Effecting the changes needed to bring about Ecosystem-based Management will require investment in new areas. Investment priorities include:
Citizen-science regional workshops: New efforts are needed to make science more useful and usable to the natural resource and environment-related needs of Minnesota's citizens. A series of place-based workshops is proposed to bring together citizens, policy makers, and resource professionals to: 1) evaluate environmental and economic changes, 2) gain "systems" understanding of social, economic and ecological interdependencies, and 3) develop innovative ways to manage for sustainability.
Ecosystem-based environmental indicators and performance measures: The Minnesota Environmental Indicators Initiative is the first statewide framework for effective collection, interpretation, and presentation of ecosystem health status and trends. Additional investments are needed to implement ecoregion workshops that bring citizens and monitoring professionals together to come to common understanding of the interpretation of environmental indicators and their relationship to public environmental health goals. Investments are needed to link environmental indicators to performance measures in order to evaluate effectiveness of natural resource management programs.
Integrated information systems: Information systems are needed that better integrate social, economic and environmental information in a manner that supports Ecosystem-based Management. Investments are needed to link existing data bases and create widespread access to information about Minnesota's ecosystems and their response to use.
Public outreach: A solid education and communication foundation is key to understanding of the ecosystem-based management approach. Additional resources are needed to integrate existing resource information and translate information into understandable language that bridges scientists, managers, and the public. Public outreach methods need to be created to use these products to expand the public's knowledge base on ecosystems and create more opportunities for citizen participation and hands-on learning experiences.
Community environmental assistance: Investments are needed to accelerate establishment of regional positions to fill existing gaps in technical expertise. Regional ecologists are needed to work closely with traditional disciplines, citizen groups, and local units of government to incorporate ecological information into local and regional planning and management efforts. Watershed coordinators are needed to meet demands for creating community-based comprehensive watershed plans.