Understanding the Working Waterfronts' Contribution to the Blue Economy | Working Waterfronts
Working waterfronts power the blue economy.
Individuals have been drawn to the coastline for centuries, evident by the number of thriving metropolitan cities located adjacent to waterfronts all over the world. In the United States, 40% of the population resides near the water. Not to mention, the blue economy has grown at a rate that is faster than the overall GDP for the country, as it has proven to be a primary driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth. Our strong desire to be near the water might be simple to see, but quantifying this importance is no easy task. The Blue economy is a vast network with land, people, places, real estate, tourism, ports, fishing, shipping, maintenance, military- all dependent on this vital resource and interconnected. On this show, we are going to explore the Blue Economies of two Atlantic coastal states -- Rhode Island and South Carolina. Our guests are going to guide us through the process their coastal states have undertaken to access valuable information and not only assess the current activities on their coastline, but also plan for the future of the working waterfront. An economist will also introduce us to a new and innovative strategy aimed at valuing non-market features on the waterfront such as wetlands, sand dunes, open space, oyster reefs and other types of mariculture.
Ashley Bennis 0:00
Hey there. Welcome to the National working waterfront podcast, the show where we chat about topics related to the working waterfront, an important driver of the blue economy and development all along our coasts. I'm your host, Ashley bennis, a Planning Specialist with Texas Sea Grant. This show is a collaboration between the national working waterfront network and the American shoreline Podcast Network. Today, we're looking at the role that working waterfronts play in the blue economy, a subject not unfamiliar with listeners who may have already heard ASB ns newest podcast hosted by Admiral Tim Gallaudet, the American blue economy podcast. And if you haven't heard it yet, you should totally check it out. On the show, we're going to explore the blue economies of two Atlantic coastal states, Rhode Island and south carolina. What we are hoping to communicate is how communities like those in Rhode Island in South Carolina can access information to value their coastlines. We're also going to hear about a new and innovative strategy aimed at valuing non market features on the waterfront such as wetlands, sand dunes, open space, oyster reefs, and other types of mariculture. Before we get started, I wanted to go over some numbers to help us understand the economic magnitude of the blue economy. You might have heard these before, or something very similar, but just think, according to data collected from NOAA, approximately 127 million people or 40% of the US population live in coastal counties. In 2018, the American blue economy supported 2.3 million jobs and contributed approximately 373 billion to the nation's gross domestic product through the activities such as tourism and recreation, shipping and transportation, commercial and recreational fishing, power generation, research and related goods and services. It is estimated that the global ocean economy will double in value to 3 trillion by 2030. in Rhode Island, a state with 384 miles of shoreline, the value of the blue economy was clocked at around 12 billion in 2018. The same year in South Carolina, a state with 2876 miles of shoreline. 5 billion was contributed to the GDP courtesy of the state's blue economy. As I said before on the show, these are some big numbers, people. To get started, we have a veteran of the American shoreline Podcast Network returning to grace us with her knowledge and insight on this topic. Jen McCann, welcome back to the show. I'm so excited to have you here.
Jen McCann 2:48
Hey, Ashley, it's good to hear your voice again. So yeah, so I'm Jen McCann, and I am the director of extension for the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program. And I'm also the director for the US coastal programs for the coastal Resources Center, which is part of the University of Rhode Island and the Graduate School of Oceanography.
Ashley Bennis 3:09
As we were prepping for the show, Jen, I talked with a lot of different people and your name came up so much. You are just the premier person to reach out to when it comes to waterfront related things in Rhode Island.
Jen McCann 3:22
Ashley Bennis 3:23
Yeah, I was I was like, Oh, I know, Jen. She has been here before. And joining Jen and I today is Susan Daly. She also hails from the beautiful state of Rhode Island. Susan, welcome to the show. We are so glad that you could join us today. Would you please introduce yourself? Thanks,
Susan Daley 3:41
Ashley. Um, I'm Susan Daley. And I'm the Vice President of strategy for the Rhode Island marine trades Association, and also for the composite alliance of Rhode Island. And I'm thrilled to be on a show with Jen, who, as you rightly said, Everybody knows. So it's very exciting. Exciting.
Ashley Bennis 4:00
Yeah. And may I start out by asking how you ladies know each other have have worked together with each other in the past?
Jen McCann 4:09
Well, everybody in Rhode Island knows everybody. First of all right, Susan? Very true. And actually, Susan and I are both alum of a program called leadership, Rhode Island. So we take leadership very strongly in Rhode Island, and just being a part of that leadership program where we learn about different aspects of the state of Rhode Island to encourage connectivity and networking amongst leaders in Rhode Island. Actually, that's where I knew Susan. So when I think of the blue economy, I think of Susan,
Ashley Bennis 4:47
that's what that that takes me right into the first question because, as we know, we're talking about valuing the blue economy and focusing in on the state level and how states are kind of Looking at this type of information and using it to plan for the future. So to set the stage, each of you ladies first Susan, and then Jen, how would you, in your own words, define the blue economy? And it can be general, like overall? Or how do you define it in your state? Either one will work?
Susan Daley 5:22
Well, I prefer to define it from our state, because in general blue economy is just so all encompassing. But I think in Rhode Island, we have a number of strengths and incredible sort of expertise and capabilities that really focus, I kind of put your eye in the center of it all given a lot of the really instrumental work that they've done on really understanding and mapping and detailing how the waters in Narragansett Bay and out into Rhode Island Sound in the ocean are used and, and being a sort of a key convener. But because of that, too, and because of what Rhode Island is, has incredibly strong, recreational marine industry boating industry, it has the naval underwater Warfare Center, a naval base here that has really a focus on a lot of things that go under the water. We also have Aqua culture and the like, but I think we really know if something floats on the water or goes under the water, I think we have a good understanding of either how to make it, repair it services, build it, you name it, and I think that's where our strengths lie.
Ashley Bennis 6:46
And Jen, do you wanna answer?
Jen McCann 6:48
yeah, and just to build on what Susan saying, you know, we are the Ocean State. And therefore a lot of our our I would also include part of our blue economy is the commitment that our state whether it be our our government agency, so our coastal program, our word Rhode Island commerce on that we we recognize that the blue economy is is a huge engine for for our little state. And that there for forever for a very long time, there has been investment by our government entities in promoting the blue economy, whether that be helping with with our enhancing our port infrastructure to really investing in proactive planning, and management of our coasts and oceans so that we are designing our coasts versus just letting it happen. And then the other thing, I'm just just to say is we have some amazing strong trade organizations, like we have one for it's a regional entity for our defense industry. And then we have, you know, another trade organization, the one that Susan represents is there, you know, Rhode Island, Rhode Island, I always say Ram tabbert Island marine trades Association, where, you know, there's so many examples of these associations, when, when the going gets tough, it's the trade organizations that are that, that become extremely responsive and fill in the gaps and promote innovation and to to keep our blue economy strong and diverse. So I would add those to our blue economy definition.
