The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Seagrass Community of Practice (CoP) was created to support the management, research, restoration, and conservation of seagrasses in the GOM. The intent of the Seagrass CoP is to facilitate collaboration and coordination among seagrass experts and practitioners. The intent is to connect seagrass monitoring, mapping, research, and management efforts; share and leverage resources and information; and compile and implement best practices recommendations.
Seagrasses have been impacted by the degradation of coastal waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Current and past assessments of the health, stability, and well-being of the northern Gulf of Mexico supports the need for a comprehensive collection, collation, and update of existing seagrass data. The seagrass research and management community has long recognized a need for comparable monitoring and health assessment data across the Gulf of Mexico. To meet this need, the Seagrass CoP has the following goals and objectives.
- Facilitate information exchange and maximize collaboration potential by providing a mechanism for connecting experts and practitioners throughout the Gulf of Mexico. This includes a broadcast email address and a spreadsheet of contacts with affiliations, and areas of expertise.
- Improve advocacy efforts for seagrass mapping/monitoring.
- Take advantage of efficiencies by providing information on current or planned activities that would allow others to collaborate or benefit from project outputs, especially new data collections.
- Foster application of appropriate mapping/monitoring technologies. This would include strengths, weaknesses, skill requirements, private sector vendors, and general costs or drivers of costs.
- Optimize data quality by serving as a location for best practices manuals and documents related to mapping/monitoring.
- Provide access to relevant grey literature, reports, and other documents outside the traditional journal publications.
- Provide input to managers, restoration officials, and other coastal resource managers on implementation and application of the outputs from monitoring, mapping, and data synthesis efforts.