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Physical sciences/Earth sciences/Hydrology/Watersheds

A new study estimates that the Gulf of Mexico marine dead zone could last for decades, due to lingering agricultural fertilizer runoff.
AAAS director looks to the day when science is an overarching framework that drives scientific knowledge, understanding and the policies it informs.
Anne Jefferson is finding ways to address the human side of climate science and stormwater management. Stormwater runoff, which carries urban, agricultural and industrial pollutants into waterways, has devastating consequences for water quality and ecosystems. Climate change increases the volume and velocity of the runoff, worsening flooding and pollution. Concrete steps can be taken, yet “we are not doing nearly enough to manage urban runoff,” says Jefferson. Broader dialogue among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders about stormwater issues and urban climate resilience is needed. In addition, Jefferson, an associate professor of geology at Kent State University, says social science should be used more often to assess people’s responses to programs and how this influences implementation.
Anne Jefferson is finding ways to address the human side of climate science and stormwater management. Stormwater runoff, which carries urban, agricultural and industrial pollutants into waterways, has devastating consequences for water quality and ecosystems. Climate change increases the volume and velocity of the runoff, worsening flooding and pollution. Concrete steps can be taken, yet “we are not doing nearly enough to manage urban runoff,” says Jefferson. Broader dialogue among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders about stormwater issues and urban climate resilience is needed. In addition, Jefferson, an associate professor of geology at Kent State University, says social science should be used more often to assess people’s responses to programs and how this influences implementation.
“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.