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Gulf of Mexico Foundation Gulf News Spring-Summer 2009
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 Quarterly newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
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In This Issue:

First Intracoastal Waterway cruise teaches ecology

DUOY to include towed camera, Nitrox certification

SSCN connects employers with homegrown talent

Director's Report

Franklin Viola lands dream job on Palmyra Atoll

Smith presents project plans to SARP leadership

Fikes conducts site visits, participates in training

Restoration funding cycle underway for ninth year

ConocoPhillips donates $40,000 to DUOY and IWWC

Walmart contributes $1,000 for Redfish Bay education

GMF hosts regional sediment management meeting

GMF Board meeting in New Orleans features speakers
 
Photo © Carrie Robertson
America's Sea – Keep It Shining!
 
EDUCATION
First Intracoastal Waterway cruise teaches ecology
June 2009 - The GMF's first annual summer wetlands education workshop for teachers, the Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise (IWWC), took 17
Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise - violaphoto.com
GMF Restoration Program Manager Ryan Fikes, center, leads an onboard discussion during the 2009 Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise.
Photo: Franklin Viola/violaphoto.com
educators from schools across the US on a three-day exploration aboard a live-aboard vessel took place June 14-17. Starting in Freeport, Texas, the 100-foot-long modified crew boat equipped with a wet lab took the group up the Intracoastal Waterway to Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Two captains, two crew members and a cook were onboard, as well as several instructors including GMF staff members Ryan Fikes and Dr. Quenton Dokken. GMF Board Member Dan Smallwood of ConocoPhillips was also onboard, as ConocoPhillips was the main sponsors for the 2009 IWWC. JR Jones, a high school aquatic science teacher in Corpus Christi, Texas, helped plan the trip and design the curriculum. "One of my main priorities as teacher is to get kids out of the classroom. My philosophy is that science is not the questions at the end of the chapter – it is getting a little dirty and bringing things back from the field to examine in the lab," Jones explained. "Through the IWWC, our goal is to help teachers learn about the function of the wetlands and how they improve water quality and provide important habitat for wildlife. We also focus on oil and gas economics and how important the coastal area is not only for production but also for delivery in oil and gas supply," Jones said. Participants explored the wetlands using an inflatable dinghy at several stops along the route. VIEW PHOTOS
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DUOY to include towed camera, Nitrox certification
June 2009 - The GMF's summer coral reef education cruise for teachers this year has a full rosters of 18 teachers from around the nation. The 14th annual
DUOY Coordinator Doug Weaver
DUOY Coordinator Doug Weaver with the underwater video camera that the vessle will tow to record footage of marine life 150-450 feet deep at the Flower Garden Banks.
Photo: Texas Sea Scouts
Down Under, Out Yonder (DUOY), set for July 11-15, is a five-day workshop that includes two days of on-land coral reef education, followed by three days of scuba diving at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). Participants will be living aboard the research vessel during those three days at sea, since the destination is more than 100 miles offshore. The trip requires only a nominal fee from each teacher, with the rest of the cost of the trip paid for by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation and its its partners. ConocoPhillips, providing $40,000 in funding, is the main sponsor for the 2009 DUOY. During the three-day offshore cruise, the divers will visit active mud volcanoes, an active brine seep and a deep coral reef community. In addition to scuba diving, the teachers will also be conducting onboard video surveys with a towed camera system that will be lowered into the deep depths of the Flower Gardens. Led by an experienced expedition scientist, DUOY Coordinator Doug Weaver, the trip will include a live onboard video feed, allowing the teachers to watch on a monitor what the camera is recording in the water 500 feet below them (and deeper). An added bonus for the teachers will be the option to take an onboard NITROX certification course, which allows them to breath a special mixture of air during dives that allows for longer bottom times.
 READ MORE
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SSCN connects employers with homegrown talent
May 2009 - As part of a coastal workforce initiative developed by the GMF's Science & Spanish Club Network called “Living and Working in the Coastal Zone,” two job fairs were held in May to help connect local talent with local employers. The effort is a collaboration with the Texas Transportation
Living and Working in the Coastal Zone
Elizabeth Roberts from San Patricio Economic Development discusses job prospects with high school students in Aransas Pass during a "Living and Working in the Coastal Zone" event May 20.
Photo: Richard Gonzales/GMF
Institute, a part of the Texas A&M; University System that encourages development of homegrown talent. On May 20, more than 470 students circulated in the high school gymnasium in Aransas Pass, Texas, in a “Living & Working in the Coastal Zone” job fair with area employers who are hiring workers now or who will be in the near future. The following day, more than 450 parents and students in Edna, Texas, attended a second “Living & Working in the Coastal Zone” fair in the school gymnasium. Other similar events are planned for the Texas cities of Port Isabel on October 6 and in Port Lavaca in late October. All the events are sponsored in part by a grant from the Texas General Land Office Coastal Management Program Grant Cycle 13 and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Environmental Education Network. READ MORE
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STAFF
Director's Report
June 2009 - Summer is upon us, hurricane season is here, and in South Texas an extreme drought is dominating conversations, yet the Gulf of Mexico Dr. Quenton DokkenFoundation continues to move forward on its mission. I don’t know if you have ever taken the time to read the GMF mission, but basically it directs us down a course pursuing sustainable economies and environmental health and productivity. In short, we want to do our part to achieve a sustainable quality of life that we can pass on to future generations.
   I have long advocated that our planning horizon should be at least one lifetime. At a conference in Washington D.C. recently I heard one speaker comment on how difficult it was to get people to consider life in the year 2100 since the adult audiences he spoke with would not be alive in 2100. It does sound like light years away, but consider this – a baby born today will likely be alive and kicking in 2100. Just look at any newborn or toddler today and you are looking at the faces of the year 2100. It is our obligation to ensure that they will have access to same qualities of life we enjoy today – hence, the mission of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. READ MORE
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Franklin Viola lands dream job on Palmyra Atoll
Franklin Viola in Palmyra - Photo: Russell Sparkman
Over the years, GMF Media Advisor Franklin Viola has shot underwater photos on GMF-sponsored and countless other dive trips. He recently landed a job as Field Station Manager for The Nature Conservancy on Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific.
Photo: Russell Sparkman

