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Gulf of Mexico Foundation Gulf News Fall 2009
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 Quarterly newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
RESTORATION EDUCATION STAFF SUBSCRIBE

In This Issue:

GMF Board meets in Biloxi

Director's Message

Dokken speaks at BTNEP project dedication ceremony

Candice Mottet to help with contracts, special projects

Smith wraps up SARP project with presentation, report

Reed, Fikes participate in 2009 Clean Gulf event

GMF staff attends Gulf conferences, workshops

CSA becomes new GMF partner with donation

GMF, NOAA host Caribbean restoration workshop

Eight restoration projects to receive funding in 2010

HCRT conducts working session on federal standard

GMF hosts annual youth stewardship conference

GMF staff attends conference for science teachers

 
America's Sea – Keep It Shining!
GMF programs receive two 2009 Gulf Guardian Awards
October 2009 - The Gulf of Mexico Foundation (GMF) hosted the reception for the 2009 Gulf Guardian Awards ceremony held in Biloxi, Mississippi, on October 29. Gulf Guardian AwardsDuring the evening, videos were shown featuring each awardee, showcasing the work the organizations have done to support the conservation and preservation of the Gulf of Mexico and its abundant natural resources. The GMF was honored to win two first place awards this year, one in the Bi-National category for its Spanish Science Club Network educational outreach program. GMF shared the first place award with Bi-National Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano, Mexico and The National Coral Reef Institute, USA. A first-place award in the Business category was presented to GMF and its CEO Council member ConocoPhillips for two teacher summer workshops, Down Under Out Yonder and Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise. The objectives of these programs are to leave educators with the means to actively involve their students in the learning process, to expose them to coastal ecology and coral reefs, and to share personal experiences about working and living in coastal communities. READ MORE
 
