GOMA hosted the Gulf of Mexico Conference (GoMCon) virtual preview on April 14, 2021. GoMCon combines the annual GOMA All Hands Meeting, the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, and the triennial State of the Gulf Summit. Bringing these three meetings together in a combined conference emphasizes the important intersections between restoration, scientific research, and management of the coastal environment and economy. The virtual preview was simply a taste of the larger, in-person conference slated for April 2022.
Dr. Jack E. Davis kicked off the event with a keynote address. Dr. Davis is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.” “People who have lived beside the Gulf have a profound awareness of their love for it,” he said. “I want Americans to understand the Gulf is a living and giving sea.”
Following the keynote by Davis, three groups of panelists explored restoration and scientific advances since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They also considered emerging regional challenges including sea-level rise, harmful algal blooms, coastal hydrology, and fisheries management.
The regional experts on these topics were:
• Greg Gandy, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
• Buck Sutter, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
• Mike Sharp, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
• Rachel Sweeney, NOAA Fisheries
• Monty Graham, Florida Institute of Oceanography
• David Yoskowitz, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies
• Renee Collini, Mississippi State University and Mississippi-Alabama-Florida Sea Grant
• Megan LaPeyre, U.S. Geological Survey
• Steven Murawski, University of South Florida – College of Marine Science
• Scott Hagen, LSU Center for Coastal Resiliency
• Brian Dzwonkowsi, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The 2022 GoMCon will take place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 25-28. The Alliance will announce session topics and a call for abstracts on the GoMCon website this August.
This event was hosted by GOMA and sponsored by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, NOAA RESTORE Science Program, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Gulf Research Program, Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, Equinor, Stantec, Hess, Shell, and RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence for Louisiana and Florida.