Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
e-Newsletter December 2016  
Jump to our regular sections on Restoration, Funding, Comment Periods, and Events.
Happy New Year 2017!
We thank our partners for their hard work this past year and look forward to more success in the coming new year.  

Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Census Open Until January 5th

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC), an annual event is celebrating its 117th anniversary this December. It is the longest-running wildlife census in the world. Taking place each year in early winter over a three-week period between December 14th and January 5th, counts occur across the Americas with more than 72,000 participants across more than 2,400 count areas. Gulf coast birders are engaged each year. The greatest number of bird species ever reported by any U.S. location in a single count is 250, observed in 2005 during the Matagorda County-Mad Island Marsh count circle around Matagorda and Palacios, Texas. 

In fact, Gulf Coast state counts are frequently record-setters for the highest number of species counted and for the highest number of individual birds of a particular species counted (such as yellow-rumped warblers). Our milder weather and the natural biodiversity of habitats along the Gulf mean plenty of bird diversity as well. 
Beach Outfalls Challenge

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will initiate a novel approach to improve water quality in Mississippi Sound. A public prize competition, the Beach Outfalls Challenge opens in January. 
Environmental Law Institute 
Bulletin Board 

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has created a Public Participation Bulletin Board. The aim is to direct those interested in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration to public opportunities in the region. 

The page with map links highlights opportunities for three main restoration processes: the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), RESTORE Act, and National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). 

Review the ELI Bulletin Board.


Activities related to Deepwater Horizon oil spill research and restoration are updated monthly. 

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) -  On December 16, 2016 the RESTORE Council met and approved the Comprehensive Plan Update. One overarching update to the plan was improvements in the Council's decision making ability. A vimeo recording of the meeting and additional Council Information is on their website

In the States

FloridaThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains a comprehensive website. Each impacted county engages directly with their communities through the Gulf Consortium and the Florida Association of Counties. Their website is being updated; be sure to scroll down on their webpage for complete information. The Gulf Consortium is going through a process to select Permanent Management Services. Submitted proposals will be opened January 10, 2017 and the Board of Directors will consider recommendations at a meeting on February 8, 2017. 

Alabama - The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) released its Project Evaluation and Selection Process for Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) development for Bucket 1 of the RESTORE Act. Suggestions are due January 13, 2017. A public meeting will be held January 25, 2017. An RFQ for professional services will close January 5, 2017. An RFP for Osprey Restoration closes January 20, 2017. Information for these is available on Alabama Coastal Restoration. The AGCRC can be followed on their website

MississippiThe Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) announced the Beach Outfalls Challenge registration opens on January 9, 2017. MDEQ is also seeking public comment on three separate documents. See them listed in the Comment Periods section below. Comments for two of the documents, the Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) and the Mississippi State Expenditure Plan (MSEP), are due January 17, 2017. To read more about these activities, provide comments, and learn more about other Mississippi restoration activities visit Making Mississippi Whole

Louisiana - The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council activities. CPRA is currently taking comments on the 2017 Coastal Master Plan draft annual plan through March 26, 2017. Public meetings are planned. On November 30, 2017, CPRA announced the first draft Amended State RESTORE Plan. The CPRA website has information on public meetings, updates, RFPs, and additional information.

Texas - The 2017 NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund project solicitation is open until January 3, 2017. The Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) for the RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) grant funds are still being reviewed. Check regularly for the anticipated release of selected projects.

Centers of Excellence

Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program (FLRACEP)
Alabama Center of Excellence (ACE)
Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) 
RESTORE Act Center of Excellence Louisiana 
Texas OneGulf and Subsea Systems Institute

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program - Information related to this program is on their dedicated website. The second funding opportunity closed in September and awards are anticipated for early 2017. 

National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program - This month NAS announced the recipients of three synthesis grants, totaling over $2.1 million. The awardees and their programs can be found here. Research and Develop Grants Preventing the Next Spill letters of intent are due February 1, 2017. Early-Career Research and Science Policy Fellowships application is open. For these announcements and other NAS information visit the Gulf Research Program website

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) - The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) released the first Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Two public meetings will be January 17 and 18, 2017 with the comment period closing January 30, 2017. Project ideas are requested and due by February 3, 3017. The Mississippi TIG released the state's first Draft Restoration Plan on December 27, 2017 and those comments are due by February 10, 2017. All TIG activity and comprehensive Gulf NRDA information is available on

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund On November 15, 2016, NFWF approved nearly $370 million for new restoration projects on the Gulf Coast. This fourth round of grants supports 24 projects across the 5 Gulf States. The NFWF website has information on all funded projects with a map of all their programs worldwide.

