The annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium provides a forum for researchers, resource managers, and stakeholders to discuss the most current science in various areas important to Rhode Island coastal communities and coastal and ocean environments.
This forum was formed in 2002 and renamed in 2006 to honor former National Sea Grant Director Ronald Baird and his contributions and continued service to the Sea Grant mission as an advisor to the Rhode Island and National Sea Grant offices.
Since the beginning of July, Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound have been abuzz with barges, tugs, and supply vessels carrying steel pilings and jacket foundations, each weighing up to 450 tons, to build what will be the country’s first offshore wind farm.
“There are a lot of lessons to be had from the fact that our project made it to this moment and others didn’t,” said Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, in his keynote address at the Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium on marine spatial planning (MSP), which brought practitioners from across the nation and globe to discuss the needs and challenges of this emerging field.
“At the end of the day, marine spatial planning was one of the principle reasons why.”
“Rhode Island’s pioneering marine spatial planning work has helped to pave the way for America’s first offshore wind energy project, the Block Island Wind Farm. Smart, transparent, and inclusive planning is essential to the offshore wind energy industry.”
Grybowski has been at the forefront of shaping the federal and state policies supporting offshore wind in the US, including playing key roles in the development of federal rules governing the leasing and permitting of offshore wind projects, federal tax policies supporting renewables, and policies at the state level throughout the northeast for offshore wind, transmission, and renewables. Grybowski is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Wind Energy Association.
Grybowski previously served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of Rhode Island, where he was the Governor’s most senior advisor on all matters of state business. He previously practiced corporate law at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder in Providence, Rhode Island and at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York.
Grybowski earned an A.B. with Honors in Public Policy from Brown University, a J.D. with High Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, and served as a Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.
Primary Symposium Sponsors:
Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council. This symposium is funded in part by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Staying Afloat: Adapting Waterfront Businesses to Rising Seas and Extreme Storms
13th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, December 10, 2014
This one-day conference focused on minimizing impacts to waterfront business, and the shores where they are situated, in the face of increasing threats from extreme storms and rising seas. Representatives from the private sector, government, and the community examined the planning, engineering, and design-based climate adaptation options, as well as trade-offs to keep in mind as a business owner or waterfront district decision maker. Download the summary: Baird 2014 Summary
Courtesy of the Providence Journal:
“We know that intensity is likely to increase,” said Austin Becker, associate professor of coastal planning at the University of Rhode Island.
But perhaps the more disquieting pictures shown by Becker during his presentation were taken more recently when there was no storm. They showed the effects in North Kingstown of a moon tide from earlier this year when waters in Wickford Harbor washed over docks and into parking lots.
Though it may not be the new normal yet for Rhode Island, such events will only become more common in the coming years as temperatures go up and seas gradually rise, speakers said at the 13th annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. The facts, they said, are incontrovertible.
“We need to forget politics for a moment,” said oceanographer John Englander. “This is physics.”
Englander, the Florida-based author of “High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis,” delivered the keynote speech at the all-day conference sponsored by the Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant, both at URI, and the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina.
In his 45-minute talk, Englander summarized the data on rising seas. The average sea level hasn’t been higher in 120,000 years than it is today. While sea levels hadn’t changed much in 5,000 years, in the last century they have risen 8 inches on average. While the rise has been smaller on the West Coast — Los Angeles has seen a 4-inch increase — it has been higher on the East Coast, with New York City experiencing a 14-inch increase and Boston a 13-inch increase.
Are the Costs of Resiliency Worthwhile?
The added costs for more resilient infrastructure are causing tension as coastal communities grapple with how to recover, and to what extent, after devastating storms such as Sandy.
