This month, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance held a three-day immersive tour into the inner workings portions of our coastal tourism industry. The effort was part of a broader project funded by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Math Gulf Research Program to increase the Alliance’s industry engagement.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has been working closely with the RESTORE Council and five Gulf tribes in applying $500,000 of settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The project supports summer camps designed to engage tribal youth in conservation, restoration and stewardship of their lands, as well as provide valuable skills and job training.
Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than 5 mm which is about the width of a pencil eraser. They are often mistaken as food and ingested by marine animals of all sizes, from tiny plankton to huge whales. The Alliance, through the Gulf Star Program, worked with Mississippi State University to conduct a Gulf-wide citizen science program.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with Federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, is hosting a stakeholder meeting on the South Atlantic Coastal Study, February 27, 2019. The SACS was authorized by Section 1204 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 to proactively address coastal storm risks of vulnerable coastal populations, infrastructure, ecosystems, and economies within the Corps’ South Atlantic Division (SAD). The study includes tidally influenced shorelines subject to damages from coastal storms and sea level rise within North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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 Gulf of Mexico Alliance recently released the 2018 Gulf Star Report. The public-private partnership supports the goals of the Governors’ Action Plan III. The report highlights programs and successes accomplished through the Alliance's Teams and Initiatives.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is cancelling the Gulf of Mexico Monitoring Community of Practice and mid-year Priority Issue Team meetings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Education and Engagement Team business session scheduled for January 23rd is also cancelled. However, the Visual Messaging 101 on January 24th in Biloxi, MS, will go as planned.
This #GivingTuesday, please consider supporting a positive campaign for the Gulf of Mexico. There are 207 estuaries, 15.6 million acres of wetlands, 8 national parks and 47 wildlife refuges in our Gulf ecosystem. It is time to showcase all the good things the Gulf has to offer. Join us as we set the foundation to Embrace the Gulf in 2020.
Our last Wednesday webinar of the year will be on Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) detection. Kate Hubbard with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will give us this timely presentation. You must pre-register to join the webinar on November 28th at 2:00pm CT.