Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf

August 2016

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Activity  
Draft Comprehensive Plan Update is available for public comment
Last week, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) released a proposed update to the 2013 Initial Comprehensive Plan. The proposed update adds strategic guidance for the Council in their decision making capacity for Gulf of Mexico restoration. The update addresses the October 2015 resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Council is responsible for administering a percentage those funds as designated under the RESTORE Act.

When the Initial Comprehensive Plan was completed, it was established that the Plan would be a working document. This allows the Council opportunities to adapt to the changing climate of Gulf coast restoration. An initial Funded Priorities List of projects was approved in December 2015. The proposed changes capture public input and lessons learned from that first process.

The new draft improves Council decisions through, among several actions, setting an initial ten-year funding strategy. This includes providing for the advancement of large-scale projects that may be developed and/or funded in phases.

The Draft Comprehensive Plan Update is available for review on Through September and early October, the Council has scheduled a series of public input meetings and webinars. All public comment is due October 7, 2016.

Coastal Resilience Team Survey
Assessment will look at resilience tool use in the region
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently awarded a Regional Coastal Resilience Grant to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The award will ultimately allow 10 coastal communities in the region to complete proactive projects to enhance their resilience. This grant will also support risk-communication improvement, updates of tools that communities identify as vital to decision making, and development of a coastal resilience road map document that will guide communities in preparing for hazards.

To initiate the project, the Alliance is conducting a survey to assess the use of resilience tools and services by various audiences in the Gulf of Mexico. The intent is to identify what gaps (if any) exist in tools and services for our region.

Please take a few minutes to complete the surveyThank you for your participation! 
EPA Gulf of Mexico Program Gulf Guardian Awards
Nominations open for biannual awards program  
The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program created the Gulf Guardian Awards in 2000 to recognize environmental excellence towards achieving and preserving healthy and resilient coasts in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The Gulf Guardian Awards recognize efforts within the 31 States that comprise the Gulf of Mexico watershed.

The Awards also include Bi-national efforts and recognize successful cooperative projects between the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.  The Awards are presented on a Bi-annual basis.  The official categories for nomination are: Business/Industry, Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity, Civic and Nonprofit Organizations, Youth Environmental Education, Individual, Partnerships and Bi-national.  

The deadline to nominate someone or an organization is October 31, 2016.

Scroll through our September 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 Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, September 17, 2016.
The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is September 17, 2016.
Texas Adopt-A-Beach Coastwide Fall Cleanup is September 24, 2016.
The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup is October 22, 2016.

The EPA is holding a montly Water Research Webinar Series and a separate Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Webinar Series.

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training program has several workshops scheduled through the fall. These include topics on Communicating Your Science, Invasive Species, Bay Friendly Landscaping, and Estuary 101.  

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council draft Comprehensive Plan Update public input meetings and webinars are scheduled for September and early October.  
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. 

Looking Ahead
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

RestorationUpdatesRestoration Updates

RESTORE Council         
The Council released this month a Draft Comprehensive Plan Update with accompanying public input sessions. All comments are due by October 7, 2016. Information on Council activity is on their website

Alabama Follow restoration activities with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) here.
Mississippi The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has an RFP open for Integrity Monitoring Services that will close September 14, 2016. On August 30th, MDEQ announced it is in the process of developing the initial Mississippi State Expenditure Plan for funds in Oil Spill Impact Component (Bucket 3). The deadline to submit public comment is September 30, 2016. For this and other updates 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. 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. The 2017 Annual Plan is now available for download. View all news, activities and calendar notices on the CPRA website
Texas The Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) for the RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) grant funds solicited more than 200 project proposals. Initial reviews are underway. Ultimately, selected projects will be considered for inclusion to the State's Multi-Year Implementation Plan (MIP). Oil spill restoration information in Texas and related 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)   
Louisiana    The Water Institute 
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. The 2016 funding competition is open here.  Letters of Intent were due July 8, 2016 and applications are due September 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. 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 Florida TIG is currently taking public input for "Restoration in Florda". 
  • The Louisiana TIG is drafting the First Restoration Plan.   

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. U.S. Small Grants are due November 3, 2016.
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. The Call for Abstracts deadline is September 26, 2016. 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

Visit our Story Map

FundingOpportunitiesFunding Opportunities

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

The White House Sustainable Water - Water Summit Initiative - The purpose of the White House Water Summit is to raise awareness of priority water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future. Sustainable Water is committing to deploy $500 million in capital to develop 50 eco-engineered decentralized water reclamation and reuse systems across governmental, institutional, and commercial market sectors. This commitment is anticipated to save 7.5 billion gallons of potable water annually in the next 10 years.

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 (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.

Amazon Web Services - Grants for Research enable customers to move their research endeavors to the cloud and innovate quickly and at lower cost. Research grant applications may be submitted quarterly with deadlines of March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.

NOAA Ocean Exploration FY2017 Funding Opportunity - NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration & Research (OER) seeks to enhance ocean exploration and scientific knowledge of the unknown or poorly known areas of the ocean. This entails identifying, describing and creating baseline characterizations of new ocean habitats, marine resources and/or processes. Pre-proposals are due September 16, 2016 and full proposals are due December 23, 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

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Derelict Vessel Removal Grant - A program to provide grants to local governments for reimbursement for the removal of derelict vessels from the public waters of the state. Applications are being accepted between September 12th and October 27th, 2016.

Future Opportunities

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Funding Calendar 
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative RFP- VI - anticipated October 2016

CommentPeriodsOpen Comment Periods
Environmental Assessments; Availability, etcNational Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for the Eastern Portion of the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. Comments are due September 17, 2016.

BOEM Issues a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and an Opportunity for Scoping Comments for the Proposed Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales 250 and 251. Public comments are due September 19, 2016. 

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is in the process of developing the initial Mississippi State Expenditure Plan for funds under Oil Spill Impact Component (Bucket 3) of the RESTORE Act. The deadline for public comment is September 30, 2016. 

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council proposed update to the 2013  Comprehensive Plan - Draft Comprehensive Plan Update public comments are due October 7, 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

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