Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf

March 2016

Wicker Bill Would Strengthen GOMA
Bill would make the Alliance a Regional Coordination Entity
On March 10th, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker introduced the "Gulf States Protection and Restoration Coordination Act" designating the Gulf of Mexico Alliance as a Regional Coordination Entity under NOAA. The authorization would ensure continued collaboration among entities who oversee the health of the marine ecosystem by coordinating the efforts of state and federal authorities with other volunteer and stakeholder activities.

"If passed, this would put the Alliance back where it was five years ago," said Phillip Hinesley, Chairman of GOMA's Management Team from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, referring to the Alliance's ability to address issues of regional importance as identified in the Governors' Action Plan II.

"Authorization of GOMA confirms and supports our commitment to coordination of priority issues in order to reduce duplicate efforts and maximize leveraging opportunities," noted Commissioner Toby Baker, GOMA Chair-Elect from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.   

Read more about the Senator's announcement
Gulf of Mexico Alliance 2016 All Hands Meeting Update
New items added to meeting lineup.
This year, the Priority Issue Team meeting days are shifting to Wednesday, June 15th through Friday, June 17th.

Before Opening Plenary, pre-meetings and Special Sessions are being held on June 14th. These include:
  • Joint Landscape Conservation Cooperative Meeting
  • Coastal Impact & Assistance Program Workshop
  • Monitoring Community of Practice Planning Meeting
  • Sea Grant Serving You:  Oil Spill Science and Resource Management Workshop 
Get an overview of the developing schedule of events on our website

Also new this year will be a Tools Cafe', followed by a networking reception. Check below for information on how you may demonstrate your tool.  We will also premier the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative's film, "Dispatches from the Gulf." 
Registration is open. The Teams are developing their agendas. We look forward to seeing you in June!
Thank you to our growing list of sponsors: NOAA, Gulf Sea Grant Programs, OTT Hydromet, the Ocean Conservancy, Mote Marine, and Chevron!

All Hands Tools Cafe'
Organizers looking for Tool Demonstrations
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is requesting submissions for the 2016 Tools
Café to take place at the All Hands Meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Submissions are requested from any GOMA partner interested in sharing more about their online or paper-based tool(s).

We want to create an interactive experience for our meeting participants. Tool submissions should relate to one of the Alliance's six priority issues or three cross-team initiatives. No marketing or advertising materials will be accepted. For information and submission requirements, please follow this link. The deadline is April 25, 2016.

GCOOS Data Portal Featured During White House Water Summit
Hypoxia-Nutrient Data Portal is a partnership project with GOMA
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) announced on March 22nd the launch of two new data portals designed to help resource managers protect the environmental health of the waterways in the Gulf of Mexico watershed. One of these projects, the Hypoxia-Nutrient Data Portal, is a joint project with the Alliance's Water Resources Team.

The announcement came as GCOOS participated in World Water Day during a White House Water Summit. The event highlighted the importance of water resources and the need to develop innovative, long-term strategies for protecting them. 

The Hypoxia-Nutrient Data Portal aggregates information from multiple sources. The intent is to support informed strategies needed to reduce nutrient inputs and hypoxia impacts to Gulf coastal ecosystems, extending from the inshore waters of estuaries to the continental-shelf break of the five U.S. Gulf states. The Portal allows users to inspect observations down to the station level.

Read more about GCOOS' participation in the White House Water Summit here and try out the Hypoxia-Nutrient Data Portal.  

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

The Regional Gulf Coastal Training Program is offering several workshops this month
  • April 6th - Blue Carbon: A Management Tool for Restoration & Conservation of Coastal Wetlands (Galveston, TX) 
  • April 27th - Early Detection, Rapid Response Training (Apalachicola, FL) 
  • April 28th - Communicating Your Science (Port Aransas, TX) 
Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs is holding "Oil Spill Science: Where did the oil go?" The full-day program will be April 14th in Mobile, AL. Register here.

The Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice will hold the 2016 annual meeting on April 19-21, 2016 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Go here for more information.

