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Dokken serves on deepwater committee
January 2011 - GMF President/CEO Quenton Dokken
accepted a reappointment from Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy,
to serve a third term on the Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee (UDAC).
The committee was established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005
and its goal is to provide advice to the Secretary on the
development and implementation of activities related to
ultra-deepwater natural gas and other petroleum resources. The term
of the appointment covers years 2010-2012. Dr. Dokken has served two
previous terms on the committee with emphasis on environmental
protection and safe operations.
Fikes represents GMF at national conference in Washington, DC
January 2011 - GMF Deputy Director
traveled to Washington, DC, January 19-21 to participate in the
11th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment. Hosted by
the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), this
year’s conference theme was
“Our Changing Oceans,” focusing
on the need for adaptive management in a time of profound change for our
oceans. Fikes participated in sessions focused on linking science and
policy, and he helped to develop targeted and actionable recommendations
through break-out sessions during the conference. Many of the
recommendations developed by conference participants directly relate to
the Foundation’s conservation initiatives, such as coastal and marine
spatial planning (CMSP) and adaptation to climate change work done
through the GMF's Gulf of Mexico Alliance efforts.
GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes
GMF hosts Board of Directors meeting, reception in Galveston
GMF Board Chairman Wayne Johnson, left, GMF President/CEO Quenton Dokken, GMF Executive Assistant Bobbi Reed and GMF
Business Manager Gail Sutton attend the
February Board meeting. PHOTO: Mikell Smith/GMF
February 2011 – The Foundation held its first
Board of Directors
meeting for 2011 in Galveston, Texas, February 8-9. The focus was
on future projects and programs for the Foundation. On Feb 8, Oceaneering International, Inc., hosted a reception for Board Members
and friends and provided an opportunity to meet with local Galveston
officials. Events such as that provide an excellent opportunity to
spread the word about the GMF's actions and goals to strive for a healthier and more productive Gulf of
GMF furthers sediment management efforts in West Galveston Bay
February 2011 - In
collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance's
Conservation & Restoration Team, GMF has contracted with
PBS&J to conduct a regional sediment management
(RSM) plan for West Galveston Bay on the Texas coast. This effort will
complement a recently completed plan conducted by
Moffat & Nichol for
the US Army Corps of Engineers by focusing on the western portion of the
bay. One of the main causes of erosion of salt marshes and other habitats is
the lack of natural sediment supply. Modifications to these natural
systems have resulted in changes in the distribution and amount of
sediment flowing into West Galveston Bay. The plan will serve as a guide
to the beneficial use of sediment resources, including dredged materials
as well as the natural sediments in the system. Both will be identified
in the plan for use in future habitat restoration projects. Project
elements include a sediment budget, sediment transport model,
compilation of potential sediment sources and listings of prior and
potential projects. Inventory and analysis of geologic features and
morphology will support restoration project planning. One particularly
unique task will entail evaluating the carbon sequestration benefits of
restored wetlands in the West Galveston Bay area.
for the West Galveston Bay Sediment Management Project being
conducted by PBS&J. (Click map to enlarge)
Foundation, law institute partner on restoration policy assessment
February 2011 - Policies and programs designed to support habitat conservation and restoration can
sometimes inhibit their own success. For example, requirements of state and federal programs may conflict or other weaknesses may exist in the
program management systems and the laws that regulate them. To address
this issue, GMF has contracted the
Environmental Law Institute (ELI) to conduct an analysis of policy and programs intended to protect coastal habitats in the Gulf Coastal Zone.
The policy analysis will identify impediments, challenges and opportunities for improvement, all of which are main action
items for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance's
Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team, in which the GMF plays a
lead role. To accomplish the assessment, ELI will engage stakeholders,
analyze policy and develop recommendations. Involving stakeholders with a range of relevant interests will allow those most affected by
existing policies to identify the issues. To help understand the root
causes, an expert legal team will research the underlying laws, rules and
programs. This research may also uncover additional problems which can be
presented to a stakeholder advisory group. Through this approach, practical solutions and recommendations
will be technically and legally feasible and responsive to those who will most be impacted by them.