Ashley Bennis 8:36
That's excellent. Thank you ladies. I know, that's not an easy question to answer. And through doing research and background into this topic for today's show, I learned from some people at NOAA that whether or not they can use the term blue economy really depends on you know, the specific administration's that in the White House, and you know, what's going on in those political levels. So, I appreciate you ladies given us given us setting the table for us. But um, so, Jen, you'd mentioned something that I did want to dive a little more into, is that trade association and and the different trades of Rhode Island. Susan, what kind of can you kind of give a little more detail into you know, what, renta, the Rhode Island marine trades Association gets involved with Who do you work with and just a little bit more background on that?
Susan Daley 9:35
Sure. We focus and represent the businesses that are connected in one way or another with what we call the recreational marine or the recreational boating segment of the industry. So that would be the you know, the boats that you see out in the harbors or you know, Public ramps and the like, and all the aspects around it. So it could be the designers of boats, the builders, people who repair it, the marinas, people who provide or organizations that provide the services around it, whether it's electronics, or mechanical or engine repair, sailing schools, charter companies, insurance companies, it's, it's really kind of an amazing array and very diverse in Rhode Island. We like to think we're the sort of center of the universe when it comes to the recreational marine industry and, and a place that people just, they bring their boats do they come to sail or to go out on the water to go fishing. But they also come here to get their boats repaired on or they come to have, you know, service are worked on. So it's a very, we're sort of almost vertically integrated and fully integrated. What we are is we don't recreate you know, we don't represent large commercial vessels like ferries, or shipping, we are involved with the defense sector and or commercial fishing. It's really things that that touch, sort of you and me and your neighbors.
Ashley Bennis 11:23
Yeah thank you. Yeah, you beat me to my next question was you so not focusing on the commercial side of stuff, we're just sticking to the recreational but it sounds like there's a lot going on and that aspect, and so enough to keep you busy. And I know that we had talked previously, of the marine trades Association acting like an intermediary between businesses and organizations that regulate the use of the waterfront and waterways. How is that? Is that accurate? Or how does that work?
Susan Daley 12:00
Yeah, I mean, that the term any intermediary, or a lot of ways we sort of think of ourselves as sort of superconnectors too. You know, that we're our mission. And we are, you know, there's over 1000 companies or businesses associated with the recreational marine industry in Rhode Island, some of which are very small mom and pop shops, but some that are much bigger, but we're member based, but our job is to run, you know, to help those businesses. So we have a focus on one side of economic development, which means and Jen had referred we, we interact with the government, the state government, the local government, are some of our regulatory agencies, like the default depend, excuse me, the Department of Environmental Management, or some of the other state agencies. But we also look and find, how can we help the company's access to funding for projects they're working on? Or if they run into some issues that might be regulatory or business oriented? How can we advocate on their behalf. And we also, we make sure we're there to help the state and the federal government, our federal federal delegation understand the value and the contribution and the importance of this particular segment, to the state economy and also nationally. And I would add to also one of the other legs that's very important has to do with workforce, and ensuring that there's a strong pipeline of workers and ways to keep training and retraining and keep the workforce very strong. So we, we do a lot of educational programs, we're starting actually, all the way down in fourth grade now, helping kids sort of see what what it's like to be on the water, what career you know, what opportunities may be, and as you move through middle and high school, college, it could be it becomes a little more career oriented.
Ashley Bennis 14:06
That's, that's amazing. That's excellent. I'm so happy to hear that. Um, yeah, it sounds like understanding and knowing the value of all of those industries, and being able to talk about that with your legislature is very important. So you can have those great programs like workforce development and training. So, one of the reasons we're here talking today with Jen and stuff is that she were recently the author of a report that was put out in 2020, the value of Rhode Island's blue economy. Jen, can you tell us about what that report is? how it came to be like, what motivated the writing of the report and and the goals for the report?
Jen McCann 14:54
Sure. And and again, Susan contributed to the report as well. So we really appreciate her input. So a couple of years ago, we were asked by the state of Rhode Island by indirectly by the governor, Governor Raimondo, who is now the Secretary of Commerce for the United States to define what is the value of Rhode Island's blue economy. And we were, you know, because we're part of Rhode Island Sea Grant, which is a NOAA program, we immediately contacted our, our NOAA people, and our resource economists. They're the people who are developing data and ident, looking at trends for the ocean economy for the country. So we reached out to them to identify, you know, what, what is the data? What is the information about Rhode Island School economy, and what we realized is one that was such an amazing resource, the federal government's data was it was it was incredible. And it was a real opportunity to look at and compare Rhode Island to all the other states in the United States. But what we also realized is that if you if when we started talking to many of the leaders here in Rhode Island, including Susan, is that we don't define our blue economy, necessarily the way NOAA is collecting their data. So for example, you know, you just heard a great description of marine trades. And for us in in Rhode Island, blue economy, marine trades is front and center. But marine trades isn't one of the data or the categories that the that NOAA, you know, collects data for. So however, renta had produced this great economic report. And Rhode Island is so small that this report, which was done by you IRI, contracted by renta it was able to really talk to the different sectors within the marine trades industry, so that we got a better number. As far as what the value and what the total effects are from Marine trades. In addition, I think Susan mentioned the defense industry is huge here in Rhode Island, yet, um, and so are the academic and research institutions yet, no, as you know, economics, national ocean watch, data sets do not collect information for that, nor the offshore renewable energy industry, which is now you know, we're the pioneers, as governor Raimondo used to say, for offshore renewable energy industry. So what we what we needed to do is really dig down and talk to each sector of Rhode Island's blue economy, the ones Susan mentioned, to find what what is the what is the economic data? What is the information that we have about that, but the reason why we call this report the value of Rhode Island's blue economy is that we realize that the perspectives from the blue economy leaders, and the commitment that we have to, to network and to bolster our blue economy and Rhode Island is if not more valuable than the economics behind it. So for example, with the federal data, we were able to see that 9% of Rhode Islanders are connected to and working in the blue economy. Whereas and that may not seem like a lot. But if you look at California, or Texas, or even our neighbors, Connecticut and Massachusetts, only 3% of their workforce works within the blue economy. So so we may have a smaller, you know, economy, but more people in the state of Rhode Island are committed and are working within it. So so. So again, what we did was in addition, during this same timeframe, our governor Rimando at the time, was putting together another Rhode Island economic development strategy. And the author of that report, really referred to our report our strategies and also the data that we have collected to incorporate that into the state's innovate 2.0 so their economic development strategy. So the purpose was really to one thing I love. So we have our Senator Whitehouse here who we all love. He says that our blue economy here in Rhode Island are like stars. We have so many amazing stars in our blue economy, but what we really need to do is create a constellation out of all of those amazing stars. And our hope was that this report would sort of be a good start to look at what our blue economy is, what it, what it and how we can move forward with its strengths.
