by Dr. Quenton Dokken
The world is changing! Since I last
reported we have seen great upheaval in the economic condition
of the United States – really the entire world. This upheaval
began as a spectator sport as we all watched the ups and downs
of the stock market, but it quickly spread from a curiosity on
TV to real impact upon the individual bank account. Massive
amounts of tax dollars are being dedicated to solving this
real-time economic crisis. As a result, this could have
significant impacts on philanthropic giving in the coming year.
Still, the GMF continues to play a major
role in the efforts to conserve the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean
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America's Sea – Keep It Shining!
Gulf Guardian celebrates 20 years
Gulf Guardian Awards past and present officials blow out the candles for the 20th anniversary.
October 2008 - The Gulf of Mexico Foundation
hosted the reception and awards ceremony for the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program's Gulf Guardian Awards
which took place in New Orleans on Oct 29. This year's awards held a special
significance as they were awarded in conjunction with the Gulf of
Mexico Program's 20th anniversary. Participating in the ceremony were GMF founding board members
Joe Dial and Colie
Donaldson for their contributions as former Gulf Guardian Awards' Advisory Committee
Chairmen. GMF's Dr. Quenton Dokken and Bobbi Reed also attended the
event. A video presentation that chronicled the program's past
20 years was followed by a special anniversary cake.
BP America donates $30,000
to buy GMF staff car
November 2008 –
Thanks to the generosity of BP America, the GMF has its own
"company car," a 2009 Scion XB. GMF board member and BP
employee Marti Powers provided a surprise end-of-year donation of $30,000 so that
the Foundation could purchase a vehicle for business use. The gift is a
tremendous value to the GMF Spanish & Science Club Network and to the
Foundation as a whole.
GMF's Bobbi Reed, Ryan Fikes and
Richard Gonzales pose with the GMF's new 2009 Scion XB purchased
with funds donated from BP America.
Photo: Quenton Dokken
Staff attends Restore America's Estuaries conference
October 2008 – GMF's Ryan Fikes and Bobbi Reed attended this year’s
Restore America’s Estuaries meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, where
they displayed an exhibit on GMF programs and projects. More than 900
people attended this year’s event, which represents the largest
gathering to date. During a pre-conference field trip, Fikes visited
several Cape Code restoration projects and compared notes with other
resource managers about restoration needs and techniques. The GMF not
only participated in this year’s event, but helped to sponsor the
conference. The GMF plans to play a key role in the next RAE conference
to be held in Galveston, Texas, in 2010.
GMF's Bobbi Reed and
Ryan Fikes at the GMF booth during the RAE conference in Rhode
Island this fall.
Executive Director travels to Mexico for summit plans
October 2008 –
In early October, GMF's Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken traveled to Tuxpan, Mexico, to meet with
Secretary of Tourism and Culture Ivan Hillman and other members of
Governor Fidel Herrera’s staff to discuss plans for the second
State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit which will take place in Veracruz
in February 2009. One of the goals for the Summit is
to have strong participation by mayors of coastal communities, both on
the Mexican side and the US side of the border. Dokken will make a
return trip to Mexico November 12-15 with a
US delegation representing federal and US state representatives and
members of academia. The first summit was held in Corpus Christi,
Texas, in 2006.
GMF participates in GOMA all-hands annual meeting
August 2008 –
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) held its annual "all-hands" meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas, Aug 20-21. GMF
Board President Paul Kelly gave an opening speech and the GMF, as a
part of its grant from the
Environmental Protection Agency, hosted and
coordinated conference pre-meetings and conference sessions. GMF's Dr. Quenton Dokken, Ryan Fikes, Bobbi Reed
and Richard Gonzales attended the conference and meetings. The GMF and the Port of Corpus Christi
hosted a dinner for representatives from the Governor’s office in Veracruz, Mexico, local and State dignitaries, and officials with the
Port of Corpus Christi and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The social evening provided an
opportunity for Cesar Gonzalez, Director of Tourism for the State
of Veracruz, to provide updated information on the plans for the 2009
Veracruz State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit.
GMF President Paul Kelly gave the
opening speech at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance "all-hands" meeting
in Corpus Christi, Texas, Aug 20-21.
Dokken reappointed to DOE's deepwater committee
August 2008 – GMF's Executive Director
Dr. Quenton Dokken was approved for a second term
to the Department of Energy’s Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee,
which provides advice to the Secretary of Energy on the development and implementation of activities related to ultra-deepwater natural gas and other petroleum resources. As a member of the committee, Dokken will review the draft annual plan for the program and participate in development of specific written recommendations to the plan.
Previously serving on the committee in 2007-2008, Dokken's new term will run from
2008 through 2010.