The expenses of cleaning up after a storm, as well as of constructing more resilient buildings, sparked some of the liveliest discussion at the Baird Sea Grant Symposium
In the media
- “Models Predict 3-5 Feet of Sea-Level Rise by 2100” – ecoRI
- “Oceanographer warns of rising sea levels.” – Jamestown Press
- “Businesses plan for rising sea and extreme weather.” – Rhode Island Public Radio
- “Speakers warn of more devastating coastal storms and R.I.’s vulnerability.” – Providence Journal
Keynote, John Englander, author of High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Levels and the Coming Coastal Crisis, and oceanographer, consultant and sea level rise expert. He brings the diverse points of view of an industry scientist, entrepreneur and CEO. For over 30 years, he has been a leader in both the private sector and the non-profit arena, serving as CEO for such noteworthy organizations as The Cousteau Society and The International SeaKeepers Society. As the Founder of the Rising Seas Group, he works with businesses, government agencies, and communities helping them understand the financial risks of sea level rise.
Planning Committee: RI Marine Trades Association, Commerce RI, RI Statewide Planning, RI Nursery and Landscape Association, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, EPA Smart Growth, URI Marine Affairs/Landscape Architecture, Tetra Tech, and the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Thank you to all of the following sponsors: The Rhode Island Foundation, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, Tetra Tech, Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association, USDA’s Risk Management Agency, 11th Hour Racing, Prince Charitable Trusts, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, and the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Future of Shellfish in Rhode Island: Sustainable seafood, economic opportunities, and ecosystem benefits
12th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, November 14th, 2013
The current and the potential future value—economic and environmental—of shellfish to Rhode Island.
FUNDERS & PARTNERS
This event is being coordinated in partnership with representatives from the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, R.I. Department of Environmental Management, R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, The Nature Conservancy, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, and the local shellfishing industry.
Organizing the Process through pre-planning
Applying Decision Support Tools
Marine Spatial Planning Decision Support Tools Development in Canada. Darren Williams, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
Frameworks for the Processes & Outcomes of MSP. Stephen Olsen, University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources
Formal Adoption and Final Products
BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program Philosophy and Lessons Learned. Maureen Bornholdt, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Economic and Social Results
Capacity to Implement
May 16th, 2012
Marine Spatial Planning: What’s the Big Deal
U.S. Strategy for Promoting MSP
Ocean planning in the Northeast U.S. John Weber, Ocean Planning Director, Northeast Regional Ocean Council.
The European MSP Experience: What are we Learning
More MSP Experiences from Abroad
MSP in the United States: What Are the Main Results?
The Next Generation of MSP in the US
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
RI Coastal Resources Management Council
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
URI Coastal Resources Center
Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program
The Nature Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The University of Rhode Island
American Mussel Harvesters Inc.
Matunuck Oyster Bar
The symposium brought together an international group of scientists, chefs, the seafood industry, and others to share perspectives on topics such as sourcing sustainable seafood, consumer preferences, and health. Participants got to prepare—and taste—sustainable seafood dishes under the guidance of chefs at the Johnson & Wales University campus in Providence. The symposium was sponsored by JWU, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the University of Rhode Island.
Celebrating Sustainable Seafood, the video of the 2011 Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, highlights the best of the symposium, “Developing the Rhode Island Seafood Knowledge Economy: Perspectives on Seafood Sustainability.”
Film from the 10th Ronald C. Baird Symposium, 2011
The purpose of this symposium is to develop opportunities and document progress toward a new vision of designed, permitted, offshore ecosystems that have windpower energy systems as their focus to provide mutual benefits for multiple uses of ocean space and many new opportunities to develop the “green economy.”
This symposium will bring together international experts in wind energy, biotechnologies, seafoods, fisheries, aquaculture, and leading legal and policy experts to discuss innovative methods for the integration of these future uses into wind farm marine areas.
Dr. Bela Buck, Head of the Marine Aquaculture, Maritime Technologies and ICZM Work Group at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, will provide the symposium keynote address. Willett M. Kempton, of the College of Marine and Earth Studies at the University of Delaware, is one of the lunch speakers. Leon Cammen, National Sea Grant College Program director, will also address participants.
State of Science Knowledge of Nutrients in Narragansett Bay
3rd Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. November 17-18, 2004 More.
Shallow Marine Ecosystems of Southern Rhode Island
2nd Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. December 9, 2002, and January 2003. Part I: Hydrology, nutrient & bacteria dynamics. Part II: Sediment dynamics, habitat changes & fish resources.