Journal of Environmental Management

Leveraging co-production within ecosystem restoration to maximize benefits to coastal birds

May 17, 2024

Author(s): Eva Windhoffer, Tim Carruthers, Jessica Henkel, Jeffrey Gleason, Jon Wiebe

Coastal Louisiana's ecosystems are threatened by anthropogenic factors exacerbated by climate change induced sea-level rise. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in injuries and deaths to coastal birds in Louisiana, and the ongoing loss of habitat has limited the potential for successful nesting of resident birds throughout the coast. Habitat loss is being addressed through increased large-scale ecosystem restoration as a result of settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To further inform bird restoration in Louisiana, an avian restoration guidance document (Guidance for Coastal Ecosystem Restoration and Monitoring to Create or Improve Bird-Nesting Habitat, 2023) was developed to maximize restoration benefits for coastal breeding birds while also achieving broader habitat restoration objectives. The developed restoration guidance was co-produced by subject-matter experts and professionals, including avian experts, engineers, and coastal restoration project managers.

This paper outlines the co-production of science model that was applied for avian resources and shows the method is applicable to a wide range of other living marine resources that may benefit from large-scale ecosystem restoration and is an example of the benefits of working relationships, communications, and common goal setting.