Ashley Bennis 20:14
I do really enjoy that quote, I know, you've talked about that before. But that's a really great imagery as to as to how some like this could be used. And that's pretty amazing to have a report that was referenced for other economic development reports that the state officials are using. And I know with Susan, we had talked about, they had done, you know, economic impact reports, and she had shared some with me had a report like this, other than an economic impact, you know, of the trades industry had a report like this, like what you just produced in 2020, existed in Rhode Island before,
Jen McCann 21:00
so a comprehensive report of Brownsville economy, not not that my knowledge, we had, you know, amazing. So we have another Trade Organization cinavia. And they they target on the defense industry within the region, they produced an amazing report, you also had the commercial fisheries, who created a report, but clearly, and then, as I mentioned, marine trades. But clearly, a lot of these, you know, the blue economy is more than just those sectors that I just mentioned. And to some degree, the methodologies were a little different, different times that they were developed, you know, they were pretty recent, but they're, you know, different times. And, but what I, what we appreciated about all of these individual reports is these blue economy leaders, we're defining the blue economy, the way red islanders see it, and again, when I look at Blue economy efforts in California, or Norway, or, you know, the European Union, for example, everybody defines blue economy differently, and, and leave it to Rhode Island to define the blue economy just a little differently, to highlight our uniqueness, and, you know, again, the commitment that we have and the value and that, you know, it's it's part of who we are in the ocean state.
Ashley Bennis 22:29
Well, you guys are the Ocean State, as you said, so why not be a little different? And you had mentioned, the some of the data that you'd used in gone through NOAA to get that data? Is that referring to the email data, the economics, national ocean watch data?
Jen McCann 22:53
Yes. And again, every year, it's, it's, they they're expanding it. And again, it's wonderful for trends, you know, to really see how the different sectors are, are changing. And again, it was in it's wonderful to be able to compare that he now data, the Rhode Island ino data with other states, so it was it was extremely helpful. But again, you know, we we were lucky in Rhode Island to have, you know, organizations like renta, who did their own studies that were more comprehensive, I would say. And, and so we we, it was really hard. And it was frustrating. And I swear it was some of the nightmares that I had during this timeframe, where it was like, What data do we use? How do we use it? I am not an economist. And so again, the the NOAA, ocean economy, economists were helping as well as we had some Ura resource economist to make sure that what we were saying was accurate. And, and we were not double counting.
Ashley Bennis 24:04
Right. Yeah. So it sounds like and correct me if I'm wrong, that this email information, which is available on the NOAA website, it's, it's publicly available, you can look at it anytime you want. It sounds like it's provides a good foundation for exploring the value of your economy and then to take other data sets from your specific state and add it on top of it is a good way to go about it.
Jen McCann 24:31
Yeah. And not add, don't add. Don't add, for example, you know, if you look at the email data, you know, they value Rhode Island's blue economy or ocean economy to be $2.8 billion dollars. Whereas when we looked at individual reports that were that the Rhode Island sector, you know, had developed and that includes The defense industry and as I mentioned, he now does not include that, you know, our value is up to 5.2 billion. Wow. So. So it's it's a significant difference. And again, it just may be because our our blue economy is so different. We don't you know, again, you know, doesn't do defense, he now doesn't do offshore renewable energy they don't do you know, so marine trades is defined differently. So. So we really had to understand both the federal the federal data as well as the local data, and again, with with significant guidance from economists, no double dipping. That's, that's a very conservative, those are conservative numbers to the five point. Right.
Ashley Bennis 25:51
Yeah, that's a good point. And always, always good to add that caveat. For Susan I in the report, and as you are certainly a part of it, they talked about these different effects that we're looking at direct effects, indirect effects and induced effects. Susan, can you please give us examples of what those mean?
Susan Daley 26:17
Well, like Jen, I, too, am not an economist, but I will do my best. But again, we, you know, we, when we did this report with your eye, we were doing it, you know, from the business perspective, so the direct effects really have to do with the, the businesses and organizations that we counted in the recreational marine industry. So direct effects would be things like wages, it would be sales, or, you know, sales of services or products. So, things you can see a business, creating or contributing, you know, directly related from their efforts in their work. So a boat, it would be we sold the boat, we did this, or we charge this much for a service, the indirect effects are really sort of related to the supply chain. So all the whether it's the materials that you might buy from a fabric producer to make cushions for a boat, or the, you know, hoses or things that you might put into a boat, when you're building out the, you know, the exhaust systems, so, or if it's contracted, or, you know, you've got some people coming in, you know, providing you with some sort of, of consulting work of the like, so it's really the supply chain. And then the induced, as far as I understand it is really, what is, you know, you've got people working, you've got a business creating revenue and the like, what are the other impacts they will have in your state. So the workers go, and they go and buy uniforms, or they go and buy lunches in their area, where the rent that gets paid to a landlord, or whatever it may be. So each one of them is related to the marine trades, but sort of ring frames out directly from the product.
Ashley Bennis 28:26
Thank you. Yeah, as I am also not an economist. So it's some of those terms to the report, you almost need the dictionary next door, just to just to get there. But we will be interviewing, or I will be interviewing in economist later on in the episode from South Carolina. And as part of the report he wrote to value their blue economy, he included some non market benefits in the report, and I noticed that this wasn't quite talked about in the Rhode Island report. And so Jen, I was wondering if non market values was a consideration, or maybe a future consideration.
