MARCO Management Board Member Spotlight – Casey Nolan, Maryland Representative
As part of an effort to help MARCO stakeholders and partners get to know members of the MARCO Management Board, the quarterly newsletter has added a new feature – “Spotlight on a Management Board Member.” This month’s spotlight is on the representative from Maryland, Casey Nolan.
What is your name? Casey Nolan
What is your work title? Coastal & Oceans Resource Planner
What organization do you work for? Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake & Coastal Service
How many years have you served on the MARCO Management Board? Approximately two months in an official capacity, though I’ve been an active participant for seven months.
What is your role on the Management Board? Maryland Representative
What MARCO workgroups do you participate in? I am currently focused on the Offshore Renewable Energy workgroup but plan to join the Ocean Acidification team soon.
What are your daily job duties? My work advances the state’s management of ocean resources via coordination and partnerships with other states and through research project development. These involve short- and long-term goals so each day is different. One day I’m working to implement a research initiative, the next I’m collaborating with neighboring states on issues of regional importance, then the next I could be in the field. This is one of my favorite aspects of my position – that it is never monotonous.
What are the most fun and the most challenging parts of your job? The aspect that is most fun is also the most challenging: there is no manual for how to address ocean resource dilemmas. These are inherently complex, multidisciplinary, and often novel issues. Further still, most of the issues are not necessarily “solvable” and instead require continuous adaptation to changing circumstances. In other words, there’s no finish line.
Why did you get involved in ocean resource management? Well, my brilliant plan to hit the lottery as soon as I turned 18 did not pan out, so I had to work. I grew up chasing striped bass and blue crabs around the Chesapeake and the coast, so that is where my early interest in all things coastal/ocean originated. That’s about as “Maryland” of an answer as you can get! I gravitated towards science in school and by luck I found myself surrounded by great professors and advisors who I credit with exposing me to specific career paths in applied science and management.
What is the most pressing ocean resource issue in your state? Good question. In terms of time-sensitive issues, the responsible development of renewable energy is a timely issue given the momentum that already exists offshore. Understanding those trade-offs is certainly pressing. In terms of severity, climate impacts will (and in many cases already are) resulting in significant changes in our coastal and ocean environments. Warming waters and acidification will change ecological communities, which will have direct and indirect consequences to economic, social, and policy sectors.
What is your hope for the future of ocean resource management? That we rise to the occasion. Growing resource demands coupled with the climate impacts we are facing will present profound challenges and new opportunities. I hope that we continue to prioritize interdisciplinary frameworks and strengthen the coordination among managers. Addressing issues on a large spatial scale will require nothing less.