GMF's SSCN receives
funding from various sources
November 2008 - The GMF
Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN) is a multicultural outreach
project working to bring English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students
together through a coastal environmental education program
Gulf coast. Funding from several agencies have made this
innovative program possible. This year, the Texas General Land Office
Coastal Management Program (CMP) granted $52,000 to the project. For next year, the GLO
has pledged another $99,900. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance's
Environmental Education Network awarded the SSCN $30,000 for
2008-10 to expand the program to two sites in Louisiana and two sites
in the upper Gulf watershed states. Still more funding came via a $4,000 grant for the second year in a row from the City of
Port Isabel Economic Development Commission to conduct the Bahia Grande
Limpienato Parade and Coastal Cleanup in Port Isabel the first Saturday
GMF Science & Spanish Club brings English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students together
to learn about the marine environment through experiences such as
this Audubon's Rookery Island Cleanup field trip held in October in Texas.
Teacher wetlands cruise planned for Summer 2009
- In addition to sponsoring its annual Down Under, Out Yonder coral
reef education teachers' dive workshop this summer, the GMF is currently
designing an additional educational opportunity for teachers which is a
cruise that focuses on coastal ecology and wetlands. Starting in
Freeport, Texas, the teachers will cruise on a live-aboard boat down
the Intracoastal Waterway, learning about the habitats they pass on
their way to New Orleans, Louisiana.
GMF staff conducts week-long site visits in Caribbean
August 2008 - GMF Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken and
Project Coordinator Ryan Fikes traveled to the US Caribbean Territories
of Puerto Rico and St. Thomas to conduct site visits on several of the
current Community-based Restoration Partnership (CRP) projects.
Daphne Macfarlan of NOAA’s Restoration Center joined Dokken and
Fikes on the trip. Projects visited included the
Red Hook Salt Pond
Restoration Project (#1004C) and the Marine Debris Removal and
Monitoring Effort at Cas Cay (#2002C) on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Two other sites visited were the Tire Removal for Elkhorn Coral
(#2001C) project in Rincon, Puerto Rico, and the
Mangrove Channels in Piñones National Forest Project (#3002C) in Loiza,
Puerto Rico. In addition to site visits, they organized several
meetings with local conservation groups in the area to discuss how to
promote restoration efforts in the Caribbean Territories. These
meetings were instrumental in the formation of the new Virgin Islands
VIEW SLIDE SHOW
NOAA's Daphne Macfarlan, GMF's
Ryan Fikes and GMF's Dr. Quenton Dokken pose with Caribbean project
manager during site visit.
Hurricanes take a toll on CRP projects across Gulf
The Fourchon Dune and Beach
Restoration Project (#7003) in Louisiana was one of several GMF
restoration projects that suffered damage due to Hurricane Gustav. The
photos above show before
and after views of an area where new plants and filter tubes, which
rebuild dunes, were completely destroyed.
September 2008 – Hurricane Ike tore through
the Gulf of Mexico on September 26, leaving behind it a tattered
coastline and significant habitat loss. Several of the GMF’s
Community-based Restoration Partnership (CRP) projects were affected by
the storm, and at least one of them was completely destroyed. The
Fourchon Dune and Beach Restoration Project (#7003) near Thibodeaux,
Louisiana, lost much of its restored dunes and associated filter tubes
in the storm surge from Hurricane Gustav, but staff are already working on replacing lost
material and moving the project forward. Artist Boat’s
Gateway to the
Gulf Project (#6003), with the majority of its Galveston-area work
destroyed, has recently moved its work from Galveston to the Port
Isabel area in south Texas. The Peveto Sand Fencing Project (#7004) in
Jennings, Louisiana, lost all of its installed sand fencing and
continues to face difficulty accessing project sites. The GMF is
encouraging and supporting these CRP project leaders as they push forward and continue to work towards restoring valuable
Habitat restoration team moves into new NOAA grant
August 2008 – The Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team (HCRT), a work group
coordinated by the GMF, recently
completed an EPA Gulf of Mexico Program grant and has received
funding from the NOAA Coastal Services Center to continue its work.
The new grant designates over $800K to provide a strategy for
protecting the quality of life in coastal habitats of the Gulf of
Mexico region by working with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance in
addressing the Wetland and Coastal Conservation and Restoration action
of the Governor’s Action Plan. The GMF also
partners with the Nature Conservancy in addressing sea level rise and
coastal response, as well as with Texas Parks and Wildlife in addressing
long-term framework for the management of freshwater resources as
additional grant components.
GMF Board of Directors meets in Alabama
During the GMF Board of
Directors meeting held in Alabama in July 2008, GMF board members and
associates toured the Shell Exploration and Production Company’s
Yellowhammer Gas Processing Plant in Coden, Alabama.
-The GMF Board of Directors held its summer meeting
in Point Clear, Alabama, July 28-29. The trip began with a tour of the Shell Exploration and Production
Company’s Yellowhammer Gas Processing Plant in Coden. The
next day the board approved and welcomed two new members, David McBride with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
and Dan Smallwood with ConocoPhillips. The rest of the morning was
devoted to presentations and discussions relative to the Gulf of Mexico
Alliance, with a presentation from Dr. William Walker, Director of the
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The GMF manages and
coordinates the Gulf state-led activities relevant to habitat
restoration and conservation for GOMA. Following the board's business
meeting, Shell Exploration and Production Company hosted an evening
reception during which the GMF shared its mission, goals and activities with local dignitaries and
area environmental groups.
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