Jen McCann 29:11
So, um, we did not talk about non market however, we did, we did recognize and again, if you look at our report, we also tell stories of the leaders. Because, again, that the stories and the commitment that people have in the blue economy are important. So we did come up with a thing what we're calling is enhancers. All right, and these are so these like quality place, how do you you know, so that's sort of non market but just you know, the, the quality of living here and whether it be open space or access to the water, for example, is something that is a significant contributor to to our blue economy. Whether Be people want to move here and work within the blue economy, or people have access and you you are able to build a constituency who recognizes the value of this blue economy. And therefore they will we have bond issues like every other state. And usually I can't think of a time when it hasn't, you know, preservation of our of our coastal in our open space, those bond issues are always approved, because again, it's we there's a, the residents of Rhode Island recognize the value of clean water, and have good quality of life. Also, part of those enhancers are things like workforce development, and innovation. So I so we, and again, Susan's part of an amazing program called 401. Tech bridge, which contributes to innovation of our blue economy so that we're not just settling on the traditional blue economy sector with and although we value the traditional blue economy sector, but we're creating new and innovative aspects of blue economy, whether it be composites or offshore renewable energy, and we're looking at, you know, the defense industry and even commercial fisheries and seeing what can we learn from there and aquaculture to bolster these new sectors of the blue economy? So I, I, I answered your question. And I added more things in which I think makes Rhode Island School economy unique. It's that innovation and creativity in the environment. That, you know, we're, we're, someone said, I don't know who said it is Rhode Island is big enough to matter and small enough to get things done. And I think this innovation aspect with programs like poro integrity, that Susan's part of, is really done a demonstration of that.
Ashley Bennis 32:05
That's I love that that's a great, I mean that I'm learning f learning about this, this drone islands a little feisty in there. They they've very connected, very connected community. And I think that's that's helped. And I can see it through your report just how important this this ocean economy blue economy, having waterfronts and access is to your state. And Ashley,
Susan Daley 32:32
if I could just add on to what Jen was just mentioning about, yes, lazy enhancers, or, if you will, the things that are not easy to potentially put a number directly on butter. So important, you know, our economic impact study we, we did, because we get asked a lot by our legislature or the like, like, well, how many jobs do you have? And what are your forecasts and how big ru I mean, things they're comfortable with. And, and part of the challenge for us is when we add them up, you know, we may not even begin to compare, say, to health care, or to some of the areas or businesses that you you know, just by virtue of what they are much bigger sectors. So it becomes important for us to have, like Jen said, both those, those kind of examples and stories, and the things that do talk about the quality of life here. And and explain why having harbours with boats in them and having people have public access to be able to go kayaking, like, you know, that's what we really get out there with. So even though we are much smaller than a lot of sectors, we'd like to say we box above our weight. And, and that we also when there's a big issue facing the state, whatever it may be, you know, we want it we make sure and we usually have a seat at the table. And that's important, because it helps the businesses obviously, but again, I think it is so much a part of what Rhode Island's bout, you know, when the state is off pitching for new businesses to come move to the state, our you know, our commerce, our I, one of the things they put for, you know, front and center is you know, access to the water quality of life, what it means to live in the ocean state. And you know, we're pretty proud of that.
Ashley Bennis 34:28
Yeah, definitely. I am. I can really feel that and a question for you, Susan is what do you think the Rhode Island economy would lose if the Rhode Island marine trade sector were to disappear if the value of it was not recognized and decisions were made and it's slowly just disappeared? What do you think Rhode Island would lose?
Susan Daley 34:56
Well, you know, it's one of those Things I almost couldn't imagine. But, you know, one of the things when you come to Rhode Island and in part because Narragansett Bay goes, you know, sort of right up in the middle of that what is the smallest state in the in the nation, but you know, has an amazing amount of coastline. And I think there was somewhere a funny statement that were like 3% bigger at low tide. But um, you know, if you see in the summertime, you see boats everywhere, and you see people out enjoying the water. And it part of what might disappear you is maybe less usage of the water, but it's really a year round industry. And we are a because of our geographic location, because of all the depth of the companies and their expertise. And then we have some of the best and breed companies in the world here, whether it's sailmakers, or people who run marinas magazine like, and if they weren't here, in the wintertime. The people were there bringing their boats for, to storage or repair or refits, all of that would go away the huge amount of people that are here to support the charter industry, and when people come and take their boats from here down to wherever the Caribbean or like there's a whole professional sailor component, it just it reaches in so many tentacles. That it it. You might not say wow, you'd lose this much in jobs. But you'd certainly lose that much in just uses the waterfront use of the water. The joy you get when you see people out in the water. It's sort of just goes on and on.
Ashley Bennis 36:58
Yeah, it sounds like I mean, certainly in Rhode Island, there's a lot of cultural ties to the waterfront. And that's very important, and sometimes really hard to value, but certainly an extremely important part of your state. Well, I appreciate the time that you ladies have been spending with me today. And I know we're getting getting close. So I just kind of wanted to close out thinking out loud with both of you about other states who are maybe considering going through this process of valuing their economy and trying to decide if investing the time is worth it. Do you, Jen have any advice or input that you could provide for those people on? Why that why this is so important, and how it could really help them? Yeah, I
Jen McCann 37:58
mean, um, you know, the, as we all know, from whether it be the the data from the US or even internationally, you know, we recognize that our ocean economy or blue economy is, is going to continue to grow leaps and bounds. And I think what what we're seeing in Rhode Island is that it's been it's not just one sector, it's that networked, collaborative interaction, ability, innovate amongst sectors that will grow a sustainable economy, I've heard many times, you know, um, you know, when we're, you know, with COVID, and whatnot, you know, one way of reinvigorating our economy will be the blue economy, different aspects of the blue economy, but we all need to all sectors, and including the educational system, the research, you know, programs, we all need to work together. So I think seeing your blue economy as a comprehensive network system, and being able to identify leaders within within your blue economy will help grow your state sustainably, so, but I wouldn't just look at the numbers. Again, as Susan said, you know, the numbers are important for one sector. But again, you know, I what, the best part of this report that, you know, was, again, the commitment and the and again, Susan, you said it so eloquently and you know, these tentacles, it's like goes on and on, you know, yeah, you have this these amazing job opportunities in the blue economy, but it's also where you live. I mean, in Rhode Island, you can, you know, roll out of your bed and go surfing, you know, and that's a part of blue economy and you need to remember that those aspects, not just the numbers when you're tallying up what the value of your blue economy is.
Ashley Bennis 40:06
Thank you for that. Susan, is there anything as someone who's on, you know, the private sector side? Is there anything you would like to add to that?
Susan Daley 40:13
I will, I think, again, being able to define your industry or define the blue economy or your your particular sector within it, it's very helpful to be able to have, again, not just the numbers are important, because that's what a lot of particularly state and federal agencies will be looking at. And, you know, that can be because of concerns about regulations or legislative issues or whatever. But it's also been very helpful for us in terms of being able to, to deal with funding and have partnerships with NOAA, you IRI? So, I mean, I think knowing how your industry works, and having a profile of it is pretty important and pretty helpful. Well,
Ashley Bennis 41:02
I think you've ladies have done a great job of kind of giving us a glimpse into Rhode Island, and how important the ocean is to the ocean state of the United States. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Unknown Speaker 41:18
Unknown Speaker 41:19
Thank you, the pleasure.
