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Creating conversation around habitat restoration through boundary work in the St. Louis River, Duluth, MN
Williams, K., J. Hoffman, J. Rhodus, R. Clarke, AND W. Majewski. Creating conversation around habitat restoration through boundary work in the St. Louis River, Duluth, MN. Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference, Sheboygan, WI, May 16 - 17, 2018.
To demonstrate the utility of a Health Impact Assessment as a boundary object, or device to create relationships and mutual understanding, through an investigation of how it worked in Duluth, MN.
Closing the gaps between scientific research, human well-being and natural resource management requires the use of boundary work to facilitate translation among scientists, resource managers, and the community. Boundary work encompasses the methods, organizations, concepts, and objects that promote communication about science, policy, and action for natural resource management. The USEPA’s Office of Research and Development used a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as a method to integrate the consideration of the social determinants of health and scientific research into habitat restoration decisions. More specifically, the St. Louis River represents a complex natural resource management problem where current ecosystem management decisions must address extensive sediment remediation and habitat restoration goals for the lower river and associated port, as well as recreational users who value different characteristics of the ecosystem. USEPA’s objective has been to conduct cooperative research (especially data co-production) with state, city, and community partners to develop approaches and tools to evaluate sediment contaminant remediation and aquatic habitat restoration goals. Because there is overlap between ecosystem services and social determinants of health, we have used them as boundary concepts to create conversations. Additionally, to capture a range of knowledge, we used a map as a boundary object to facilitate knowledge coproduction. We will present an integrated decision-making framework for incorporating cooperative research, agency and community decision-making, and community benefits. We propose that the concept of ecosystem services and social determinants of health can serve in transdisciplinary research to support a broad range of user groups and diverse environmental management goals.