Volunteers at Terramar Beach Community plant marsh grass along the shoreline of West Galveston Bay
as part of a recent GMF CRP project in Texas.
America's Sea — Keep It Shining!
GMF follows oil spill, builds staff, plans new projects
August 30, 2021 -
Summer is cooking
and so too is the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. It’s been a busy summer with the Mississippi Canyon
252 Macondo blowout. I’ve been back and forth across the northern Gulf
multiple times and in the media around the world offering insights based
on my experience with the 1979 IXTOC I blowout in the Bay of Campeche of
Mexico. For 10 months the IXTOC well poured heavy crude into the southern
Gulf of Mexico, much of which landed on the beaches of Texas’ barrier
islands. It was the best model from which to predict the impacts and fate of
the Macondo blowout; and the Macondo spill seems to be responding the
same. In this case, we can be thankful that history has/is repeating
Unfortunately, due to the spill, the GMF had to cancel both of our summer
teachers' cruises – Down Under Out Yonder and ...
CONTINUE READING DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
CONSERVATION / RESTORATION
Deputy Director tours restoration sites in oil spill area
July 2010 – GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes visited six restoration sites in Alabama,
Mississippi and Louisiana, which the GMF oversees through its role as
administrator of the Community-based Restoration Partnership (CRP).
The projects lie in coastal areas that were potentially threatened by
the Gulf oil spill. "During the first few weeks of the oil spill, we tracked the NOAA spill trajectories to monitor
our restoration projects, which allowed us
to assist our project managers around the Gulf to determine whether they
should suspend project activities or continue as planned," Fikes said. During the
site visits he was accompanied by state and federal agency employees, local
government and non-profit personnel. They found that, although oil had hit the
shore in some places, impacts were few and far between, with
minimal damage to project sites. "This visit was extremely
eye-opening in that habitats appear to be truly resilient. The only
thing that they can’t seem to handle is us,” Fikes said.
Bayou Rebirth Executive Director Colleen Morgan and GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes at one of the restoration project’s planting sites. PHOTO: GMF
READ FIKES' FULL SITE VISIT REPORT
GMF working to compare US, Mexico policy
September 2010 – Through funding from NOAA to support the
& Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA), GMF has
recently initiated a new bi-national project that will take an
look at comparing US and Mexican policy, law and management for
conservation and restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Project partners
Environmental Law Institute (ELI) from the US, and Centro Mexicano de
Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA) from Mexico will develop a strategy for
enhanced collaboration toward HCRT goals and actions building upon the
existing system of laws, policies and institutions. The resulting
report will help decision-makers understand opportunities for and
obstacles to collaborative habitat conservation and protection; provide
guidance to what a Mexican Gulf Alliance could entail and steps to
achieve such an Alliance; and serve as a comprehensive compendium of
Mexican and US laws, policies and institutions related to Gulf of
Mexico coastal habitat conservation and restoration. This project is
part of the HCRT’s overall efforts to streamline restoration activities
and to reverse the downward trend in habitat and ecosystem services.
Partners for the bi-national
project that will compare US and Mexican
conservation and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico
Partnership to further conservation on private lands
August 2010 – In its role as administrator of the Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico
Alliance, GMF has contracted
with the Land Trust Alliance (LTA).
The LTA will lead an initiative to determine the impediments to
restoration and conservation of private lands in the Gulf of Mexico
region and to develop recommendations that could lead to increased
conservation. Land trusts work closely with private landowners
seeking to accomplish long-term conservation objectives. This project
should illuminate some of the challenges those landowners face in
that endeavor. Principals will engage other stakeholder interests as
well, particularly those that work with incentive programs within
each of the five Gulf Coast states. Given that this is a
partnership effort, HCRT members will collaborate throughout the
conduct of the project. The six-month project begins on September 1.
For more information, contact GMF Project Coordinator Mike Smith at
READ MORE ABOUT HCRT
Increasing conservation of private lands is the goal of the partnership.
PHOTO © thirdcoastphoto.com
New projects will support Gulf sediment management
– Through its efforts with the Habitat Conservation and Restoration
Team (HCRT), GMF will be awarding two contracts this fall to
facilitate projects that will enhance regional sediment management
efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The first project will be led by CH2M
Hill and will conduct an
update to the Mississippi Regional Sediment
Management Master Plan (MS RSMMP). The plan can be used by
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and others to restore and
enhance coastal marshes and other critical habitat by aggressively
managing sediments at a state and coastal level. The MS RSMMP can
also be used as a template for expanding the state-level approach to
managing sediments to that of a regional approach. The second project
will be the compilation of information regarding 12 regional sediment
management (RSM) case studies of dredging and other similar projects
to be included in the GRSMMP. The project, to be lead by Applied
Coastal Research and Engineering, will help illustrate impediments
and successes when implementing an RSM approach and is expected to
yield lessons learned toward developing improved RSM plans in the
Gulf of Mexico. Together these two projects will further the HCRT
goal of more effectively using dredged materials and other sediment
resources for restoration projects.
