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Showing posts from 2016

Science, Policy & Politics: Class Project!!

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This past Fall 2016, graduate students in my (i.e. Dr. Weinkle) Science, Policy & Politics (MCOP 592) turned out an impressive looking website on Beach Nourishment.

The course sought to map a knowledge controversy or looked at another way, a controversy that makes use of difference knowledges.  So... people fight over facts in order to fight over values.

It was my pleasure to guide the class through their inquiry and help them grapple with conflicting information and perspectives.

The project began with a controversy of interest: Recreational fishermen and beach nourishment projects.  The class focused hard on fishermen, prodded the peer reviewed literature and information available from other sources: businesses groups, online forums, and NGO's.  At this point, they came to an "Aha!" moment:  There are lots of facts, ways of knowing about these projects, and interests demonstrate preferences for each.  Fishermen are but one interest involved in a far larger social…

UNCW Student Debt Low Compared to Other Colleges and Universities

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Just in time for Black Friday shoppers!  
Word on the town is that students of UNCW graduate with lower student loan debt than those from other institutions.  The beach and a bargain =) 
UNCW news reports:  On average, students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduate with lower debt than their peers at other institutions, a study of 1,200 colleges and universities has found. The university ranked 55th among public institutions with the lowest debt load and 124th on a combined list of public and private institutions.  Within North Carolina, the university ranked 5th in minimizing student debt.
Read more here.

Center for Marine Science Open House and Science Carnival

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The UNCW Center for Marine Science (CMS) on Crest Campus is hosting an Open House and Science Carnival, October 1 11-3:30.  Students of the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program will man a booth passing out flyers and answering questions.  
Come visit!  Crest Campus is Beautiful and there is sure to be some fun stuff to see, touch and learn =)
You can find more information about the event on the CMS website.

New Op-Ed about Science, Policy and Politics

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I (Jessica Weinkle) have an op-ed in the Wilmington Star News Today.  
The title is a bit harsher than I would have preferred.  But the work is meant to respectfully approach the touchy subject of scientists and subtle issue advocacy work. 
The work served as a good case study to kick off the start of the new semester today!  My class didn't read the op-ed.  Instead, we used some of the materials I referenced in the op-ed to stir a good discussion about facts and values and different expectations one holds for scientists and policymakers.
You can read about it here.  An excerpt is below... Politics is the essence of community deliberation. Inclusive political discourse is well served by a healthy democracy. Today, a resounding swath of America feel left out of the political conversation and in turn, many are skeptical America’s claims to democratic governance.  Resolving political conflict often has more to do with addressing differences in the public’s moral consciousness than i…

MCOP Students in the News

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One of the features of the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program is the flexibility to learn more about a specific area of research through independent research projects guided by a UNCW faculty member.

Recently, two MCOP students, Jonathan Bingham and Kathy Cyr, worked on a research project overseen by Dr. Larry Cahoon exploring the potential for the Port of Wilmington to employ lighter vessels.  The work received press by the locally influential environmental interest organization, The Coastal Federation.  

In a post-PanaMax world, ports (and the economy they support) are struggling to remain accessible to cargo ships.  Dredging wider and deeper channels is an option, but it expensive and taxing on ecosystems.  Cahoon, Bingham, and Cyr found that lighter vessels provide a promising policy alternative.

You can read the story here.

Way to go Kathy and Jonathan!



Navassa Superfund Redevelopment

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Yesterday evening, Dr. Jennifer Biddle, assistant professor, MCOP advisor, and Coastal Federation Board Member, led a group of Public and International Affairs graduate students in providing an original report to the local town, Navassa, on opportunities for redeveloping a Superfund sight.  
The group effort was highlighted in the local Star News yesterday.  Below is an excerpt,
The students' work on Navassa’s behalf is part of a collaboration between Navassa and UNCW, which is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency’s College/Underserved Community Partnership. The UNCW students working on Navassa’s behalf are earning their master's degrees in public administration or coastal and ocean policy.  “It’s a great opportunity for the students to work with real-world clients,” said Jennifer Biddle, assistant professor in UNCW’s Department of Public & International Affairs. “And also, the goal is to really help the town. The town is our client. We’re giving policy and pl…

Negotiating beach nourishment benefits and costs

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Jonathan Bingham is working on his Master of Science degree in Coastal and Ocean Policy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he also received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences.   He has lived in Wilmington for almost a decade. Jonathan began his career project management branch at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Wilmington, NC, and quickly became involved in Federal navigation, coastal storm damage reduction, and environmental restoration projects across coastal North Carolina. His background and experience, in the sciences and involvement in complex policies and politics, ignited his interest in the coastal policy field. 
Beaches – many parties have an interest in them.  Beachfront homeowners, the summertime tourist, businesses that make a living from beachgoers, outdoorsy folks, tax collectors, and even those people who bike to the beach because they’d rather not fight for parking (especially this guy right here). 
Since the 1960s, our NC beach tow…

National Flood Insurance Program and Land Management

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Hayley Wise will graduate from the Masters of Coastal and Ocean Policy program this Spring 2016.  She comes to her capstone project with experience in private insurance and administration of the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program. 

