Seagrass monitoring and mapping have been sporadic and spatially limited over the decades. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010) accentuated the lack of available data and information. It underscored the necessity to convene a seagrass monitoring and needs assessment workshop to capture experience and knowledge for future generations of scientists and decision makers. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alliance) Habitat Resources Team identified this as a priority. Utilizing 2017 Gulf Star funding, the Team held a held a workshop in 2017.  The results, delivered in October 2018, recommended a Seagrass Community of Practice and tiered concept to develop an inventory and monitoring protocol.

The Seagrass Monitoring Community of Practice was created in 2018. The newly established group developed goals and objectives to address issues identified in the workshop. Two activities are planned over the next year. One addresses the need for an update and re-assessment of seagrass resources across the Gulf. The last comprehensive assessment was conducted more than a decade ago and limited in the type of data available at that time.

The second is an Alabama Seagrass Pilot Project to assist the development of Gulf-wide monitoring, assessment, and reporting standards and protocols. The pilot project can be used to facilitate technology transfer and the dissemination of products, lessons learned, and other materials for seagrass restoration practitioners.  A primary objective is to provide high-quality data to state and federal partners in Mobile Bay. The pilot project can be used to provide an opportunity to demonstrate best practices for seagrass mapping and monitoring that could apply to efforts across the Gulf of Mexico.

Download the workshop report and connect with the Seagrass Monitoring Community of Practice