North American Conservation Wetlands Act fund (NAWCA) - The 2017 U.S. Standard Grants, Cycle 1 will be due February 24, 2017. In September 2016, more than $33 million was approved to protect waterfowl and other bird species. These awards, 2017 grant deadlines, and other information are available on the NAWCA website

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) - Registration is open for the Oil Spill Ecosystem Science Conference scheduled February 6-9, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. RFP-VI is open, the deadline to submit questions is February 17, 2017 and full proposals are due March 3, 2017. Get comprehensive information on GoMRI at

Visit our Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker Story Map.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance maintains a Funding Opportunities web page of current opportunities. Below are selected opportunities from that page.

Link to Funding Opportunities page

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, Gulf of Mexico Alliance Resilience Team, and the Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice are working together to develop an online, interactive Climate Tool Decision-Support Tree. Applications for Graphic and Website Design are being accepted through a Request for Proposals. Deadline for submission is January 2, 2017. 

The Texas Trustee agencies and NFWF are in the process of soliciting projects for the 2017 Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund cycle. New projects should be submitted by January 3, 2017. 

Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council Project Suggestions - the Evaluation and Selection Process has been released and project suggestions are due January 13, 2017. 
Florida Humanities Council Community Project Grants - Community Project grants provide support for the planning and implementation of public humanities programs and resources that meet the needs and interests of local communities. Projects may include lecture series and panel discussions, reading and discussion groups, film series, oral history projects, exhibitions, and the development of cultural resources that complement public programming. The deadline is January 23, 2017. 

Louisiana Restore Act Center of Excellence Request for Proposals - The RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana is requesting proposals for research to support implementation of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. Letters of Intent are due December 9, 2016. Full proposals are due January 25, 2017. 

Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice (CoP) Small Grant Award 2017 -- The CoP is offering a small grant award to Gulf Coast communities to apply for funds to support a project that addresses a climate adaptation need or challenge in the community and can serve as a demonstration project for other coastal communities in the region. Letters of intent are due January 25, 2017.

NFWF Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program 2017 RFP - Projects support conservation projects that enhance coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and bolster priority fish and wildlife populations, while strengthening resilience in the region. The deadline is January 26, 2017.

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium 2018-2020 Research Program - Projects selected for funding will address innovative research on coastal issues in Alabama and Mississippi in one ore more of three focus areas: healthy coastal ecosystems; sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; and resilient communities and economies. Pre-proposals are due February 17, 2017. 

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Funding Calendar
commentComment Periods

Click here to request a comment period to be shared in our next newsletter.  

NOAA has proposed changes to the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act Program procedures. Comments are due January 9, 2017
In accordance with the RESTORE Act and its implementing regulations, the MDEQ is seeking public review and comment on Mississippi's amended Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP). Comments are due January 17, 2017. 

In accordance with the RESTORE Act and its implementing regulations, the MDEQ is seeking public review and comment on the initial Mississippi State Expenditure Plan (MSEP). Comments are due January 17, 2017. 

Alabama Trustee Implementation Group released its first draft restoration plan and environmental impact statement, Alabama Restoration Area Plan 1. Public comments are due January 30, 2017. 

MDEQ welcomes comments on the 2015 Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan and the 2016 Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan Addendum. The plans reference restoration  under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. Comments will be accepted until August 31, 2017 and submitted to 

Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group released the first Draft Restoration Plan. Public comments are due February 10, 2017. 

NOAA seeks public comment for Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Device Use for Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and wing Nets. Public meeting are scheduled and comments may be submitted by January 30, 2017 and February 14, 2017. 

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is taking comments on the  2017 Coastal Master Plan Draft Annual Plan. Comments are due by March 26, 2017. 

Tips for submitting effective comments.

Scroll through our events calendar for these and other upcoming activities.

Visit our Events page

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is teaming up with the Harte Research Institute for a joint meeting of the State of the Gulf of Mexico One Gulf Summit 2017 and the 2017 All Hands Meeting. Both meetings will be held back-to-back the week of March 26 - 31, 2017. Registration is open.

January 12, 26: Decision Support Tree Workshops 
January 17, 18: Alabama NRDA TIG draft Restoration Plan Public Meetings 
January 17, 18, 24, 25: CPRA Coastal Master Plan Draft Annual Plan Public Meetings
February 6-9:  Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference
March 26-28:  State of the Gulf of Mexico One Gulf Summit
March 29-31:  Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands Meeting
Rescheduled November 15-17: GOMA Coastal Resilience Team Fall Meeting

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