Gulf of Mexico Alliance
2016 All Hands Meeting
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
June 14 - 17, 2016

RestorationUpdatesRestoration Updates

RESTORE Council        
The RESTORE Council has added resources to their website. These include a Grant page with documents required as part of a proposal, application, or post-award process. A Grants Training page highlight training relevant to grant compliance. This information and all other Council activity is on their website

Alabama The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Birmingham Audubon received a $1.46 million dollar NFWF project for Coastal Bird Stewardship. Follow other restoration activities with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) here.
Mississippi The Department of Environmental Quality received $17.45 million from NFWF to fund "The Acquisition of Priority Tracts for Coastal Habitat Connectivity - Phase I." For information on this project and other activities, go to 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.
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
Texas Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Toby Baker recently wrote an editorial, "From Destruction, Restoration." A Request for Grant Applications is due April 15, 2016. Information on these and other items can be found on
Centers of Excellence
The five Gulf States Centers of Excellence:
Alabama     Alabama Center of Excellence (ACE)
Florida        Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program (FLRACEP
                  RFP II proposals are due June 3, 2016.  
Louisiana    The Water Institute 
                  Annual reception April 14th.
Mississippi  Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE)
Texas         Texas OneGulf and Subsea Systems Institute
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
Information related to the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program can be found here including the Science Plan Final version. Download their funding opportunities calendar. A 2016 funding competition is anticipated between mid-April and mid-May.
National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) Gulf Research Program
The NAS Gulf Research Program Synthesis Grants are open and due April 13, 2016. Capacity Building Grants are expected to open May 11th. To read more, go to the NAS Gulf Research Program website.  

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) 
This month NRDA Trustees issued a Record of Decision that explains their final decision to select the comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration alternative evaluated in their plan for restoration implementation. The final plan and comprehensive NRDA information can found here.  
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund NFWF announced this month two additional projects on the Gulf Coast: a habitat connectivity project in Mississippi and a coastal bird stewardship program in Alabama. The NFWF website has information on all funded projects. NFWF has a map page that displays all of their programs worldwide. 
North American Conservation Wetlands Act Fund (NAWCA) 
The US Fish and
Wildlife Service maintains a website for NAWCA programs. Their 2016 grant cycle deadlines are now available. 
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) 
The GoMRI final RFP VI is in development. It is anticipated for release October 2016. 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: 

RESTORE The Texas Coast RESTORE Grant Applications - Proposals for Texas projects under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) of the federal RESTORE Act are now being accepted. An application instruction video is available on the RESTORE The Texas Coast website.  The deadline is April 15, 2016

NOAA Competition for a Cooperative Institute in the Gulf of Mexico -- The CI will help meet NOAAs long-term goals, including Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, Weather-Ready Nation, Healthy Oceans, Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies, Stakeholder Engagement, Accurate and Reliable Data/Sustained and Integrated Earth Observations, Integrated Environmental Modeling.The deadline is April 25, 2016

NAS Gulf Research Program 2016 Synthesis Grants - The program "Scientific Synthesis Connecting Environmental, Social, and/or Health Data" grants will support projects that generate novel insights, address critical questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting and using existing observations or monitoring data by bringing together concepts, methods, and/or data from different disciplines and sectors. The required pre-proposal is due April 27, 2016 and the full proposal is due June 22, 2016.

EPA Region IV Wetland Program Development Grants - Selected projects will protect, manage, and restore wetlands. The primary focus of these grants is to build/refine state and tribal wetlands programs. A secondary focus is to build/refine local programs. The deadline is April 29, 2016

NPS Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program - Proposals are for matching grants to support projects that would acquire or develop public land for outdoor recreation purposes located within or serving Census-delineated "urbanized areas": places with a population of 50,000 or more people that are densely settled. Search for P16AS00065. The deadline is May 20, 2016.

Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program - The primary goal of the NCWCG Program is the long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems. Projects can include acquisition of real property; restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal ecosystems; or, a combination of acquisition, restoration, and management. Search for F16AS00089. The deadline is June 29, 2016.

Future Opportunities

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Funding Calendar
NAS Gulf Research Program Capacity Building Grants - opening May 11th 

Help us build the Gulf Star Partnership 

CommentPeriodsOpen Comment Periods
The Food and Drug Administration announced a comment period for the Draft Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Mosquito.  Electronic or written comments on the draft are due April 13, 2016. 
NOAA Fisheries is now accepting public comment on the Draft National Bycatch Reduction Strategy. The comment period closes June 3, 2016. 

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has several regulation items open for comment. These include regulations addressing Red Grouper, Yellowtail Snapper, Red Snapper, Shrimp, and Charter Vessel reporting requirements among others. To view these, their status, and find information to make comments go to the Gulf Council's webpage Scoping through Implementation.  
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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