The Gulf of Mexico Alliance met last month with over 400 participants from local, state and federal government agencies, and businesses and non-profit organizations, to discuss oil spill response and recovery, as well as implementation of the Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy & Resilient Coasts. Even though the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster may take years to be fully realized, the Alliance is pressing ahead and galvanizing its diverse partnerships to further on the ground progress toward enhancing the environmental and economic health of the Gulf.

The Alliance’s three day meeting was a chance for participants to be informed about many issues including the oil spill, and to develop strategies on how to work toward a resilient future for the Gulf Coast. Six priority issue teams, which are charged with implementing the Action Plan, presented a variety of proposals and products. For example, the Improving Water Quality team, made up of state and federal partners, presented a new regional Monitoring Program Catalog containing water quality data from all five Gulf States. The catalog will greatly increase the range and diversity of water quality data, better enabling scientists to assess threats and develop measures to improve the health of coastal waters.

“The Gulf region is facing a critical time and it’s going to take a lot of innovation, cooperation, and dedication from the five Gulf States to recover from the largest oil spill in America’s history.” said William Walker, Ph.D., executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and chair of The Alliance Management Team. He continued, “In order to have a broader impact, the Alliance is expanding partnerships to include groups like the US Chamber of Commerce; partnerships are essential to preserving the Gulf.”

Since 2004, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance has worked to call to attention the threats facing the health of the Gulf, the connection between the economy & ecology of this region, and define what stewardship measures are needed to protect America’s Sea. Feeding and fueling the nation puts the Gulf Coast in a unique situation, with inherent risks, and balance is needed to ensure precious resources are protected for the future. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster is a clear sign that more needs to be done and through regional cooperation, The Alliance is equipped to utilize its wide-ranging partnerships to its greatest advantage in improving the health of the Gulf of Mexico.

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As the result of a shared vision for a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico region, the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas formalized the Gulf of Mexico Alliance in 2004. The Alliance recognizes the economy and quality of life for citizens of the Gulf are linked to its ecological health. Through the collaborative leadership of local, state and federal government partners, and the active participation of businesses and non-governmental organizations, the Alliance is addressing six priority issues facing the Gulf region. The Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy & Resilient Coasts, endorsed by all five Governors, outlines specific actions needed to achieve the Alliance’s mission. To view the Action Plan and learn about the priority issues visit www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.