The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will hold its 8th Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL on June 25-27,  2013. The overall theme for the three-day meeting is “Collaboration is the Key to Successful Gulf Restoration.” The meeting will focus on how the Alliance is working to expand and maintain partnerships to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and is open to the public. Links to registration and a full schedule of events are available at www.GulfofMexicoAlliance.org.

As Gulf restoration is a key topic at the meeting, there will be an update on the RESTORE Comprehensive Plan and how Alliance partners are addressing restoration opportunities. The week will begin with a public meeting Monday evening, June 24, 2013, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program (RESTORE Act Science Program).

The following two days of the meeting will provide information and updates on several topics of interest including a presentation on conservation economics by Scott Burns of the Walton Family Foundation. Moderated sessions will explore the state of science in the Gulf, Gulf restoration/conservation needs, and the incorporation of new networks into the Alliance. Keynote speakers include the newly appointed Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as state environmental agencies. Each agency will give updates on current priorities.

The two-day plenary meeting will be followed on Thursday by concurrent sessions on the Alliance’s Priority Issues: water quality, nutrient impacts, ecosystem integration and assessment, habitat conservation and restoration, coastal community resilience, and environmental education. These working sessions will engage participants in the Alliance’s goals and actions at the community level and leaders from around the Gulf Coast will share knowledge and expertise. The Alliance plans to build on discussions from the previous days and take advantage of broad membership to further integrate with regional priorities.