Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA)
Governor’s Action Plan II
Action Item: H-5 Reversing the Downward Trend in Ecosystem Services
The HCRT partnered with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) to study the potential effects of sea level rise on ecosystem services in Galveston Bay, Texas. Identifying the service flows for each habitat type in the Galveston Bay area, then overlaying sea level rise projections under various scenarios and time frames will provide resource managers and local officials understandable information to base development and conservation decisions on. Assessing the productivity of ecosystems in terms of ecosystem services offers a view of tangible, and often quantifiable, factors to weigh against traditional economic development parameters. This can lead to more prudent and efficient outcomes for coastal communities. In addition to providing good information for Galveston-area officials, the HCRT will use the lessons from this endeavor to promote similar projects around the Gulf.
Changes in ecosystem services from marshes were assessed based on different time frames and sea level rise scenarios. Outputs from the Galveston Bay modeling done under HCRT project Sea-level rise Affecting Marsh Model (SLAMM) Runs and Conservation Planning Data Platform Development were delivered to HRI in June 2011 so the data from that work could be incorporated. Methodologies to be used in conducting the project were initially presented to the HCRT at its team meeting held in May 2011.