Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental Sciences/Environmental, Earth & Ocean Sciences

First Advisor

Robert F. Chen

Second Advisor

Robert E. Bowen

Third Advisor

George B. Gardner


Estuarine ecosystems provide important ecological goods and ecosystem services to human populations, yet humans are causing environmental degradation to these ecosystems mainly due to population growth along the nation’s coasts and through climate change. In order to better protect both human health and estuarine ecosystems, a clearer connection needs to be made among humans and their impacts to coastal areas, and new, more integrative, management frameworks need to be adopted. Indicators for estuarine ecosystem management are reviewed across 5 urban estuaries. Indicators that highlight interactions between society and the environment are used here to characterize the interactions between people and two estuaries: the Neponset River Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon. Management goals were ranked using a common protocol and a stakeholder-based decision-making process. Additionally, corresponding socio-economic and environmental indicators were selected to assess success in achieving stakeholder and coastal management objectives. Applying the protocol across two estuary types allows for comparisons among indicators, and demonstrates the adaptability of the protocol. This estuarine management initiative is useful in providing essential linkages among human activities, the environment, and human well-being, which will ultimately lead to ecosystem enhancement.


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