The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (GCERTF), established in October 2010 by President Obama, released its Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy on December 5, 2011. Executive Order 13554 charged the GCERTF to develop a holistic, long-term, science-based strategy for restoring the Gulf of Mexico. Three federal staffers, one National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist and two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, created and led a Science Coordination Team (SCT) to guide scientific input into the development of the Gulf Strategy. More than 70 scientists from the Federal and State GCERTF member agencies participated in development of this restoration-oriented science document focused on the entire Gulf of Mexico, from inland watersheds to the deep blue waters.
The President established the GCERTF based on recommendations from “America’s Gulf Coast: A Long-term Recovery Plan after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (Mabus Report). It consists of members from 11 Federal agencies and representatives from each U.S. state bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Federal and State agencies staffed the GCERTF with experts in fields such as policy, budgeting, and science to help develop the Strategy. Responding to more than the Oil Spill, the Strategy incorporates pre-existing efforts that were addressing the challenges facing the Gulf, including those of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). The Gulf of Mexico Foundation coordinates the Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team, which supplied technical and strategic information that had already been developed. This collaborative approach capitalized on the substantial work that had been ongoing in the region, speeding the development of a robust plan. In this time of severe fiscal constraints, Task Force member agencies and states are committed to establishing shared priorities and working together to achieve them.
For more information on the Strategy please click the GCERTF logo above.