The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Service Logic Models and Socio-Economic Indicators (GEMS) project is working to standardize measures of the socioeconomic benefits of restoration. With billions of dollars forecast over the coming decade, a set of common models and metrics relevant across projects, programs, and locations can facilitate effective project planning and evaluation. The project team just completed Phase I involving oyster reef restoration.
The GEMS project team leadership comprises 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. The team completed Phase I this summer, working with diverse stakeholders to better understand oyster reef restoration. Relevant final products include ecosystem service logic models and a list of potential metrics for measuring dominant societal outcomes at local and regional scales. The oyster ecosystem service logic model and metrics are publicly available.
The GEMS project is now beginning Phase II. It will focus on identifying societal outcomes and metrics for water quality projects, as well as for additional habitat restoration techniques. The team is also working on a practitioners’ guide so that this work can continue at the local level.