Ashley Bennis 41:20
Okay, great. And now we're going to move along the eastern seaboard to South Carolina and speak with my next guest, Matthew Gorcin, a coastal economic program specialist with South Carolina Sea Grant. We do love our secret programs on this show. So unlike our other guests that we had today, Susan Daly and Jen McCann, we have an actual economist here to help answer some of those questions we contemplated in the previous interview. Hi, Matt, thank you so much for joining me today.
Matthew Gorcin 41:52
Thanks, Ashley, happy to be here.
Ashley Bennis 41:54
We're so happy to have you. So Matt's work focuses on marine Resource Economics, and also includes some aspects of non market services, which I had brought up previously. And I'm excited to talk about. So, Matt, in our last interview, I had started by asking a very generalized question about the blue economy. So from your perspective, as an economist, what do you look at? And consider when you are assessing the blue economy? What is the blue economy mean to you?
Matthew Gorcin 42:28
Right? So yeah, I guess we've got a bunch of different common phrases and terms that we use. So the blue economy, to me, I think of it as it's really this concept, that's, that's defined when economic activity that's derived from the ocean is in balance with the long term capacity of the ocean to support this activity and remain resilient and healthy. So the idea is that this is a sustainable blue economy that balances the interest of marine dependent industries, as well as the conservation of the natural resources used as inputs in those industries. When measuring it commonly, you know, we look at those sort of tried and true industries, when you think of when you think of the water, such as commercial and recreational fishing, Port activity, coastal and beach tourism, and things like that. And then, as well as these non market ecosystem services that are provided by a healthy coastal ecosystem. So we've talked about habitats like wetlands, and sand dunes and oyster reefs that provide valuable economic benefits to coastal communities as well.
Ashley Bennis 43:37
I know in our previous discussion, you had talked about that you have been with the Sea Grant for about two years now. And one of the first things that you did being brought on was a report assessing South Carolina's ocean economy. And before we talk about that, I just wanted to you know, ask if you had any idea about how, how was the South Carolina blue economy historically been? How has the South Carolina blue economy historically been valued? And what innovations are you using to think about value valuing it now? So essentially, like what's what What did it look like before and what's changed?
Matthew Gorcin 44:22
Right? And so I guess, yeah, jumping off what I said prior. So typically, you know, commercial fishing and ports are the big ones when when people think of the blue economy, tourism is a big one as well. Of course, the can sometimes be difficult to parse out tourism that's dependent upon the blue economy from other sorts of tourism as well. And also in some states, recreational fishing is just as big if not bigger of an economic driver than commercial fishing, when you consider you know, boat gear equipment purchases and charter operations and things like that. But I would say a big issue for me is the inclusion These non market economic benefits and in trying to assess and measure the blue economy. Um, so when I talk about non market economic benefits, really what I'm referring to is economic activity that does not have market transactions and therefore does not typically have a price associated with it. So the benefits that a healthy coastal ecosystem provide while it's, you know, fishing grounds and excellent recreation space, these other benefits, which we also refer to as ecosystem services, so they can both be, they can be both market based and non market based benefits. So like an example of a market based ecosystem service would be commercial fishing. So we have a price associated with the fish. And we can use that to estimate the value of this food provisioning ecosystem service. But non market benefits include things like coastal protection that's provided by natural habitats when they suck up flood water or reduce wave energy, they can also include carbon storage benefits, so when coastal habitats like wetlands sequester carbon, and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. And so I think acknowledging these non market benefits as additional economic drivers on top of the market, ones that we normally think of, is important for sort of understanding the entirety of the blue economy, to having this more holistic understanding of how natural resources can provide valuable economic benefits when kept in healthy condition.
Ashley Bennis 46:26
And I'm so glad you brought that out, because I am excited to talk about that a little later on in this interview. But so income in writing and starting your position and looking at assessing South Carolina's ocean economy, Was this something that you know, you were gung ho about, or Sea Grant program really wanted to do? Or were there other people who are just kind of pushing for this to happen?
Matthew Gorcin 46:54
So it's a little bit of all of the above. So when I came into this role, it was a priority for for South Carolina Sea Grant to produce this sort of information. And the reason why it was a priority is because all of our priorities are stakeholder and community driven. So this is the type of data and information that our constituents and stakeholders were asking for, you know, people ask, what's the value of fishing here? How can I value my beach, and those sorts of things. Also, it's certainly an interest of mine, coming from my background as a natural resource economist. And so what I set out to do was to basically create a sort of one stop shop for any and all data and information related to South Carolina's ocean economy. So this is meant to be a synthesis of all the data and publications that I can find that addressed all of these sectors that we consider in the ocean economy.
Ashley Bennis 47:51
That sounds like a heavy lift. So I mean, in your prime, if you wouldn't mind taking us through that process a little bit. I mean, where do you even start in that? And where do you look for the data?
Matthew Gorcin 48:05
Sure. And so that's a great question. The first thing I started with, with federal agencies, so things like NOAA office for coastal management, they have the economics natural ocean watch data, the email data, which is a standardized time series that tracks economic activity in the what they can, what they define as the ocean economy, and these six sectors of living resources, marine transportation, marine construction, ship and boat building, tourism, recreation and offshore mineral extraction. So starting with NOAA, and then moving also into NOAA Fisheries Service, where they track commercial fishery landings, recreational economic impact expenditures. There's also port economic activity data can be found at the US Census Bureau, through their USA trade online statistics. And then after moving through federal agencies, of course, there's also the the USDA, they do a Census of Agriculture every five years. So that's also a valuable data source, as well. After the federal agencies and sort of getting all the data I could from them, I then moved on to state agencies. So things like our State Department of Natural Resources, our State Department of Parks, Recreation, and tourism, our office for coastal and ocean resource management. So they had a wide variety of more, I guess, some more detailed data, right, that can drill down into these into localities into state levels, things that sometimes, you know, the federal data isn't meant to address. And while the federal data can give this high level, you know, overview and you can look at trends, it's also useful to see what's available locally at your state or at your municipality, and glean data from those sources as well. Sometimes the data Anything that you can get from the state or local officials will be more recent than some of the federal data as it takes time to curate and QA, QA QC all that data until it's available. And then after the state agencies, I moved into peer reviewed literature, and then also grey literature, technical reports, to look at any sort of one off studies that were done that estimated or measured any part of what we would consider to be in the ocean economy.
