Alliance Receives NAS Capacity Building Grants
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) recently announced the recipients of 12 capacity-building grants, totaling almost $3.2 million. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is pleased to be a recipient of two of these awards. These competitive grants support community organizations as they conduct science-based projects designed to benefit their coastal communities from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine to Alaska.
Gulf Community of Practice Meeting Highlights Accomplishments by Local Communities
The annual Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice meeting was recently hosted by the City of Covington, Louisiana. The purpose was to help planners learn about tools and methods that can be used to make their communities better prepared for coastal hazards. As part of the two-day meeting, a local community panel included representatives from Rockport, Texas; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Fairhope, Alabama; Covington, Louisiana; and Dade County, Florida. They presented their most recent efforts ranging from incorporating the Community Rating System into their municipal plans, to developing a flash flood communication tool, to installing hybrid living shorelines to protect property from erosion with minimal impacts on the environment. Grants from GOMA and other organizations have recently assisted communities to implement projects to address a climate adaptation need or challenge in the community.
Other sessions at the Community of Practice meeting included a presentation on the 4th National Climate Assessment (to be released next year), demonstrations of how green infrastructure can have positive effects on adaptation, and how different sectors are addressing climate and resilience-related issues. Next year's Community of Practice meeting will be co-hosted by GOMA and Texas Sea Grant. Anyone is welcome to attend.
To learn more about the Community of Practice visit their website.
Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Status Report
An update to the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Status Report was released at the State of the Gulf Summit in March 2017 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The original Report, published in 2013, summarized various focal components in the Gulf of Mexico necessary to consider from an ecosystem perspective. The Report highlighted potential indicators - including climate drivers, biological states, and socioeconomic responses - that could be used to track these focal ecosystem components.
Get a copy of the report.
The 2017 update highlights a subset of refined indicators and additionally includes a suite of human dimensions indicators which are intended to track the well-being of communities dependent on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Further work based on the indicator suite is now being carried out to understand the ecosystem-level impacts of various acute shocks to the Gulf of Mexico such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Ongoing work also includes elucidating the effects of changes in the physical environment on the ecosystem and understanding the causes of fluctuations in economically important fish stocks.
This work is being carried out by NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Southeast Regional Office, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Ocean Service, and various Cooperative Institutes, as part of the Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program.
Ocean Action Agenda
The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) released the Ocean Action Agenda in March. The digital report details ocean and coastal policy actions that should be taken to safeguard the benefits provided from America's oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, including jobs, food, health, recreation, and overall well-being.
It's Turtle Time Again in Florida
|Apalachicola NERR Turtle Tracks|
Every spring coastal organizations and volunteers gather to begin a season of early morning beach walks and overnight sandy campouts. It may sound like they are on vacation; some may be, but they are guarding a millennials old migratory habit of nesting sea turtles. Rebecca Domangue, PhD, Research Coordinator at the Appalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and GOMA partner, shares important information for the Florida Panhandle.
Just like the tourists that flock to our beaches during the summer, sea turtles will come to St. George and surrounding islands each summer to nest. Franklin County supports the highest concentration of nesting sea turtles in the Florida Panhandle, with several species nesting on Dog Island, St. George Island, Little St. George Island, St. Vincent Island, and even the occasional nest on Carrabelle Beach. The most common species of nesting turtle is the loggerhead, Caretta caretta, but green turtles, Chelonia mydas, and even the rare leatherback Dermochelys coriacea have visited our beaches. All species of sea turtles are considered threatened or endangered and protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Turtle Protection Act.
Activities related to Deepwater Horizon oil spill research and restoration are updated monthly.
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council)
- Find up to date information on RestoreTheGulf.gov
In the States
- Each impacted county engages directly through the Gulf Consortium
and the Florida Association of Counties. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains a comprehensive website.
- On March 14th, the AGCRC released a list of Request for Evaluation Projects. Projects receiving more than 4 RFEs move forward in the evaluation process. Follow Alabama restoration on the AGCRC website.
- MDEQ is holding a Restoration Contracting Workshop July 13th. Registration is open. The Beach Outfalls Challenge is holding video voting for the semifinalists through June 4th. To read about Mississippi restoration activities visit Making Mississippi Whole.
- The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council activities. Several bid opportunities
are available. Coastal Louisiana restoration updates are available on the CPRA website.
