Several Gulf of Mexico Alliance staff
an editorial by Laura Bowie, Executive Director

Were you with us this week for our All Hands Meeting in Austin, Texas? For those who were, I hope you sensed what I sensed: over 450 people working together for the good of the Gulf!

I couldn’t be everywhere all the time, but here are some the special moments that I observed:

  • There is real momentum around a multi-national collaboration effort, especially around the topics of water quality, species conservation, and habitat restoration. With any luck, we should be able to expand on this in coming years.
  • Texas has some significant water challenges that they are dealing with and innovative solutions that we can all learn from.
  • Our meeting sponsors understand what we do and are enthusiastic about supporting this work. We owe it to them to continue it!

Among countless other things, we explored ways to fund regional sediment management projects; we experienced lightning talks about water quality projects; we heard about innovative resilience efforts; and we highlighted even more data layers to add to our existing data platform (GOMOD). I also heard that two of our recent GOMA interns were at our meeting and got to experience what it means to collaborate for the greater good.

One team in particular spent a good bit of time sharing success stories from our Gulf Star projects on terrapins and birds, and another team was excited about all the derelict vessels we’re going to be able to remove with new funding from NOAA. And yet a third team will soon be able to demonstrate the benefits to insurance rates that come from marsh restoration.

We did it with an army of people that volunteer their time to plan, organize, and facilitate all the details that have to happen for such a successful meeting. All of these people have other jobs that they are paid to do, so their time spent on GOMA activities is invaluable.

Specifically, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the following Team Chairs, Coordinators, Facilitators, and Ambassadors for their extra effort in making the 2019 meeting a success:

  • Coastal Resilience – Rhonda Price and Andrew Barrett
  • Data & Monitoring – John French, Cheryl Clark, and Katie Wallace
  • Education & Engagement – Angela Underwood and Alma Jackson
  • Habitat Resources – Jim Pahl and Lauren Porceau
  • Water Resources – Jill Csekitz, Kori Blitch, and Kate Harrison
  • Wildlife & Fisheries – Robin Riechers and Mike Smith
  • Marine Debris – Caitlin Wessel
  • Human Benefits of Nature – Becky Allee and Kara Coffee
  • Integrated Planning – Jim Pahl, Rhonda Price, and Robin Riechers
  • GOMA Ambassadors –Phillip Hinesley, Larry Handley, Chris Pease, and John Bowie

GOMA only works because there are people out there that believe collaboration brings exponential results. So, thank you – you are what makes GOMA work!

A special shout-out to our 2023 All Hands sponsors – it’s because of you we can have a cost-effective meeting!

See photos from this event at