Principles of Western science used to inform management of marine protected areas (MPAs) prioritize strict rules for sampling, monitoring, and data analysis. Such an approach can help managers make objective decisions based on measurable outcomes and better incorporate climate considerations. Alternatively, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Indigenous cultures – also referred to as Indigenous science – acknowledges and documents the co-existence of nature and humanity throughout millennia, bringing a unique capacity to understand and respond to change. Thus, Western and Indigenous science stand to benefit from one another in terms of painting a far more complete picture of marine environments.
This project aims to advance the integration of Indigenous and Western science to improve climate-ready management of a network of four MPAs – Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), Great Bay NERR, Waquoit Bay NERR, and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) – that sit on or adjacent to the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy and the Wampanoag Nation in the Northeastern United States.
This project convenes a unique partnership among two Native American regions and managers and scientists associated with four MPAs. Working across the network will allow the research team and partners to integrate and apply Indigenous and Western science in MPA management, specifically:
- Develop integrated scientific assessments for each MPA;
- Identify actions for improved management based on the scientific assessments; and
- Synthesize the project experiences and outcomes for the benefit of other practitioners.
- Jake Kritzer, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS)
- Paul & Denise Pouliot, Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People
- David Weeden & Dale Oakley, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
- Ben Haskell, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
- Cory Riley, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Jason Goldstein, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Tonna-Marie Rogers, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve