By Jennifer Lonergan
During the Spring of 2011, Virginia Sea Grant continued its Coastal and Marine Law & Policy Internship. This year’s interns, second year William & Mary law students Jennifer Lonergan and Ryan Stephens, have been working on creating a comprehensive list of state, local, and federal officials who are important to marine spatial planning on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This has involved building from the work of past interns, who began a database of contact names, email addresses, and phone numbers of people in Eastern Shore communities, Virginia State Government, and relevant federal agencies. Jennifer and Ryan identified relevant local officials, state agencies, and federal officials in order to find key players in the region who could be instrumental in the implementation of marine spatial planning. “This project has given me substantial insight into all of the different interests involved in policy decisions,” says Ryan. Ryan and Jennifer are both returning to their studies at William & Mary after the completion of the internship.
The information the interns gathered this spring will eventually be used in the creation of a communication network map: a visual representation of the work and social relationships between the people on the list. This will allow people working to implement marine spatial planning in Virginia to see who they should be in touch with if they want to disseminate information, find out what public opinion is on a particular topic, or just keep their finger on the pulse of the community as new management schemes are introduced.