Researcher in Profile: Sondra Eger

Sondra Eger is a PhD candidate in her fourth year at the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She is a member of OceanCanada’s Atlantic Working Group and crosscutting Governance theme. She is currently co-leading a chapter on ‘bright spots’ in integrated management with Rob Stephenson (edited by Derek Armitage) for the forthcoming OceanCanada book highlighting member research. As a multitude of activities continue to have negative cumulative impacts on coastal and marine social-ecological systems, Sondra is committed to investigating how to move beyond conventional approaches to governing coastal and marine activities and to move towards the sustainable and just use of coastal and marine resources. In particular, she is motivated to advance collaborative, multi-actor governance with Indigenous and state authorities, coastal communities, industry and non-governmental actor groups and to connect local narratives to higher level policies and priorities, to improve the understanding and management of complex social and ecological marine systems.

Her doctoral research critically examines integrated management interventions at the international, regional and local scale. Using the empirical context of the Bay of Fundy, Sondra carried out data collection for her doctoral research as a Huntsman Marine Science Centre Visiting Research Fellow based in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and with the collaboration of local organizations and institutions. Her work underscores the importance and need for better integrating knowledge and objectives across activities and governing authorities as well as highlights main challenges from study participants’ lived experiences. Through this work Sondra aims to offer key management, policy, and user-based recommendations to improve the operationalization of responsible integrated management interventions.

This past March, as a Flaherty Research Scholar with the Ireland Canada University Foundation, Sondra was hosted by Wesley Flannery and his research group at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she further developed a critical view of integrated governance and management interventions. While on the Emerald Isle, she also participated in an annual meeting of ICES Marine Spatial Planning and Coastal Zone Management Working Group at the Marine Institute in Galway. Recently, she co-led a ‘facilitating engagement’ workshop at the Canadian Water Resources Association Conference to emphasize the value of building relationships between different sectors and to provide practical tools for integrating objectives at the organizational and project level. This year Sondra also presented some of her findings within Stream 3: Governing, steering, and managing coasts and oceans at MARE: People and the Sea X Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She continues to assist in coordinating the Student Leadership Committee of the Canadian Rivers Institute to support interdisciplinary researchers and remains active in other networks and organizations (e.g., Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership, University of Waterloo Graduate Student
Association, MarSocSci).