GMF will be
awarding two contracts this fall to enhance regional sediment
management efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
PHOTO: Carrie Robertson/GMF
GMF joins SERI’s Global Restoration Network
2010 – As part of GMF’s ongoing attempts to increase the effectiveness of
its programs and mission, the Foundation recently joined the
Network (GRN), a project of the Society for Ecological
Restoration International (SERI). The GRN offers
those in the field of ecological restoration trustworthy and hard-to-find information on all aspects of restoration, from historic
ecosystems and causes of degradation to in-depth case studies and proven restoration methods and techniques.
Through its conservation and restoration programs, GMF will work with GRN to promote funding opportunities such as the
Community-based Restoration Partnership and Habitat Conservation and
Restoration Team, communicate in forums with other restoration professionals, and act as a member of its Community Restoration Network,
which aims to bridge the gap between the discipline of restoration ecology and communities around the world attempting to restore the
ecological integrity of their surrounding landscapes.
New project with Marathon in Equatorial Guinea
August 2010 – Equatorial Guinea, a small country
on the western coast of Africa, stands to benefit from a unique fishery
development partnership forged by
Marathon Oil, Noble Energy and GMF.
The partnership will provide management and monitoring of reef projects
and an education program. Government and business leaders, professionals
and local users from Equatorial Guinea will provide extensive input.
Establishing fishery management practices to protect the abundant
resources of Equatorial Guinea can facilitate a sustainable future for
the local marine ecosystems. Indigenous peoples around the world have
been impacted as commercial fishing practices and other stresses degrade
fishery productivity. Developing a system of artificial reefs will
enhance fisheries as well as ecotourism opportunities.
GMF staff participated in a meeting
in August about a conservation partnership being forged for Equatorial Guinea.
PHOTO: Quenton Dokken/GMF
Dia Del Rio planning aims to unite border watershed
August 2010 – GMF Science &
Spanish Club Network Project Coordinator
Richard Gonzales attended a
planning meeting on August 10 with staff from the
Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) to create a watershed educational
event to engage students that live along the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo
watershed from Colorado to Mexico. Called Rio Research Roundup, the
event will include participation from more than 40 schools. On October 6
at 11 am CDT student groups from each participating school will take a
water quality "snapshot" of the watershed near their school to measure
10 chemical parameters. Results from each "snapshot" will be combined
into one study. Each group of students will record a You Tube video of
their project and plan a community awareness project to be
entered into a competition.
Gonzales, right, reviews the levee system along the Rio Grande/Rio
Bravo with David Negrete of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. PHOTO: CILA
Gonzales named head of Upper 33/Lower 6 group
August 2010 – During a Gulf of Mexico Alliance All-Hands meeting
in Biloxi, Mississippi, on August 4, GMF Project Leader
Richard Gonzales was named
of the newly established Upper 33/Lower 6 public education and outreach
working group that supports the goals and objectives of the Governors’
Action Plan II implementation. During the meeting, Gonzales, who
coordinates the GMF's Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN), presented Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Commissioner Buddy Garcia
with a SSCN T-shirt.
Garcia is the Texas state lead representing the Governor’s Office, one of five US Gulf state leads that lead the GOMA
Gonzales, right, presents a SSCN T-shirt to TCEQ Commissioner Buddy
Garcia during a GOMA All-Hands meeting.
Suraida Nañez-James joins GMF as project assistant
August 2010 - Suraida Nañez-James joined the GMF this fall to
work on special projects, assist with contracts and help with office
coming to GMF, she was a doctoral fellow at the
University of Louisiana Lafayette where she worked with NOAA’s fisheries
lab. Before that Suraida worked as a Research Assistant at the Harte
Research Institute, where she lead the Laguna Outreach Project and
worked on special projects under Dr. Wes Tunnell. Originally from San
Antonio, Texas, she received a Bachelor’s in Marine Fisheries from Texas
A&M University at Galveston in 2002 and then a Master’s of Science in
Biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2006. Her interests
include marine and fisheries ecology, invertebrate biology and
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