BOARD / CEO COUNCIL
GMF Board meets in Biloxi, Mississippi
October 2009 - The GMF Board of Directors held its fall meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, October 27-29. As guests of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, the Board members were given a tour by boat of the Biloxi Bay area, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Sound and barrier islands. Local experts on the marine ecology and biology of the area were onboard to provide Board members with a clear understanding of the natural resources of the area and the challenges those resources face. In the evening, the GMF and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation hosted a dinner for Board members and guests at Mary Mahoney’s Restaurant. That restaurant is located in a house built during the French occupation of the area and was featured in a National Geographic article as Biloxi’s “oldest house.” The business meeting was held on October 29, and several members of the Board stayed on for the Gulf Guardian Awards ceremony held that evening (see article above). READ MORE
STAFF
Director's Message
December 2009 - As I contemplate all that has taken place since the last GMF newsletter Dr. Quenton DokkenI am thrilled to report that the drought of South Texas has ended! In the last eight weeks we have received several inches of rain, the ponds and lakes are filling and the rivers are flowing into the estuaries. Our coastal world is green again.
   I was born and raised in South Texas and have seen droughts come and go, but nothing like the drought of 2008-09. Crops failed, natural habitats were degraded and wildlife suffered. Even the winter flock of whooping cranes in Aransas Bay was significantly impacted by the lack of blue crabs to feed on; the crab population was low because of unfavorable salinity regimes in the estuaries.
   Climatic cycles are a part of the natural order of planet Earth; but natural cycles are being impacted by human activities as are habitats, ecosystem functioning and living resources. Our planet is not pristine and will never be as growing human populations demand more consumption. Yet it is imperative that we find sustainable solutions to utilization of our natural resources, which will require sustainable productive economies to support. And, as I commented in the last GMF newsletter, we must plan on generational time scales – not political or economic time scales. Remember, the toddler of today is the adult of the year 2100. DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE CONTINUED
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Dokken speaks at BTNEP project dedication ceremony
July 2009 – GMF Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken and GMF Restoration Program Manager Ryan Fikes helped to host a project dedication
Dr. Quenton Dokken - Click photo to enlarge
GMF Executive Director Quenton Dokken speaks about the history of GMF's partnership with BTNEP.
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
ceremony at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve on July 22 in New Orleans. During the ceremony six projects completed by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) were recognized. Two of these projects were completed in partnership with the GMF: The Port Fourchon Maritime Ridge Planting project, which was funded through the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership (CRP), and the Marine Debris Removal within Barataria Basin project, which was directly funded by GMF through a NOAA Restoration Center grant. Much of the work that was completed by these projects was in response to the devastating hurricanes that ripped through coastal Louisiana some five years ago. Dokken spoke to the audience about the history of GMF's partnership with BTNEP and recognized the work that done by BTNEP staff to complete these projects. He also spoke about the need of industry involvement, of which BTNEP has received support.
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Candice Mottet to help with contracts, special projects
Candice MottetOctober 2009 - Candice Mottet joined the GMF this fall to work on special projects and contracts. Before coming to the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, she worked as Project Manager for the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she gained valuable insight on grant management and coordinated projects from start to finish such as the local Earth Day-Bay Day Celebration, Adventure Bay at Bayfest and the CBBF's Annual Environmental Awards Banquet. She was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Tempe, Arizona, before moving back to North Texas in 1994. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2006 with an emphasis in Marine/Field Biology.
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Smith wraps up SARP project with presentation, report
November 2009 - GMF Project Manager Mikell Smith highlighted issues and information from the GMF's Sabine-Red River project in a presentation he made on November 3 to the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP)Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) Steering Committee in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting was held in conjunction with the 2009 Southeast Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Conference. SARP engaged GMF to conduct the project to assess the state of aquatic resources in the two river systems, whose watersheds encompass portions of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Consulting key stakeholders in the region, as well as a host of existing management plans and reports, Smith compiled information on challenges to aquatic species and habitat along with strategies and success stories that may offer guidance for SARP’s conservation planning for the area. He acquired stakeholder input by holding 15 stakeholder meetings in four states and through an online survey he designed that received 113 responses from informed persons representing a range of interests. After receiving some feedback from SARP Steering Committee members, Smith is currently finalizing the written report. READ MORE
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Reed, Fikes participate in 2009 Clean Gulf event
November 2009 – GMF's Executive Assistant Bobbi Reed and Project Coordinator Ryan Fikes attended the Clean GulfClean Gulf Conference in New Orleans November 17–19. The theme for this year’s conference was “Preparedness and Response in an All-Hazards World,” and it reflected the challenges faced by industry and government in protecting our environment. The event marked the 19th year that the Clean Gulf Conference and Exhibition has been held. Bobbi Reed has served on the Clean Gulf Organizing Committee for the past three years, but this year marks the first time that GMF staff members have exhibited at the conference. Coffee breaks and lunches were served in the exhibit area which ensured a steady stream of visitors to the booths, and the GMF was able to introduce itself to a new segment of industry. Many of GMF's partners, both from industry and from state and federal government agencies also exhibited at Clean Gulf. Next year’s event will be at the end of the year in Tampa, Florida.
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GMF staff attends Gulf conferences, workshops
Fall 2009 – GMF staff members are always looking for ways to enhance their knowledge and increase their capacity to apply skills to their programs. With that in mind, both Ryan Fikes and Richard Gonzalez attended the conference
Restoration workshop - Click photo to enlarge
Restoration workshop participants visit a burn demonstration site at the Sand Hill Crane NWR in Mississippi.
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
“Climate Change: The Western Gulf Coast and Southern Plains” in Austin, Texas, in August. The conference brought together organizations from around the region to discuss changing landscapes for fish and wildlife resources.
   In September Fikes participated in a “Land Use and Habitat Change Plan Workshop” at University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. The workshop focused on mapping and monitoring needs within MANERR
   Also in September Gonzales attended a workshop for the 10-year review of the Texas Seagrass Conservation Plan. This event provided an opportunity for the GMF's Science & Spanish Club Network to establish the first seagrass festival, which is scheduled for March 2010.