CPRA will hold a public hearing to address substantive changes proposed to the NRDA Restoration Banking Program on June 26th.
- On May 16th, Texas issued an update on the Draft Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) for Bucket 1 Funding. The update includes four matrix revisions and a detailed Treasury narrative. Public comment on this revision is extended to June 30, 2017. All Texas restoration activities can be found on www.restorethetexascoast.org
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
- Information related to this program and others is on their dedicated website.
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program
- In May, NAS announced the award of $3.2 million in capacity-building grants to coastal communities nationwide. NAS announcements and activities related to Gulf of Mexico research and restoration can be found on the Gulf Research Program website
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
- All Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) activity and comprehensive Gulf NRDA information is available on www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov
- On May 5th, the Louisiana TIG announced strategic restoration planning for Barataria Basin. The project is in two phases. Phase I considers habitat restoration from the State's 2017 coastal Master Plan. Phase II will analyze projects identified in phase I and the potential for Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.
On May 17th, the Louisiana TIG opened a Notice of Solicitation of Recreational Use Projects Ideas for Louisiana. Ideas should address lost opportunities as a result of the oil spill. Project ideas can be submitted to the Trustees or State of Louisiana.
- On May 18th the Texas TIG released the first draft restoration plan and environmental assessment. Public meetings are scheduled for June 7th in Corpus Christi and June 8th in Galveston. Public comment is due June 19th, 2017.
- On May 2nd, as part of the Open Ocean Restoration TIG, two new passenger ferries were unveiled for the Gulf Island National Seashore Ferry Project. The ferries should improve access to the park and offset losses from the oil spill.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
The NFWF website
has information on all funded projects with a map of all their programs worldwide.
North American Conservation Wetlands Act fund (NAWCA)
- 2017 grant deadlines and other information are available on the NAWCA website
. A meta-database is available to search
for previous awards.
On April 26th, Secretary Zinke announced the approval of $46.6 million in projects for wetland conservation, national wildlife refuges, and open acres for public hunting. Notable Gulf coast projects include the Bay Denesse Delta Management project in Louisiana and "Coastal Texas I" project for breeding duck habitat in Texas. Read more and get a full list of approved projects here
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
- The 2018 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference will be February 5-8, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Abstract submission will close September 10, 2017. Get comprehensive information on GoMRI at gulfresearchinitiative.org.
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
Gulf of Mexico Alliance Special Call for Coastal Alabama Request for Community Projects - The Alliance, in collaboration with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, is seeking proposals from coastal Alabama communities who wish to proactively address their vulnerabilities to coastal hazards. The deadline is June 21, 2017.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wetland Restoration Projects Standard Grants
(NAWCA)- Public-private matching grants support long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated upland habitats. United States initiated applications are due July 14, 2017.
EPA RESTORE Northwest Florida Estuary Program
RFP - This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals to develop and stand-up a place-based estuary program encompassing one or more of the following bays in Florida's northwest panhandle region: Perdido Bay, Pensacola Bay, Escambia Bay, Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrews Bay and Apalachicola Bay. The deadline is August 1, 2017.
National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grants
- The grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work - placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. The deadline is September 11, 2017.
The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program anticipates the release of several RFPs over the next two months. Check their website
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Funding Calendar
to request a comment period to be shared in our next newsletter.
The Mississippi Beach Outfall Challenge - Video Voting
for the Beach Outfalls Challenge Semifinalists end June 4, 2017.
The DOI has issued, Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (DOI-2017-0002-0001) and the deadline is July 10, 2017.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has several amendments at different stages of amendment and review open for public comment. These include but are not limited to deep sea coral, reef fish stocks, and Red Snapper management among others. These can be accessed on their page Scoping through Implementation
Scroll through our events calendar for these and other upcoming activities. Visit our Events page EPA Trash-Free Waters Webinar Series can be found here.
June 7 - 8: Texas TIG First Draft Plan Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Regional Coastal Training program workshops are posted on their website gulfcoastaltraining.org
June 8 - 9: Crude Move Symposium & Webcast
June 13 - 18: Capitol Hill Oceans Week
June 26: Louisiana CPRA Public Hearing on Revision to Proposed Rule for NRDA Restoration Banking Program
June 26 - 29: National Marine Educators Association Meeting
September 16: 30th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup
September 27 - 29: Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation Annual Meeting
November 15 - 17: GOMA Coastal Resilience Team Fall Meeting