Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Community-level Decision-Making: A San Juan, Puerto Rico Case Study
Yee, S. Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Community-level Decision-Making: A San Juan, Puerto Rico Case Study. San Juan ULTRA Meeting, San Juan, PUERTO RICO, June 02, 2016.
This presentation overviews the San Juan coordinated community study, which is developing tools and approaches to incorporate ecosystem goods and services concepts into community-level decision-making.
EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program is developing tools and approaches to incorporate ecosystem goods and services concepts into community-level decision-making. The San Juan Community Study is one of a series of coordinated community studies, which also include Mobile Bay, AL, Great Lakes Areas of Concern, and the Pacific Northwest. Common elements across the community studies include a focus on watershed management and national estuary programs (National Estuary Program, National Estuarine Research Reserve System). San Juan, Puerto Rico, is unique from the other community studies in that it is located in a highly urbanized watershed integrated with a number of freshwater and coastal ecosystems. The San Juan Community Study will explore linkages between watershed management decisions (e.g., dredging canals, restoration of mangrove buffers, sewage discharge interventions, climate adaptive strategies) targeting priority stressors (e.g., nutrients, contaminants, and pathogens; aquatic debris; habitat loss; modified hydrology and water circulation; sea level rise; storm intensity and frequency) effecting the condition of ecosystems (e.g., estuarine habitats and fish, as well as the connected terrestrial and coastal ecosystems), associated ecosystem goods and services (e.g., tourism and recreation, fishing, nutrient & sediment retention, contaminant processing, carbon sequestration, flood protection), and effects on public health (e.g., asthma, gastrointestinal diseases, vector-borne illnesses) and human well-being (e.g., public safety, social cohesion). Disparate impacts on vulnerable populations (children, impoverished communities) will be investigated. Coordination with the other community studies that share common research elements will provide a basis for comparing transferability of lessons learned across communities.