   In October Fikes participated in a NOAA Coastal Services Center training opportunity in Moss Point, Mississippi. Entitled “Ecological Restoration of Coastal Habitats,” the workshop gave a number of perspectives on addressing ecological restoration in habitats around the Gulf of Mexico and provided an opportunity for fellow resource managers to discuss modern-day issues facing their projects.
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PARTNERSHIPS
CSA becomes new GMF partner with donation
October 2009Continental Shelf AssociatesThe GMF is pleased to welcome Continental Shelf Associates International (CSA) to its family of partners as a Gulf Protector. CSA is a multi-disciplinary consulting company that serves the ocean industry. Headquartered in Stuart, Florida, CSA supports coastal and ocean industries in science-based project permitting, environmental assessments and studies, and coastal restoration and mitigation. Founded in 1970, CSA integrates science and technology to evaluate environmental activities throughout the world. With its generous donation of $5,000 CSA is helping to further the GMF's mission of sustainable, healthy and productive marine environments and economies.
READ MORE
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RESTORATION
GMF, NOAA host Caribbean restoration workshop
July 2009 - GMF Restoration Program Manager Ryan Fikes and GMF Contract Administrator Gail Sutton traveled to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, to host the
Caribbean workshop - click photo to enlarge
Participants in the Virgin Islands workshop view Areas of Particular Concern (APC) target maps in St. Thomas.
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
first workshop dedicated to providing restoration opportunities in the Virgin Islands. This workshop, held jointly by GMF and NOAA, took place at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas. The workshop attracted about 50 individuals, largely made up of grassroots organizations and non-profits. Focusing primarily on the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership (GCRP) the workshop walked individuals through the proposal process and worked with local organizations on prioritizing habitats on the islands. Attendees discussed successful project development and funding opportunities for the region. During the workshop NOAA pointed out that there are several opportunities for project funding in the VI, but in terms of community-based restoration, the GMF currently funds nearly half of all projects. Through the workshop GMF and NOAA aimed to increase the quality and quantity of proposals that come through the partnership. "We want our project partners to know that we are here to help them every step of the way," Fikes said.
 READ MORE
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Eight restoration projects to receive funding in 2010
November 2009 – Eight new projects have been selected for the ninth year of the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership (GCRP).
CRP projects - Click photo to enlarge
GMF and NOAA staff meet with current CRP project manager in St. Croix.
Photo: NOAA
Approximately $310,000 was awarded to the eight restoration projects located around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The projects will restore vital coastal habitats that support valuable marine resources around the Gulf of Mexico. This year habitats to be restored include dune ridge, salt marsh, coastal mangrove lagoon, beach, oyster reef and seagrass beds. The projects are set to begin in January 2010. Together they will set out to restore and protect nearly 265 acres of habitat. These projects will bring the project count for the GCRP to 70 total projects.
READ MORE
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HCRT conducts working session on federal standard
October 2009 – The Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, which the GMF coordinates, conducted a two-day
HCRT working session - click photo to enlarge
Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team members discuss disposal of dredged material during a workshop in New Orleans.
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
working session addressing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Federal Standard as it applies to beneficial use of dredged materials in the Gulf of Mexico. The two-day working session, held at the Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans, was attended by about 60 individuals representing state and federal agencies, NGOs and the private sector. The result of this working session will be to develop a list of recommendations to be submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for consideration in rewriting the Federal Standard. This is only one of the many topics that the HCRT is currently addressing in the Gulf region. The HCRT is committed to addressing conservation and restoration priorities in the Gulf of Mexico from a regional standpoint by increasing coordination among the Gulf states and local, federal, business and non-profits. Upcoming workshops will address sea level rise, freshwater inflows and funding for conservation/restoration activities.
READ MORE
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EDUCATION
GMF hosts annual youth stewardship conference
November 2009 - Long-distance learning technology that utilized a theater-size screen was a highlight of the 5th Annual Gulf of Mexico Youth Leadership in Stewardship Conference held November 21 at the Civic Center in Aransas Pass, Texas. The GMF organized the event through its Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN). With a theme of “The Only Barriers Along the Texas
Leadership conference - click photo to enlarge
Port of Corpus Christi Commisioner Judy Hawley speaks to about 200 students during the GMF's 5th Annual Gulf of Mexico Youth Leadership in Stewardship Conference held November 21.
Photo: Richard Gonzales/GMF
Coastline are Islands,” the event drew about 200 students from South Texas and northern Mexico. Through a live, long-distance satellite connection, students at the event were able to communicate with conservation specialists in New Mexico, Florida, Canada and Puerto Rico. After the event, teachers reported that student were full of questions and were eager to get more involved with science to help solve many of the coastal management challenges facing the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. “Distance learning is bringing the world to the student. Through this conference, the Gulf of Mexico Foundation is bringing a new generation of youth leadership in stewardship to the Gulf and beyond,” stated GMF's Project Leader Richard Gonzales. The annual conference was sponsored by BP America, the Texas General Land Office Coastal Management Program Grant Cycle 13, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Port of Corpus Christi and the Aransas Pass Civic Center. READ MORE
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GMF staff attends conference for science teachers
November 2009 - Project leaders Doug Weaver and J.R. Jones attended the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching in Galveston, Texas, working the GMF exhibit booth and speaking to at least 300 teachers during the three-day event, held November 6-8. They communicated with participants about the functon of the GMF and about the opportunities available to them through the GMF's two annual summer teacher workshops, Down Under Out Yonder (DUOY) and the new Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise (IWWC). "Doug and I made a good team since he has been on the research end and my expertise has been in the classroom for 30 years," Jones reported, adding, "My participation in DUOY over the past 10 years has brought science to a new level in my classroom, making it more interesting to my students." This year's CAST event, which is organized by the Science Teachers Association of Texas, attracted more than 6,000 teachers from across the state. "I hope in the future we can be involved on the national level with exhibits and presentations. Each teacher we involve in a workshop will influence hundreds of students about the importance of the Gulf of Mexico," Jones said.
READ MORE
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