Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf

September 2015

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Public Comment Period Closes
Draft Funded Priorities List will be approved later this year 
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) recently completed a series of public meetings across the five Gulf States, intended to educate the public and receive comment on its Initial Draft Funded Priorities List (draft FPL).
The draft FPL proposes to fund approximately $139.6 million in restoration projects focusing on 10  key watersheds. The projects include restoration and conservation of habitats, restoring wetlands, improving water quality, advancing comprehensive restoration, and investing in gulf-wide science, coordination and planning programs.
The projects in the draft FPL are broken into two categories. Category 1 projects have completed all applicable environmental laws, and include planning and on the ground restoration activities. Category 2 projects are being prioritized for further review and potential future funding. These projects still require additional analysis, including environmental compliance.
The projects are highly leveraged. If all Category 1 and Category 2 activities were fully implemented, the draft FPL would build upon or leverage approximately $1.27 billion additional restoration investments; meaning that every $1 the Council spends on Bucket 2 activities would build upon $7 of prior, concurrent or future investments.
The public comment period for the draft FPL concluded on Sept. 28, 2015. The Council plans to hold a public meeting to approve the FPL later this year. For more information visit

By Kendra Parson
Director of External Affairs
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Miscellaneous Highlights

Big Data and the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative The NGoM Sentinel Site Cooperative has started a newsletter, the Cooperative Ternary. #BigData is all the rage. Get information on sea-level rise research and tools, upcoming meetings, and relevant funding opportunities. 

Environmental Law Institute Gulf Restoration Educational Materials ELI has developed a set of educational materials on Gulf restoration. These short, easy-to-understand materials are targeted at people who are unfamiliar with the restoration processes. The materials should be useful to community leaders and groups in their education and outreach efforts surrounding the BP oil spill.

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Webinar
The NAS Gulf Research Program will hold an informational webinar on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 about 2014-2015 accomplishments and a preview of 2016 funding opportunities. Registration is required to attend the webinar, which begins at 1:00pm EDT and will last about an hour. They look forward to providing an overview of program's annual report, highlighting 2015 fellows and grantees, and answering your questions about program activities and future funding opportunities.

Take A Paleobiology Survey
Cornell University researchers are conducting a survey. To better understand how conservation paleobiology can maximize its potential, coastal marine biologists will answer questions such as: how is 'long-term' defined within the marine conservation community; what types of 'long-term' records do marine conservation biologists use; and, what are the shortcomings of long-term data. The survey will be active from September 15, 2015 to October 31, 2015. Access it at with username: LTDsurvey and password: ocean2015. 

Scroll through our October events calendar for these and other activities on our website. Send in your workshops, trainings, meetings, conferences, and other notables for inclusion on our events page.

Blue Carbon Workshops
The workshops titled "A management tool for the conservation and restoration of coastal wetlands," are planned for Florida (Oct. 22), and Texas (Nov. 5). Regional Coastal Training Program workshops can be found on their website.     
NGoM Sentinel Site Coordination: Salinity, Sea-Level Rise, and Oysters - October 13, 1:00pm CDT
Climate Central: Surging Seas Tool - October 12, 11:00am CDT
NAS Gulf Research Program - October 28, 1:00pm EDT

RestorationUpdatesRestoration Updates

On July 2, 2015, BP Plc announced an agreement in principle to settle the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Much legal work is ahead to complete the settlement. A selection of online news stories is available on the DWH Project Tracker website.    
RESTORE Council        
The RESTORE Council released the Draft Funded Priorities List (FPL). Public comment was solicited through September 28, 2015. Draft priorities were selected from the Council-Selected Restoration Component. Selections are available for review on  

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council posted a proposed regulation to implement the Spill Impact Component of the RESTORE Act. The regulation will establish the formula allocating funds made available from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund among the Gulf Coast States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas pursuant to Sec. 1603(3) of the RESTORE Act.  This proposed regulation is available for review and comment through Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.  To view the regulation or for more information please visit the Council's website:

Alabama The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) information and updates can be accessed here.
Mississippi Read about Mississippi's involvement in the RESTORE Council draft FPL here. For information on restoration activities in Mississippi go to Making Mississippi Whole.
Florida The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains a website complete with latest updates, resources, links, and newsletters, including an overview of Florida's response to the oil spill. Each impacted county engages directly with their communities through the Gulf Consortium and the Florida Association of Counties. The Consortium has a meeting planned for November 18; see their website for more information.  Many Florida counties have their own web pages or sites.
Louisiana The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council restoration activities. View all news, activities and calendar notices on the CPRA website. On September 24, 2015, the Treasury Department approved the state's RESTORE Act multiyear implementation plan - read more
Texas In August, Texas released the framework document Conserve, Restore, Renew: Framework for Implementing the RESTORE Act on the Texas Gulf Coast. Go to RESTORE The Texas Coast for official web oil spill related restoration in Texas. 
Centers of Excellence
Texas: The two Centers of Excellence are Texas OneGulf at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and the Subsea Systems Institute at the University of Houston.

