservancy, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD 21403, USA
Natural Capital Project, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Department of Biology and Coastal Studies Institute, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 01035, USA
Restore America’s Estuaries, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
The Nature Conservancy, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, USA
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Washington, DC 20005, USA
The Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, USA
Coastwise Partners, St. Petersburg, FL 34219, USA
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
United States Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program, Gulfport, MS 39501, USA
United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Team, Madison, MS 39110, USA
Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Northeastern University, Marine Science Center, Nahant, MA 01908, USA
San Francisco Estuary Institute, Richmond, CA 94804, USA
Tampa Bay Estuary Program, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Restoration Center, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 869;
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 6 January 2020 / Accepted: 16 January 2020 / Published: 23 January 2020
In the United States, extensive investments have been made to restore the ecological function and services of coastal marine habitats. Despite a growing body of science supporting coastal restoration, few studies have addressed the suite of societally enabling conditions that helped facilitate successful restoration and recovery efforts that occurred at meaningful ecological (i.e., ecosystem) scales, and where restoration efforts were sustained for longer (i.e., several years to decades) periods. Here, we examined three case studies involving large-scale and long-term restoration efforts including the seagrass restoration effort in Tampa Bay, Florida, the oyster restoration effort in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia, and the tidal marsh restoration effort in San Francisco Bay, California. The ecological systems and the specifics of the ecological restoration were not the focus of our study. Rather, we focused on the underlying social and political contexts of each case study and found common themes of the factors of restoration which appear to be important for maintaining support for large-scale restoration efforts. Four critical elements for sustaining public and/or political support for large-scale restoration include: (1) resources should be invested in building public support prior to significant investments into ecological restoration; (2) building political support provides a level of significance to the recovery planning efforts and creates motivation to set and achieve meaningful recovery goals; (3) recovery plans need to be science-based with clear, measurable goals that resonate with the public; and (4) the accountability of progress toward reaching goals needs to be communicated frequently and in a way that the general public comprehends. These conclusions may help other communities move away from repetitive, single, and seemingly unconnected restoration projects towards more large-scale, bigger impact, and coordinated restoration efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal restoration; oyster; marsh; seagrass; restoration success; coastal habitat coastal restoration; oyster; marsh; seagrass; restoration success; coastal habitat
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MDPI and ACS Style

DeAngelis, B.M.; Sutton-Grier, A.E.; Colden, A.; Arkema, K.K.; Baillie, C.J.; Bennett, R.O.; Benoit, J.; Blitch, S.; Chatwin, A.; Dausman, A.; Gittman, R.K.; Greening, H.S.; Henkel, J.R.; Houge, R.; Howard, R.; Hughes, A.R.; Lowe, J.; Scyphers, S.B.; Sherwood, E.T.; Westby, S.; Grabowski, J.H. Social Factors Key to Landscape-Scale Coastal Restoration: Lessons Learned from Three U.S. Case Studies. Sustainability 2020, 12, 869.

AMA Style

DeAngelis BM, Sutton-Grier AE, Colden A, Arkema KK, Baillie CJ, Bennett RO, Benoit J, Blitch S, Chatwin A, Dausman A, Gittman RK, Greening HS, Henkel JR, Houge R, Howard R, Hughes AR, Lowe J, Scyphers SB, Sherwood ET, Westby S, Grabowski JH. Social Factors Key to Landscape-Scale Coastal Restoration: Lessons Learned from Three U.S. Case Studies. Sustainability. 2020; 12(3):869.

Chicago/Turabian Style

DeAngelis, Bryan M., Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Allison Colden, Katie K. Arkema, Christopher J. Baillie, Richard O. Bennett, Jeff Benoit, Seth Blitch, Anthony Chatwin, Alyssa Dausman, Rachel K. Gittman, Holly S. Greening, Jessica R. Henkel, Rachel Houge, Ron Howard, A. R. Hughes, Jeremy Lowe, Steven B. Scyphers, Edward T. Sherwood, Stephanie Westby, and Jonathan H. Grabowski. 2020. "Social Factors Key to Landscape-Scale Coastal Restoration: Lessons Learned from Three U.S. Case Studies" Sustainability 12, no. 3: 869.

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