Translated GOMA documents assist with international integration
February 2011 – Thanks to support provided by the
EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, the
GMF is working to develop a more international
Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA).
As coordinator of GOMA's Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team (HCRT),
GMF is reaching across national
boundaries on issues of mutual concern. To bridge the language gap
between the US and Mexico, GMF has translated
several GOMA documents into Spanish. The documents describe the overall GOMA priority issues and action steps, as well as highlight past successes and existing projects.
To carry the efforts forward, the HCRT is hosting bi-national workshops in Mexico to
discuss habitat challenges and strategies for proactively addressing issues. The
HCRT's immediate goal is to assess state-specific
technical, management, and governance issues related to coastal and marine ecosystem and habitat-based conservation and restoration in the six
Mexican states that border the Gulf of Mexico. The next international meeting will take place jointly as part of
the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's
Gulf of Mexico Large
Marine Ecosystem project in Veracruz, Mexico, in late February.
The 2010 GOMA Accomplishments Report is an example of one of the documents that have been translated
into Spanish to aid in International Integration efforts.
Applications open for 2011 teacher wetlands, coral reef expeditions
January 2011 - Application deadlines for the GMF
educator training expeditions are coming up soon. The GMF offers two professional development workshops for both formal and
non-formal educators aboard the 100-foot live-aboard vessel Fling. The newest educator training
expedition, the Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Expedition, (IWWE) allows
participants to explore diverse habitats and communities along the Gulf coast, while learning the importance of balancing both the environment
and the economy through hands-on field and classroom activities. This
year the GMF is offering a spring trip March 13-18 (spots
still available) and a summer trip June 19-24 (application deadline is April 18.)
The GMF is also accepting applications for our Down Under, Out Yonder (DUOY) coral reef
ecology trip where educators from around
the nation dive into the depths of the Gulf around the Flower Garden
Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Educators receive resource guides with
lessons and activities to take back into the classroom. Non-divers are invited to
participate in a Corals to Classrooms program
for two days prior to the diver portion. DUOY will be
held July 9-13 and the deadline for applications is February 25, 2011.
GMF strengthens role within Environmental Education Network
February 2011 – GMF staff members
Richard Gonzales and
Suraida Nanez-James chair and co-chair three working groups
for the Gulf of
Mexico Alliance's Environmental Education Network (EEN). These working groups serve as important conduits for distributing educational
information among the Gulf States and provide ways for organizations to partner and collaborate on projects. Gonzales
chairs the Upper 33 Lower 6 working group which is focused on strengthening the connections and collaborative efforts with
Gulf watershed colleagues in the US and Mexico. Nanez-James co-chairs the Underserved and Underrepresented Populations
(UUP) working group with Greg Ira, Director for the Office of
Environmental Education in the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection. The UUP supports efforts and projects that effectively deliver programs to groups that have strong cultural
differences and that are traditionally underrepresented in environmental education programming. Nanez-James also co-chairs
the Economic Value Communication working group with Kenneth Rainer, Education Specialist for the Harte Research Institute.
This newly formed group is currently gathering ecosystem services information that can be utilized by educators to communicate
the economic value of Gulf ecosystems in environmental education.
SSCN prepares for World Seagrass Day Festival of Knowledge
February 2011 - This winter, GMF's
Science & Spanish Club students and faculty have been organizing and promoting the Second
Annual World Seagrass Day Festival of Knowledge, an event that will be held on
March 4 at the Civic Center in Aransas Pass, Texas. Last March, more
than 400 4th-6th grade students attended the first World Seagrass Day,
and this year the festival promises to be larger and more eventful. The
target audience is residents of coastal communities that are
located near seagrass meadows. The aim is to increase residents'
understanding of and appreciation for the importance that seagrasses
play in ecosystem function, including critical habitat for fish, shrimp
and crabs. This year's Festival of Knowledge will include a
distance-learning component, made possible through a new working
relationship between GMF and
Florida Sea Grant Program at Navarre Beach in Santa Rosa County. The
partnership will connect Texas and Florida through the celebration of seagrasses and sea turtles, bringing students from both states together.
SSCN students will learn skills such as measuring seagrass
at the World Seagrass Day Festival of Knowledge.
PHOTO: R Gonzales/GMF
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