Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf
National Academies Report Calls for Rigorous Monitoring
Report recommends a set of best practices for the Gulf of Mexico restoration
The National Academies of Sciences (NAS), Engineering, and Medicine released a report on July 26th stressing the importance of monitoring restoration projects following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
NAS writes, "The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Council, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council), and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are the largest restoration programs working toward the Gulf's recovery. The oil spill led to a 20 percent reduction in commercial fisheries and damaged about 1,100 miles of coastal salt marsh wetlands. These programs administer a majority of the $16 billion available in restoration funds. They support projects that range from coastal and offshore habitat restoration to recovery of certain species, water quality improvement, and land acquisition."
The report finds that the majority of past U.S. restoration efforts have not been adequately monitored to assess or improve restoration efficacy. To date, monitoring activities have been dramatically underfunded, and very few programs monitor environmental and social results. To ensure that progress can be evaluated, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended that all restoration activities funded by these programs define specific, measurable objectives and adopt a rigorous statistical monitoring effort and a well-designed data management plan.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has a Data and Monitoring Priority Issue Team, the goals of which are complimentary to the recommendations in the NAS report. The goals are to improve decision making through coordination and provide guidance for monitoring, mapping, and data sharing collaborations; and, enable data and monitoring integration to support Alliance priorities.
See the NAS full news release and access to order the report on the National Academies website
. Learn more about the Alliance's data and monitoring efforts here
Texas OneGulf Announces First Round of Projects
Projects aim to address problems affecting the health and wellbeing of the Gulf
The Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence recently announced their first project awards, totaling more than $2 million in research. Funding supports Gulf of Mexico research issues such as reef fish nursery habitat, predictive ecosystem models, marine microbiomes, and red tide, among other things. Texas OneGulf is led by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
These projects represent the first major allocation of research dollars from the Texas OneGulf consortium. It was created after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to direct funding in support of programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
A consortium of nine Texas institutions, Texas OneGulf is a unique multi-disciplinary team of marine science, socio-economic and human health researchers united to promote collaborative research and problem-solving actions. Read more about the full list of the awarded projects.
Golf Course Nutrient Use Is Down
National survey conducted by Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Golf Course Superintendents have significantly decreased their use of nutrients and fertilizers. Results are from a Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA
) recently released Nutrient Use and Management Practices Survey. The survey is part of the second phase of the Golf Course Environmental Profile and is compared to recent data from a 2006 survey. Report highlights show a 53-percent reduction in phosphate use, a 42-percent reduction in potash use and a 34-percent reduction in nitrogen use. According to the survey, conservation practices accounted for 90 percent of the reduction use. The full report and other Golf Course environmental related information on on their website
"Accessing the Coasts" Websites
Online tools streamline community access to vital coastal information
There is new and improved access to coastal information from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. The "Accessing the Coast" websites offer communities, waterfront users, and landowners information on a variety of legal topics, including the public trust doctrine, landowner liability, state conservation and access programs, and local government zoning authority.
Alabama www.accessingthealcoast.org/ Mississippi www.accessingthemscoast.org/
Scroll through our August 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 Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative 2016 Annual Partnership Workshop
will be Thursday, August 18, 2016 in Mobile, Alabama. Registration is open.
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training program has several workshops scheduled through the fall. These include Communicating Your Science, Seagrass Exploration, and Invasive Species.
The OneNOAA Science Seminars
shares NOAA Environmental Information with their constituents. Seminars are often delivered as webinars. Daily topics cover NOAA-wide science and climate issues.
November 15th - Mississippi inaugural Restoration Summit
November 30th - December 1st Mississippi-Alabama Bays & Bayous Symposium
December 10th - 15th Restore America's Estuaries 8th Annual Summit
February 6th - 9th, 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference 2017
March 26th - 30th, 2017 Gulf of Mexico One Gulf Summit 2017
& GOMA All Hands Meeting
Restoration Updates Information on Council activity is on their website RestoreTheGulf.gov.
Follow restoration activities with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) here
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has updated Making Mississippi Whole. The site now contains a new Transparency Database. MDEQ recently released the inaugural newsletter of the Mississippi Restoration Review. MDEQ is also planning an inaugural Restoration Summit, November 15, 2016.
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. In June, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council awarded the Gulf Consortium $4.6 million towards the development of the state expenditure plan. Contacts for each county can be found here.
Louisiana The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council restoration activities. On July 15th, CPRA announced a $16 million grant for Calcasieu Salinity Control Measures project under the Restore Act. CPRA is also working on a new Coastal Master Plan. View all news, activities and calendar notices on the CPRA website.
Texas The Texas Trustee Implementation Group has called for new or revised Restoration Project Proposals by August 31st. O
il spill restoration information in Texas and related items can be found on the website www.restorethetexascoast.org.
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)
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. The 2016 funding competition is open here. Letters of Intent were due July 8, 2016 and applications are due Spetember 27, 2016.
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program
The NAS Gulf Research Program
Capacity Building Grants letters of intent were due July 13, 2016 and proposals are due September 14, 2016. In conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NAS also released a new grant opportunity to Build Healthy, Resilient Coastal Communities. Letters of intent are due October 5, 2016. An information webinar is scheduled for August 11, 2016. To get more information on these and future opportunities, go to the NAS Gulf Research Program grants webpage.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
NRDA has established Trustee Implementation Groups (TIGs) in each of the five U.S. Gulf States, Regionwide, and for the Open Ocean. These working groups are described in the comprehensive restoration plan. Their purpose is to develop and propose restoration plans in their locations relative to NRDA. When on the comprehensive Gulf Spill Restoration website, click on your state's icon to learn more about the TIG.
The Alabama TIG is currently seeking public input on Scoping for Alabama Recreational Use Recreational Planning (see below).
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
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 Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference planning is underway. Mark your calendars for February 6 - 9, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Organizers are accepting requests for associated events and workshops. The GoMRI final RFP-VI is in development. It is anticipated for release October 2016. Learn more about GoMRI and their research.
For a complete list of funding opportunities see our webpage
. Selected opportunities:
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 next application deadline is August 1, 2016.
Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) National Estuaries Week Mini-Grant
- Thanks to CITGO, RAE will be awarding mini-grants of up to $3000 to organizations in the Gulf of Mexico region to host National Estuaries Week events. To apply, download and complete the request for proposals PDF and submit the completed proposal to email@example.com
by August 8, 2016
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program
- This opportunity is focused on projects that use a proactive approach to improving or restoration coastal habitat to: (1) strengthen the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems and decrease the vulnerability of communities to extreme weather, and (2) support sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery of protected resources. Proposals are due August 16, 2016
US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program
- The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program 2017 Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG), Tier 1
and Tier 2
on Grants.gov (CFDA 15.622). Applicants are encouraged to contact their WSFR Regional office staff for assistance with preparing and submitting applications. The deadline for submitting proposals is September 8, 2016
NAS Gulf Research Program - Enhancing Resilience and Well-being in Gulf Region Coastal Communities
A Grants Program of the Gulf Research Program in Collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - This funding opportunity seeks to enhance the resilience of Gulf region communities to the negative impacts of environmental change in ways that also improve health and well-being, and promote health equity. Proposed projects should seek to improve both the science and the practice of resilience by engaging integrative teams in the development of rigorous and actionable information and the testing and evaluation of strategies at a community-level. The Letter of Intent is due October 5, 2016
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Funding Calendar
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative RFP- VI
- anticipated October 2016
Open Comment Periods U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a public notice to solicit comments on the proposed set of revised nationwide permits in the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to NWP2017@usace.army.mil or through the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov docket number COE-2015-0017. The written comment period that ends on August 1, 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