MOBILE–The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) will convene to address the health of the Gulf Region at the Battle House Hotel this week, drawing a diverse array of representatives from the five Gulf States, Washington D.C., and Mexico. From August 4th-6th, participants will gather to discuss implementation of the 2009 Governor’s Action Plan which- outlines key steps and priorities for the Alliance over the next five years. Signed and supported by each of the five Gulf State Governors, the plan aims to enhance community resilience, promote environmental education, support habitat restoration, reduce nutrient inputs to coastal waters, mitigate impacts to water quality, and identify and characterize Gulf ecosystems. Taking on issues that matter to Gulf state citizens, the Alliance is focused on achieving real results for a healthy Gulf.

The Alliance recognizes Climate Change, the Gulf Economy, Ecosystem Health and Water Quality as the four major challenges for the Gulf Region. By working to organize and implement accurate mapping, tide level predictions, resilient land use plans, and habitat conservation and restoration, the Alliance aims to increase communities’ ability to “bounce back” after storm events. Some other actions of the Alliance involve increasing awareness of the connection between the environment and our health by coordinating effective water quality testing and communicating the risks of exposure to mercury from fish and harmful algal blooms. The Alliance is working to reduce nutrient inputs to decrease the dead/hypoxic zone. Through the use of a Sediment Master Plan, dredged material will be used for the most crucial restoration projects.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Barnett Lawley a stated: “The diversity of the Alliance, how it brings together people from different states and agencies, allows for a unique partnership. The Governors’ of the five Gulf States realized back in 2006 that when it comes to keeping the Gulf of Mexico healthy, a collaborative process was the best approach. Now in 2009, after three years of successful achievements, the Alliance will come together to continue that path of success by implementing the newest Action Plan.”

The second Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy & Resilient Coast builds upon the accomplishments of the last and sets specific actions to be undertaken for a healthy economy and ecology for the Gulf of Mexico. The All Hands meeting enables Federal, State, Non-Profit, Business, Education and Research members of the Alliance to come together to solidify a course of action for the next five years. To learn more