On June 9th-11th, 2009 the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will be coordinating Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington D.C. to focus on the “Blue Economy- Understanding the Ocean’s role in our Nation’s Financial Future.” During this influential week, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) is releasing its’ new Governor’s Action Plan II which outlines the work that will be done in the next five years to enhance the economic and ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico. The rollout of Action Plan II and the official launch of the new GOMA Environmental Education Network website will be held in the Capitol Building on Wednesday, June 10th from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Congressional Briefing Room.

With a GDP of over $2.2 trillion (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2006) the economy of the Gulf of Mexico region provides jobs for more than 20 million people and provides for roughly ½ of the U.S. oil, natural gas and refinery production. Capitol Hill Ocean Week is calling attention to the vital link between the ocean and our economy. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will showcase successes of the work it’s done and the work to be achieved in keeping the vast resource, the Gulf of Mexico, resilient. Building on accomplishments of the first Action Plan, the Gulf States and their partners developed the Governors’ Action Plan II, a farther-reaching, five-year regional plan that looks to expand partnerships. Focusing on six priority issues including: Water Quality for Healthy Beaches and Seafood, Habitat Conservation and Restoration, Ecosystems Integration and Assessment, Reducing Nutrient Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems, Coastal Community Resilience and Environmental Education; the Alliance has set up a strategy to accomplish real results for a healthy future of the Gulf Coast (to view the Governor’s Action Plan II please log on to www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org ).

The opportunities for the average citizen to learn, engage, and improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico are vast and the Alliance is working to increase awareness about these opportunities. To accompany the rollout of Action Plan II, the GOMA Environmental Education Network is announcing the official launch of its’ new website www.gulfallianceeducation.org to inform the public about current happenings in the world of the Gulf Coast. The website is designed to be a resource for all Gulf State citizens, visitors and educators. Featuring an RSS feed with the latest Gulf Coast news, a digital library focused on the most important issues facing the Gulf of Mexico, environmental education projects that are making a definite difference in the health of the Gulf, as well as opportunities like events, volunteering, funding, and jobs. Soon to come is an Educator Resource section that offers lesson plans, data and tools for teachers to incorporate in their class rooms.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will have an active presence at Capitol Hill Ocean Week with a shared goal in protecting our oceans for the future of our nation’s economy. The Governors Action Plan II emphasizes how the Alliance provides balanced stewardship of Gulf resources to preserve the financial security and unique character found in all Gulf communities. The new GOMA Environmental Education site will be bridging the gap between the Alliance and the public, by letting people know about important issues facing the Gulf Coast, including a “What You Can Do” section, and opportunities to engage with nature locally. Be sure to log on today to view the new website www.gulfallianceeducation.org and GOMA’s Action Plan II for Healthy and Resilient Coasts to see what’s being done to keep the Gulf of Mexico a treasured resource.