Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf

November 2015

New Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment Released
Research focuses on climate change vulnerability and adaptation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA). It is a comprehensive report that evaluates the urbanization and coastal changes on four Gulf of Mexico coastal ecosystems and 11 species that depend on them.

The GCVA was initiated by four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and received support/guidance from many partners, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Northern Gulf Institute, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and the United States Geological Survey.
To learn more about the GCVA and get a copy, go to the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative website.
National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC)
11th Edition National Monitoring News is now available

The National Water Quality Monitoring Council newsletter provides a forum of communication among water practitioners across the nation. In support of the National Council's mission, it is geared to foster partnerships and collaboration; advance water science; improve monitoring strategies; and enhance data integration, comparability, and reporting.

The newsletter's 11th edition highlights many events, activities, and new products. Among the topics included:
  • National Council highlights;
  • New products and resources from Federal and State agencies;
  • Tools for assessing nutrient loads to water bodies; and
  • Special topic - Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

Learn more about the NWQMC and read all their current and past newsletters.   


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

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meetings - find contacts for Teams here.   
  • Coastal Resilience Winter Meeting
    February 2-4, 2016, Spanish Fort, AL
    Registration opens January 4, 2016
  • Education & Engagement Team
    Full Team Conference Call - Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 10:00am CST
  • Water Resources Team
    Steering Committee Conference Call - Thursday, Dec 10th, 10:30am CST
    Full Team Conference Call - Monday, December 14, 2015 2:30pm CST
Restore Americas' Estuaries is hosting the 1st National Technology Transfer Meeting and Regional Workshops on Living Shorelines December 1-2, 2015.

A NOAA webinar "Learn to Use Flood Exposure Maps for Your Community" will be December 8, 2015, 1:00 to 2:00pm EST. Register here.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Meeting is meeting Wednesday, December 9, 2015 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Meeting materials are available December 1, 2015. Get the Council's announcement here.

Save the Date! The Gulf of Mexico Alliance 2016 All Hands Meeting will be June 14 - 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

RestorationUpdatesRestoration Updates
On July 2, 2015, BP Plc announced an agreement in principle to settle the  2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. On October 5, 2015, the Department of Justice released a proposed Consent Decree and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees released the companion Comprehensive Restoration Plan also known as the PDARP/PEIS. Public comments on both these items are due December 4, 2015. Get a breakdown of the proposed Consent Decree by the Environmental Law Institute.
RESTORE Council        
The RESTORE Council recently released the Draft Funded Priorities List (FPL). Public comment was solicited through September 28, 2015. On Wednesday, December 9th, the Council will meet to vote on selected projects. See a story map of those projects here

To view all materials and activities of the Council, visit the website

Alabama The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) information and updates can be accessed here. A meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 4, 2015 to hear a presentation for the Center of Excellence.
Mississippi The State released a draft "Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan" and it is available for public comment. Read the draft and submit comments online. Mississippi also launched the Mississippi Comprehensive Ecosystem Restoration Tool (MCERT). Review and search the MCERT Explorer 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. Many Florida counties have their own web pages or sites. Florida has an online map for Deepwater Horizon Projects here.

Louisiana The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council restoration activities. A Louisiana 2017 Coastal Master Plan Technical Update #3 - Planning Tool Webinar is scheduled for December 10, 2015. View all news, resources, and calendar notices on the CPRA website
Texas Texas Trustee Agencies (GLO, TPWD & TCEQ) and the NFWF are beginning the application process for the 2016 funding cycle from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. To be considered for the 2016 funding cycle, new applications must be submitted by January 6, 2016.  Go to RESTORE The Texas Coast for official web related oil spill restoration in Texas. 
Centers of Excellence
Mississippi: The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality recently announced Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) as the state's Center of Excellence in October. MBRACE comprises the state's four major research institutions: the University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. 
Texas: The two Centers of Excellence are Texas OneGulf led by 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 21, 2015. The next RFP is anticipated to be released winter 2016. The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) is responsible for Florida's Center of Excellence.     

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
Information related to the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program can be found here including the Science Plan Final version. In September, the first awards to seven research teams were announced.  
National Academy of Sciences' Gulf Research Program (NAS)
Two fellowship opportunities are available. An Exploratory Grants opportunity will open on December 15, 2015. To follow the NAS Gulf Research Program and register for updates, go to their website.  

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) 
The NRDA Trustees released the Proposed Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Gulf of Mexico and concluded public meetings on October 29, 2015. Comments may still be submitted through December 4, 2015. 
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.
NOAA maintains an interactive project map for all Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Programs (DARRP). The DARRP can be viewed here.
More information about NRDA can be found     
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund  
This month NFWF awarded more than $80 million in a third round of projects to the Gulf region. Learn more about those projects in the NFWF release. See NFWF's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund website for more information on their work around the Gulf.
North American Conservation Wetlands Act Fund (NAWCA) The US Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website for NAWCA programs.
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) 
The GoMRIGulf 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 funded projects with the Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker 

FundingOpportunitiesFunding Opportunities

For a complete list of funding opportunities see our webpage. Selected opportunities: 
NSF Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) - Seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by PreK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of STEM education innovations and approaches. The deadline is December 7, 2015.
NOAA Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program - Is an environmental education, grants program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. Go to and search NOAA-NMFS-SE-2016-2004691 for the application information.  The deadline is December 11, 2015. 

EPA OWOW Support for Water Quality Framework Training Workshop, Nonpoint Source Agriculture Training and Technical Assistance, and Hypoxia and Agricultural Nutrient Outreach and Technical Assistance Request for Proposals - The purpose is to provide support for training and technical assistance activities to build the capacity of state and tribal officials and nongovernmental stakeholders in the Clean Water Act (CWA) Sections 303(d), 305(b), TMDL Programs, the Nonpoint Source (CWA Section 319) Program, and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia related activities. The deadline is December 14, 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.

V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation Funding Opportunity - The organization funds programs dealing with climate change, unsustainable consumption, and loss of biodiversity. A letter of intent is due January 12, 2016.
Help us build the Gulf Star Partnership 

CommentPeriodsOpen Comment Periods
The public comment period for the draft PDARP/PEIS and Treasury Department proposed Consent Decree is open. To comment on the proposed Consent Decree go here. To comment on the draft restoration plan go here. Comments on both are due by December 4, 2015
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service has released the Draft 2015 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports. Public comments on the draft are due December 29, 2015.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has released the Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan. To review and comment on the plan go to this webpage.
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments
Visit the Headquarters office located at 1151 Robinson Street in Ocean Springs, MS and we'll show you around.

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