: The Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program announced the first awards for Gulf research on August 21st. The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) is responsible for Florida's Center of Excellence.

Alabama: The The Dauphin Island Sea Lab submission is pending AGCRC decision.   

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
Information related to the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program can be found here. The Science Plan Final Version is available. They recently announced their first awards to seven research teams.  
National Academy of Sciences' Gulf Research Program (NAS)
To follow the NAS Gulf Research Program and register for updates, go to their website. An information webinar is being held October 28, see above for details.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)

The Trustees approved eleven Phase IV early restoration projects valued at an estimated $134 million. These are detailed in the Final Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments released September 2015. More in
formation about NRDA can be found     
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund  NFWF maintains a website for its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.   
North American Conservation Wetlands Act Fund (NAWCA) The US Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website for NAWCA programs. The U.S. Small Grants program is also open and closes November 5, 2015.
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) 
The GoMRI announced the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference will be February 1-4, 2016 at the Marriott Tampa Waterside, Tampa, Florida. Registration is open. Learn more about GoMRI and their research.  

Track many of the funded projects with the Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker 

FundingOpportunitiesFunding Opportunities

For a complete list of funding opportunities see our webpage. Selected opportunities: 

NOAA/NWS Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program Grant - To create a cost-effective transition from basic and applied research to operations and services through collaborative research between operational forecasters and academic institutions which have expertise in the environmental sciences. The application deadline is October 30, 2015.

American Honda Foundation - Grant making that supports youth education with a specific focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment. The application deadline is November 1, 2015.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service 2016 Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Research Program - It is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. The deadline is November 2, 2015.
NSF Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) - This program promotes PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. The deadline is November 13, 2015. 
EPA Urban Waters Small Grants - Proposals will advance EPA's water quality and environmental justice goals. Proposed projects will address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, with emphasis on underserved communities. The deadline is November 20, 2015. 
NOAA Marine Debris Program FY2016 Prevention through Education and Outreach - Projects awarded through this grant competition will work to address a specific marine debris issue by encouraging changes in behavior. The application deadline is January 19, 2015
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration & Research Ocean Exploration 2016 Funding Opportunity - Soliciting pre-proposals followed by full proposals for innovative, multi-partner, interdisciplinary ocean exploration projects in: 1) physical, chemical and biological characterizations of unknown or poorly known regions of the deep ocean, 2) baseline characterization of marine archaeological resources at any depth; and 3) technology that advances ocean exploration and has application to NOAA related missions. The deadline for pre-proposals is January 8, 2016.
NOAA 2016 Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program - NOAA-NOS-NCCOS-2016-2004616 The purpose is to evaluate and quantify the ability of coastal natural and nature-based features to mitigate the effects of sea level rise and inundation effects on coastal ecosystems and communities through integrated field research and advancement of dynamic modeling tools. The deadline is January 8, 2016.

CommentPeriodsOpen Comment Periods

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose regulations to amend the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to implement the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regarding experimental populations. The amendment would establish definitions and procedures for: establishing and/or designating certain populations of species otherwise listed as endangered or threatened as experimental populations among others. The deadline to comment is October 2, 2015

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 15 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 15 includes actions to revise the maximum sustainable yield, overfishing threshold, and overfished threshold definitions and values for three species of penaeid shrimp, and to revise the framework procedures. The comment deadline is October 13, 2015

NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) range-wide or, in the alternative, any identified distinct population segments (DPSs), as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and to designate critical habitat. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, they are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species from any interested party. The deadline is October 13, 2015.

NMFS released a proposed rule with request for public comment. The purpose of this rule is to modify Gulf greater amberjack management measures to end overfishing and achieve optimal yield for the greater amberjack resource and correct an error in the Gulf gray triggerfish recreational accountability measures. The comment deadline is October 19, 2015
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