Ashley Bennis 50:27
I don't think I was expecting quite that much. But I know with Jen and Susan, I talked about that, you know, data. And would you say that it's, it's it for states and municipalities that are looking to undertake this work? Would you say that that's a great way to start, maybe start from that upper level? And then as you said, all of those other resources are how you get a better, more clear picture of what's going on in the waterfront?
Matthew Gorcin 50:58
Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I think it's definitely an excellent place to start the data. It's available at national, state and county levels. They've also added data on self employed workers. So not only does it track jobs and income related to people that work at establishments, but it also tracks the number of self employed workers that are working in the ocean economy, which is especially of interest in the living marine resources sector, where we have a lot of operations that are sole proprietorships. So the fact that you're able to get an idea of that of those self employed workers, and the revenue generated by them is also a great addition.
Ashley Bennis 51:39
So, you know, it sounds like you, you got in the thick of it, really with this report. And so as a result of all that work and background research, can you give us a lot of us who maybe have never been to South Carolina, or have don't live there, kind of paint us a picture of what the major economic features of South Carolina's blue economy are? more so in like the geographic regions as far as like from north to south, like, these are the features you'll find on the waterfront rather than just sector?
Matthew Gorcin 52:17
Yeah, sure. So and South Carolina, so I'll start north to south, you know, up in the north, we have the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand area, which is a big driver of tourism in the States. I don't have the the county data in front of me but I do know that two thirds of all the visitor expenditures in South Carolina occur and the eight coastal counties and then the other third occur in the other 38 counties. So it indicates that the coastal areas a big driver of tourism in the state, certainly we see that a lot in Myrtle Beach where they have lots of beaches, hotels, seafood restaurants, golfing is a big deal up there as well. As you move south down the coast into murrells inlet. There's there's some working waterfront there, where we there's shrimp docks, seafood docks, waterfront restaurants, boat ramps, and these sorts of things. It gets a little more rural as you go into Georgetown county and then down into Charleston county up in the north part of Charleston County, just south of Georgetown. We have McClellan Ville, which is a small fishing town that actually takes in a lot of the shrimp that that comes into South Carolina, they have a working waterfront there and McClellan Ville that that Sea Grant is, is helping with the sort of strategizing on what the future of that working waterfront looks like. You can get, you know, all kinds of really good fresh seafood up in there. And then as you move down into the Charleston area, you have the sort of people come here for the history, the architecture, and then also for for the fresh seafood as well so plenty of restaurants you know, it's like a big Food Tourism town now. Local oysters are a big deal and really are in high demand for for people that are eating out around town here. And that's where I live is in the Charleston area. But as you move south into Buford gets a little more rural again, that's where we have a lot of our shellfish aquaculture operations our are going to be in that Buford area. There's also a big local food scene down there. And then south of there is Hilton Head Island, which is again, a big tourism golf area, not as heavily populated as Myrtle Beach but still a pretty popular area just north of Savannah. That's kind of the rundown of the coast. I probably missed a lot of good stuff, but that's a short one of it.
Ashley Bennis 54:44
Now, I think that was a great, that was a great overview. I mean, it certainly makes me want to visit because there's a lot going on there. And I'm interested in what you said about McLoughlin Ville and and see grant working with them. It sounds like the to help them like value and assess The well i think it's
Matthew Gorcin 55:01
it's Yeah, it's it's seen as a real cultural asset in the community and the community has a rich history and maritime heritage and and shrimping and all kinds of, you know, sort of Waterman related activities. But so there's, there's a business there that the owner is getting a little older, and we're basically trying to help them come up with a plan so that the waterfront stays in its, I don't want to say in its current form, but in a form to where the docks can be used as a working waterfront that the shrimpers can drop off their catch. There's, there's lots of there's development pressure, and you know, certainly recognize the economic potential of development, but it's a community there wants to sort of maintain their culture and the character of that working waterfront and access to that working waterfront so that they're sort of their heritage can be maintained, and so that different pressures, and you know, development of that kind of thing doesn't block off access to that working waterfront, for the fishermen in the community.
Ashley Bennis 56:06
That's what I mean, that's really one of the biggest reasons why we started doing this podcast series is just a highlight those things, and I'm so glad you, you put it into words. And so I would imagine a report, like the one you complete, it could be helpful for that community to you know, look, there's, there's, you know, not only cultural value here, but economic value that we should certainly not ignore. So that's wonderful. Um, so and as you earlier in you were talking about the tourism, so according to the report, tourism and recreation of the ocean sector, their makeup 87%, which indicates it's a driving sector there. So what are the some ways elected officials can use this information to make decisions about future planning? Like, you know, for instance, you know, building housing or development? Is there any examples you can think of? To answer that?
Matthew Gorcin 57:05
So, yeah, tourism is definitely a big driver of the ocean economy here in the order of billions of dollars. So in having some, you know, conversations with some of our contacts at the the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and tourism, you know, their position is sort of that, you know, the natural beauty is an economic asset to South Carolina that helps the state compete with with other tourism destinations. So that's to say, you know, a good, a good amount of our visitors come here for natural beauty, outdoor recreation, rural character, and marine activities. And so, you know, healthy wide beaches, clean waterways, scenic views that are that are unobstructed by big development. And that's, you know, maritime cultural heritage, that can be drivers of tourism dollars in South Carolina. So really, you know, the state has a vested interest in environmental conservation, to ensure that this economic activity is sort of realized into the future. So you know, knowing what, from a transportation perspective, like you alluded to, like knowing what routes are heavily trafficked by both in state and out of state visitors that can help the State Department of Transportation prioritize different roads for maintenance. And as I mentioned before, there's also this sort of this burgeoning food tourism sector in South Carolina, especially in Charleston and the low country area, so people want to come here, they want to eat fresh seafood, like oysters and shrimp and crabs and fodder and snapper. And so ensuring that there's, you know, this ample working waterfront space for local Fishers and harvesters to offload their catch, so that it's available to restaurants is important for meeting the demand of all these food tourists who want to eat local seafood. And so as of course, as local restaurants serve more local seafood, more of that economic value is retained in the community as well. And then, you know, a valuable source of working waterfront space can help ensure this local economic stimulus.
Ashley Bennis 58:55
And I mean, I know here in Texas, a lot of our coast depends on tourism, and certainly through COVID-19 and the obstacles of the pandemic over the last year, we've seen a lot of downfalls, but just it sounds like No, I mean, having a good assessment of those answers, like you were saying, like, where do they travel? And where are they hanging out with could help community or estate plan for these obstacles that that have been faced through COVID-19? So I want to get into one of my favorite topics, which is the non market value that you had mentioned earlier. Was this. So just to jump off, including non market values into your report? Was that something that was kind of your idea, or where did that idea come from? Because I know here in Texas, we've been struggling with that question a lot and figuring out how to value it too. And so it's not a conflict. In a lot of our reports, and when I spoke with them in Rhode Island, that's not something they included as well. So what was the motivation behind including those aspects?
