“Working with local and regional stakeholders takes time and requires realistic expectations,” says Melissa Kenney. As an Anchorassistant research professor in environmental decision support science at the University of Maryland, Kenney is building relationships with municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to help craft research that’s relevant to local stakeholders and to test decision-making tools and processes on-the-ground. She emphasizes that communities need scientists who are available to answer questions related to science-based problems and solutions, including potential climate impacts. Kenney acknowledges that this level of engagement requires a sustained commitment from researchers to building these long-term relationships, but it helps ensure science has a seat at the policymaking table.
Fellows at the Department of Interior connect science with policy by helping manage a new unit created to respond to environmental crises.