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was introduced in 1968 after the private market failed to carry the risk associated with floods. In addition to offering affordable premiums, the NFIP was tasked with encouraging sound land use, minimizing flood losses, and guiding development away from locations threatened by flood hazards. The latter of the two is where the NFIP fails. The NFIP has become a driver in unsustainable coastal development. 
With 52% of the United States population living in a coastal county the demand for coastal development is high. Developers want to make money, and people want to live near the beach. It has caused poor decision-making, which puts property and life in danger. The NFIP uses subsidized rates to…

Southern Flounder: Fish, family and uncertainty

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Shelby White is a graduate student in the Masters of Coastal and Ocean Policy Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As a part of the commercial fishing industry in NC, she has witnessed first-hand the issues occurring between commercial and recreational user groups. Shelby's research focuses on the socio-economics of commercial fishermen in the Albemarle Sound, providing insight into how recent southern flounder regulations will impact the commercial fishing industry in the area. 



Historical accounts of eastern North Carolina often begin with tales of Algonquin tribes settling along the bountiful coastline and relying on the water as a means of survival. Using primitive tools to harvest species such as shad, striped bass, and herring, the Algonquin tribes and their discovery of North Carolina’s invaluable water resources paved the dreary road for what has become fisheries management.
The term “fisheries management” sounds relatively simple. Professionals and scient…

Hurricane Stats: Recent changes to 1969 Hurricane Camille

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NOAA maintains North Atlantic tropical cyclone data and history in a catalogue known as HURDAT.  For a while now, scientists have reanalyzed data in the catalog in consideration of a wide range of historical information and scientific advancements to improve data quality and completeness.  
Such reanalysis projects often result in changes to a storm's "Best Track," the authoritative scientific agreement of where the storm traveled and its characteristics along the way.  These updates may change the historical or scientific significance of a storm.  For instance, reanalysis may result in a drop or increase in central pressure, an increase or decrease in storm winds, and thus the storm's Saffir-Simpson category and perceptions of the hurricane record.  
The Landsea et al (2004) reanalysis of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew provides a great example of this. 
Until the reanalysis took place, Andrew was on record as a Category 4 landfall.  Thus, between 1900 the time of public…

The Pointy End of Hook: Fisheries Policy and the Importance of At-Sea Enforcement

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Eric Quigley is a graduate student in the Coastal and Ocean Policy Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2006 with a BS in Management.  Currently, he is an active duty Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard with six years of at-sea experience aboard three ships enforcing Federal and multi-national laws and treaties including, leading approximately 120 fisheries enforcement vessel boardings in the Gulf of Mexico and Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

Illegal incursions in the United States Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) increased by 13% from 2014-2015.The increase reflects a general trend over recent years.The continued illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing in US waters have led the UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the US President to encourage development of new frameworks to improve effective management these resources.A common ethical perspective holds that despite the manner by which a fish is caught (legal …

The Weight of a Word

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Feletia Lee is graduating with a Master's of Science in Coastal and Ocean Policy in May. She works at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort as the environmental coordinator and will be spending three weeks with the National Park Service in Yellowstone helping collect data for the Cutthroat trout conservation program. 

When I began my internship at the New Hanover County landfill, I didn't really understand what a landfill was. For some reason, I had a mental picture of mountains of trash teeming with rats. Liquid sludge pooled up and swarming with flies. And a stench so horrid it singed my nostril hairs. I had no idea it was so clean and orderly. Sure, there's a smell (not all that bad really), and it has its own version of rats (we call them seagulls), but on the whole, the county landfill is, well, sanitary. But those pools of liquid sludge I envisioned? They do actually have that, but not like I imagined.
Leachate (the liquid sludge) is something every landfill generates. The …

Teamwork makes the Dream Work: collaborative management of the nation's estuaries

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Alex Goldstein is completing her master's degree in Coastal and Ocean Policy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she also received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish. Alex's experiences leading kayaking expeditions in North Carolina's Outer Banks fueled her passion for environmental education and coastal policy. She was drawn to the study of collaborative watershed management because of the complex and critical nature of improving coastal watershed governance, locally and globally. As an advocate and aspiring naturalist, Alex hopes to continue helping individuals and communities value and protect their natural resources.

"Teamwork makes the dream work" is one of my favorite cheesy sayings from summer camp. As the quote implies, one is more likely to reach a goal with the help of others. A common activity used to demonstrate this idea is the "spider web"- A challenge in which participants must cross from on…

To TMDL or To TMDon’t?

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Anna Reh- Gingerich is a 2nd year Masters student in the Coastal and Ocean Graduate Program at UNCW. She graduated with a B.S. in Zoology with a Marine Biology concentration from Michigan State University in 2013. She is currently working as the Education and Outreach intern for the City of Wilmington's Stormwater Services.  She has always been drawn to water (thanks to a close proximity to the Great Lakes) and coastal ecosystems, mainly wetlands. Anna enjoy getting others excited about nature, wildlife, and our coastal resources and hopes to continue her involvement with community outreach related to coastal management issues. 

“’Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”  – William Edward Hickson

Nancy Drew was one of my heroines while I was growing up. Her determination to get to the bottom of a case was inspiring and for a short while, I wanted to be a detective just like her. Fast forward about fifteen years and sudden…