Matthew Gorcin 1:00:08
Yeah, so that was sort of my idea to include. So a lot of the reports that I had read, acknowledged ecosystem services in a qualitative way and sort of acknowledging that there's more economic potential here that we're not addressing in this report. So I wanted to at least make an attempt to estimate economic benefits for ecosystem services in South Carolina, where it might be appropriate to do so. And by appropriate I mean, like, where we have enough data information, peer reviewed literature, to estimate values for these things. So what I did, I didn't do any, you know, primary data collection for the estimates that that I put into the report. But it was really a literature review, and what economists call a benefit transfer. So where I was looking for any studies that were done in South Carolina, that estimated values for ecosystem services for coastal habitats here. And so I restricted the geography to South Carolina, you know, I restricted the the habitats to what we have here, and then did a review of the literature to find ecosystem benefits, ecosystem service benefits that I could then transfer into values for this report. So a couple of things we looked at, were coastal protection benefits provided by wetlands. So there was a 2020 study that was done that we cited to you to find values for that we, we use some literature on carbon sequestration rates in South Carolina, and then also use the Environmental Protection Agency's social cost of carbon to estimate the carbon storage, economic benefits that wetlands provide. There were some studies that looked at how healthy and wide beaches can enhance property values on Hilton Head Island and south carolina. So we use that study as well. It was certainly not an exhaustive ecosystem service valuation effort, it was really just where we were confident that we had, you know, defensible, robust values. So most of the ecosystem services went on estimated in the report, I would say, you know, we have this vast array of other services that we just don't have enough data and information in South Carolina to come up with values for in a benefit transfer fashion. So really, I mean, we need more primary data collection studies to get at those values, which we're hoping to do more of in the future. Certainly,
Ashley Bennis 1:02:44
that was great. And I agree with you. And I think that's something that Sea Grant nationally is is kind of assessing more so is how do we value these and I know one things that, for example, like wetlands, they can, you know, absorb water and release it back slowly, they can help with wave action attenuation. And so in assessing some of the benefits of that, do you did you look at or is looking at, like damage avoided, like for all the properties and housing behind it, like that was also something a part of it?
Matthew Gorcin 1:03:23
Yeah. So typically, when you look at coastal protection value, the damage is avoided method is kind of one of the go twos. So the study that we relied on for estimating this ecosystem service benefit was a 2020 study. And it was done by son and Carson. And it actually derived estimates for a bunch of coastal counties along the eastern seaboard. I don't I don't know if it made its way into the Gulf. So I apologize to Texas. But that actually, the The study found that coastal protection benefits can range from 1500 to $17,000 per hectare per year, depending on the county in South Carolina, specifically. And actually, when when multiplied by the area of wetlands in South Carolina, based on the national wetlands inventory, the total economic benefits of coastal protection provided by wetlands in South Carolina is estimated at just over $3.9 billion per year. So, you know, we see these, these pretty substantial, you know, economic benefit estimates, when we look at, you know, this natural capital, that that's sitting out there, that the wetlands that are present that that help attenuate that wave energy and help store floodwaters and, and minimize property damage.
Ashley Bennis 1:04:39
So, a report like this, and studies like that can can certainly show that there there is some value in not developing land, right?
Matthew Gorcin 1:04:50
Yeah. Yeah, certainly. I mean, so the non market things that those benefits I think, are important to take into account for any sort of cost benefit analysis, when you're evaluating different options for land use, whether this is adapt adaptation to climate change, or whether it's, you know, deciding whether or not to develop an area or where to develop an area.
Ashley Bennis 1:05:12
That's, and for our audience members. The the name of the report, again, is assessing South Carolina's ocean economy, and it is available for the public. And a lot of the studies that Matt is talking about right now are in the appendix and in there, so if you are interested, or want to get like a start on how to do that, I highly recommend that you visit that report. It's really it's incredible. I enjoyed reading it. Um, so some things. So if this, you know, kind of like an overall like thinking about the report and stuff, if states aren't, you know, valuing their blue economy or if decision makers aren't, you know, looking at that, what can you speak to what opportunities could be missed? as to not valuing?
Matthew Gorcin 1:05:59
Yeah, sure. So, I mean, we this, this is discussed in the report a little bit, but so when you measure and assess the trends the size of the ocean economy, it allows decision makers to evaluate this economic activity in the ocean economy sectors relative to other sectors that we always think of like manufacturing and construction and textiles and finance. So I would say if you if the ocean economy is not considered, or if it's overlooked, you know, that we risk missing opportunities to foster collaboration between will even within the ocean economy sectors, and also fostering collaboration between ocean economy and non ocean economy sectors. There's also could be potential missed opportunities to develop this coordinated policy vision for supporting sustainable economic growth across all industries. And so, since the ocean economy depends on natural resources as inputs, right, we need fish to catch that we need a healthy beach to recreate on. By coupling these economic data with ecological data concerning these natural resource inputs. decision makers can identify ways to sort of strike that sustainable balance between conservation and economic activity, especially in an era of climate change. And then one other thing I'll add is in terms of tracking the ocean economy, for South Carolina, ocean economy has actually grown at a faster rate than the economy as a whole since the end of the great recession in 2009. So in real dollars, and inflation adjusted dollars, the ocean economy has grown 53% in South Carolina between 22,009 and 2017, compared to just 22%, for the state of South Carolina as a whole. So what this suggests is that the ocean economy has been of some importance and South Carolina's recovery from the recession and investing in those economy to foster this sustainable growth that also ensures natural resource health can be seen as good as a good investment by elected officials. Yeah,
Ashley Bennis 1:08:01
if that isn't a ringing endorsement. I don't know what is I do you know, I'm just a fan. It's okay. If you don't, if that's like the general trend for the whole country, if the ocean economy seems to be growing at a faster rate than the overall GDP? That's Yeah,
Matthew Gorcin 1:08:19
that is the case nationally as well.
Ashley Bennis 1:08:22
That's excellent. Yeah. So I mean, looking ahead, what sectors Did you find part in South Carolina are projected for growth? Or what what are you guys looking ahead to?
