Billions of dollars will be devoted to restoring Gulf of Mexico ecosystems over the coming decades. However, there is no common method to assess restoration progress across the many different types of funded projects in the region, making it impossible to understand how different projects are contributing to broader environmental, social, and economic goals. A new project, Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Service Logic Models and Socio-Economic Indicators (GEMS), led by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and The Nature Conservancy will address this gap by standardizing measures of restoration.

Funded by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Gulf Research Program, the project offers a collaborative approach to engaging community members, technical experts, and decision makers. Together, they will work to develop standard measures of progress that can be used for all types of restoration projects to measure success, compare outcomes, and help to answer the question–—what  impact are we having on Gulf environments, economies, and communities?

The project launched in mid-April with a successful meeting of the Advisory Council, which includes key regional and state leaders in the Gulf. One of the council’s initial tasks in the coming months is to help the project team select restoration approaches—across a host of natural and built approaches—for initial model development and focused local workshops in the Fall.

For more information, please visit the project website.