Inquiry in a Culture of Consensus: Science and Management for the Chesapeake Bay
Maryland Sea Grant
William Matuszeski examines efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and what is at times an uncomfortable relationship between scientists and managers. He notes how "sound science" can be used as a compass to guide restoration efforts or as a label to pay lip service. In some quarters, he says, the notion of "sound science" has even been used to stall environmental efforts.
He argues that the Chesapeake region benefits from a cadre of world-class researchers, but that there can be a mismatch between the rapid demands of political pressure and the much slower pace of scientific inquiry. He points to several examples and in each case suggests whether it was science or politics that won.
Matuszeski draws on long years as a Bay manager — he served in a number of capacities at the federal government and was Director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program from 1991 - 2001. He concludes that managers have no choice but to depend on scientists for the best information possible. There are, he says, few other places where the interplay between land use, runoff, and coastal waters is so well studied. In the end he describes a management approach that accommodates a dramatic tension between science and management, and ultimately benefits from it.