Matthew Gorcin 1:08:34
Yeah, sure. Um, so a couple things that that jumped out. So the first thing that I talked about in that report is sort of what you know, the future of South Carolina's ocean economy was oyster mariculture clam mariculture. So, in South Carolina, this is a pretty rapidly growing industry. It's still small compared to a lot of other states north of us have, but it is growing. So actually, the inflation adjusted dockside value of oyster mariculture in South Carolina has grown from about $31,000 in 2012, to about $950,000 in 2019. So really big increase over the course of seven years. And actually, about a year ago, the state of South Carolina lifted a moratorium on importing oyster seed north of the state. So for a few years, there was a moratorium on importing any oyster seed north of South Carolina over concerns about disease transfer, but that moratorium was lifted. So this could bode well for future industry growth in this industry is also a good one to point out for the valuable ecosystem service benefits provided by growing oysters in the waterways as well. So Water Quality Enhancement, shoreline stabilization, you know, of course, we have to acknowledge competing uses of waterways. So, you know, oyster mariculture while it's a growing industry, it may not be suitable in every area, but it is a an industry that connects pretty deeply to the culture of South Carolina and the waterfront. There's also of course, offshore energy. So actually, according to a 2016 report by the National Renewable Energy Lab, South Carolina has the six highest offshore wind energy potential in the United States. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified wind energy call areas off the South Carolina coast. That was done a few years ago and development of offshore wind farms has not yet begun in the state. But we there has there is economic potential for this. I cited a study that was done by Clemson University in the report for those who would like to read a little further. But the last thing I'll talk about for growth sectors nature based tourism is another one worth mentioning, especially in a post COVID reality where people want to spend more time in an outdoor setting that's deemed to be more safe as we do we still navigate our way through this pandemic. So nature based tourism is broad term with sort of a debated definition. But it covers tourism experiences centered on wild or natural environments. There's also the subset of nature based tourism, which we call eco tourism, which is looked at more as non extractive minimally invasive, sustainable activities that are centered around the appreciation of nature, that are also meant to empower, you know, the host communities that manage the areas. And a recent study that was sponsored by Sea Grant estimated that between seven and 14% of coastal county visitor expenditures can be attributed to nature based tourism. So that's one where we might see some growth in the coming years as well as people want to spend more time doing activities outside.
Ashley Bennis 1:11:38
Yeah. Lastly, look, look forward to that's exciting. I love that about nature based tourism. I know in Texas, we finally a couple of years ago passed legislature so we can do oyster aquaculture and start getting that going. So we're ramping up there, and we're pretty excited about it. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me, Matt, I was just thinking about I know, you know, being more inclusive and stuff is something that see grant programs have been trying to consider and was this report like, aspects of this report? Or did was there strategies that you did to make this report more accessible? I mean, I know for decision makers, it's very important, but for the public in general, or even taking pride in their state, like, were there ways you tried to make this more accessible to the public?
Matthew Gorcin 1:12:30
Yeah, so there's actually an infographic that accompanies the reports that's also that can be found on our website, South Carolina's sec, grant.org. There's a landing page for the report where you can access the PDF, and there's also this infographic that is really just a high level overview of the direct economic contributions based on the email data. And then the nuts and bolts and all the all the details and citations are in the report. But so the infographic is nice to pass around and conferences, it's nice to give to the state legislature representatives and things like that. And then for those who want to read the whole report, you know, we've printed copies of those as well. And everything is 508 compliant on the website. So if you have vision or hearing disabilities, you should be able to consume the content as well.
Ashley Bennis 1:13:19
That's Yeah, that's I said, we're considering infographics, because I know that's helpful for people who don't have, you know, a level of, you know, reading for reports and stuff reading level, so it can be great. But for you, Matt, what are what are you looking ahead to what's what's in the future for you? What's next?
Matthew Gorcin 1:13:39
It's a good question. So we've been doing lots of grant proposals, really. So we are done with at least the McClellan Ville front. So we're hoping to, we want to put together a feasibility study or to a business plan really to help them make the best decision on a Fisheries and Aquaculture training center. So there's, as I kind of alluded to that earlier, there's issues with not so young fishermen aren't entering the industry like they were in the past. So we're looking at ways in which we can provide opportunities, educational workforce training opportunities for people who want to get into fisheries or apiculture industry. And so that kind of continues the work we've been doing with the McConville working waterfront stuff. Also, what we're working on is working more with our diverse and underserved communities, and building capacity in some organizations to help them obtain eligibility to get federal funding. So helping people incorporate as nonprofits and register on grants.gov so that they can go after federal funds and we've been helping nonprofit organizations develop grant proposals. To help them address environmental justice concerns and their communities. So really a lot of that, and I keep, you know, obviously keep tracking and monitoring the ocean economy data, there will be there should be a, an update to the report in a couple years we plan on doing it. We've said to do it every other year. So that would be 2022 would be the next update. Yeah, really just a lot of a lot of different stuff going on
Ashley Bennis 1:15:26
Unknown Speaker 1:15:27
That's for sure.
Ashley Bennis 1:15:27
Yeah, I know. I look forward to that update. And I look forward to maybe talking to you more about how the report has been used. I know it recently just came out. So it's hard to say that yet. But it that'll be interesting. Well, thank you so much. And and for, again, for our audience. The report is assessing South Carolina's ocean economy. So I had to look through my notes. And, and I'll provide some information about the email data and how it's publicly available. Great, great resource to start with. Matt, thank you so much for joining us. It was great talking to you.
Matthew Gorcin 1:16:03
Thanks, Ashley. It was a pleasure.
Ashley Bennis 1:16:05
Thank you for listening all the way to the end of this episode of the national working waterfront podcast. The two reports we talked about today are available online. So please go check those out if you're interested. And be sure to subscribe to the American shoreline Podcast Network to get this and all of the other great shows available for free wherever you get your pods. Have a great day.
Ashley Bennis is a Michigan native that grew up in Metro Detroit and received her Bacherlors of Art from Wayne State University. Bennis began volunteering with nonprofits in the city and became very involved in the community revitalization happening there through coordinated public outreach and education efforts. She earned her master’s degree in Urban Design and Planning with a specialty in Environmental Planning from the University of Washington in 2016. While there she worked as a Research Assistant with the Institute for Hazard Mitigation, Planning and Research, an interdisciplinary team focused on helping communities plan for hazard events. The purpose of her project was to improve visual representations of FEMA’s revised floodplain maps to help with their usefulness and effectiveness for residents in flood prone areas. In the winter of 2018, she joined Texas Sea Grant as a planning specialist with the Community Resilience Collaborative, a partnership of Texas Sea Grant and the Texas Target Communities program in Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture. Her primary responsibility is to provide technical assistance to Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley coastal communities in land use planning and hazard mitigation.