Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation

Congress on Harnessing Big Data for the Environment

December 6-7, 2016
Washington, D.C.

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The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) recognizes that sustaining the Earth's renewable resource base will require a collaborative approach to problem solving by disciplines representing engineering, design, and the biological, physical and social sciences.

The mission of the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation is to advance the application of science in decision-making, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and educate policymakers and the public on managing and conserving renewable natural resources.


Round Table on the Smart Grid

The Brattle Group hosted RNRF’s Washington Round Table on Public Policy at its Washington, D.C. office on April 20, 2016. Heidi Bishop, a senior policy and marketing analyst, discussed the status of smart grid development, renewable energy trends, and the integration of renewables into smart grids.

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New on RNRF Blog

Draft NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

On June 1, 2016, NOAA released a draft Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap, the first of its kind. The strategy seeks to ensure that NOAA is more comprehensively addressing noise impacts to aquatic species and their habitat over the next decade. The document summarizes the status of the science to support the Ocean Noise Strategy’s goals, details relevant NOAA management and science capacities, and recommends cross-agency actions that could be taken to achieve more comprehensive management of noise impacts.

As the roadmap states:

“Increasing human activity, along more of the earth’s coastlines and extending farther offshore in deep ocean environments, is leading to rising levels of underwater noise. Increasing noise levels are impacting the animals and ecosystems that inhabit these places in complex ways, including through acute, chronic, and cumulative effects…Numerous studies illustrate specific adverse physical and behavioral effects that exposure to certain sound types and levels can have on different species. Additionally, sound is a fundamental component of the physical and biological habitat that many aquatic animals and ecosystems have evolved to rely on over millions of years. In just the last ~100 years, human activities have caused large increases in noise and changes in soundscapes. These changes can lead to reduced ability to detect and interpret environmental cues that animals use to select mates, find food, maintain group structure and relationships, avoid predators, navigate, and perform other critical life functions.”

Read more about NOAA's Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap on RNRF's blog, The Renewable Resources Report.


Renewable Resources Journal
Volume 30 Number 2

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An Assessment of Aquifer Water Quality
About 80 billion gallons of water is pumped from U.S. aquifers daily. Groundwater provides one-third of the water that is pumped by public supply systems to provide the water used in homes, schools, and businesses in cities and towns. Overall, about 130 million people currently get their drinking water from groundwater. Identifying trends in groundwater quality and investigating their causes is essential to helping water managers prepare for the future. This article discusses the various contaminants in groundwater that have human-health and ecological consequences.

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity
The rate of ocean acidification that we have experienced since pre-industrial times and its projected continuation are potentially unparalleled in the last 300 million years of Earth’s history. As such, current ocean acidification represents a new and unprecedented chapter of marine ecosystem change that seems very likely to have a significant impact on marine species and ecosystems, various industries and communities, and global food security. This article provides an overview of the most up-to-date information on the impacts of ocean acidification on biodiversity. 

Deforestation Fronts
Deforestation is driven by demand for food, fuel, and fiber; pollution; human-induced disturbances; and invasive species, among other factors. This degradation leads to ecologically simplified, less resilient, and less productive forests. This article highlights three deforestation fronts—the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and the Greater Mekong—to illustrate the state and drivers of deforestation. Reversing deforestation fronts will require measures to remedy the fundamental market and governance failures that drive poor land-use choices and practices.


2016 Award Winners Announced

Summaries of presentations, findings, and recommendations from the Congress on Sustaining Western Water are presented in a special edition of the Renewable Resources Journal available here.


For 50 years, the Land & Water Conservation Fund has safeguarded natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage. After allowing funding for the program to expire on September 30, 2015, Congress issued a three-year reauthorization of the fund on December 16, 2015. The program will be funded at $450 million in 2016, a 50% increase over 2015 funding levels. Click here for more information about this valuable program.

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