By Katherine Crosman (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance), Leah Johnson (Applied Physics Laboratory & School of Oceanography), Eleni Petrou (School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), and Hillary Scannell (School of Oceanography)
Feverish conditions in the Pacific Ocean in recent years sparked a global conversation on the impacts of a changing climate on coastal ecosystems and communities. In response, The New York Times (NYT) published an article, which became the focus of a Pacific-wide competition. Students were tasked with developing policy recommendations concerning the future of the Pacific Ocean. Out of 31 participating universities across 12 countries, the NYT and Association of Pacific Rim Universities recognized and awarded first place to an interdisciplinary group of graduate students from UW. We brought our expertise to author the winning submission. We are connected across campus through their involvement with the Program on Climate Change and IGERT Program on Ocean Change. The success of our team can be attributed to the strength of these UW departments as well as the university’s effort to harbor collaboration across disciplines
We chose to address the 2015 harmful algal bloom along the U.S. West Coast by recommending targeted policy actions for California, Oregon and Washington. This event sparked great attention in the community due to its devastating impacts along the West Coast and through its connection to climate change occurring in the Pacific Ocean. The overall goal of our policy brief was to continue to protect public health while sustaining vibrant West Coast communities by providing three linked recommendations. As HABS know no borders, we proposed a framework to bring together Washington, Oregon and California to improve HAB prediction, information sharing, economic mitigation and response.
Our recommendations were published in the international edition of the NYT and a copy is attached here. We intend to use this international platform to move their ideas forward on HAB adaptation and mitigation.