June 2009 - GMF Media Advisor Franklin Viola worked as a volunteer on diving expeditions for more than two decades and has received numerous national and international awards for his underwater photography. After starting his career working aboard huge cargo ships in the Merchant Marine, he began to focus his love of water through the optics of a camera in 1986, producing still photography and digital video for clients who use water to tell their story or to sell their product. In June, he was hired as Field Station Manager for The Nature Conservancy on Palmyra Atoll, a small island in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles south of Hawai'i. Congratulations, Franklin!  READ MORE
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Smith presents project plans to SARP leadership
May 2009 - GMF Project Manager Mikell Smith attended meetings of the Steering Committee and Science and Data Committee of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) in May to present his plans for a watershed-scale SARP Project Area Mapstudy funded by the group. In late March, SARP awarded the GMF $50,000 to fund this work. Focused on the Sabine and Red River basins, GMF SARP study will identify threats to aquatic resources and assess the state of conservation efforts in the area of interest. Smith developed a survey designed to reveal preferences and to elicit knowledge from a broad range of stakeholders who use, manage and rely on these systems. The survey will be administered electronically via email as well as in person at a series of public meetings to be held over the course of the summer. SARP Steering Committee members approved the GMF’s approach, which aims to include all groups involved in use of the waters, the species and the lands surrounding them.  READ MORE
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Fikes conducts site visits, participates in training
Puerto Rico
Punta Tuna, Puerto Rico, site of CRP project
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
April 2009 - GMF Restoration Program Manager Ryan Fikes conducted site visits in Puerto Rico for the two of our Community-based Restoration Partnership grant projects. The site visits were to one 2008 project, "Restoration of Mangrove Tidal Channels in the Piñones State Forest and Natural Preserve" (CRP #3002C), and one 2009 project, "Community-Driven Restoration of the Coastal Punta Tuna Natural Reserve" (CRP #4001C). While there Ryan also visited with staff from the San Juan Bay Estuary Partnership and Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to discuss partnering with these organizations as a part of GMF's Caribbean efforts.
May 2009 - Fikes also participated in a coastal training opportunity May 6-7 in Mobile, Alabama, hosted by the NOAA Coastal Services Center. The workshop, entitled “Public Issues and Conflict Management,” teaches facilitation skills to be used when addressing controversial issues in diverse groups of individuals, such as resource management, protection and education. Ryan hopes to utilize these skills in helping to plan and facilitate future Gulf of Mexico Alliance meetings and workshops.
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RESTORATION / CONSERVATION
Restoration funding cycle underway for ninth year
June 2009 – The Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership is proud to announce that approximately $310,000 will be available for restoration
Dune vegetation on Galveston Island
Dune vegetation on Galveston Island takes off as a result of a GMF restoration grant to Artist Boat, CRP Project #6003.
Photo: Ryan Fikes/GMF
projects to begin in January 2010. This will be the ninth year of funding for the GCRP, which is a partnership between the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, the NOAA Restoration Center, and the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program’s Gulf Ecological Management Sites (GEMS) Program. The restoration program funds citizen-driven habitat restoration projects which benefit living marine resources and foster local stewardship throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. Since 2001, GMF CRP projects have restored thousands of acres of economically important habitat and marine resources, generated millions of dollars in matching funds, provided educational opportunities for teachers and students, and formed lasting partnerships. The Request for Pre-Proposals (RFPP) can be found on GMF's Restoraiton web page. Deadline is August 3. READ MORE  
DOWNLOAD RFP
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PARTNERSHIPS
ConocoPhillips donates $40,000 to DUOY and IWWC
June 2009 - The GMF has received a generous donation of $40,000 from ConocoPhillipsConocoPhillips to sponsor the 14th annual Down Under Out Yonder (DUOY) teacher’s coral reef ecology workshop and also the GMF's first annual Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise (IWWC), a coastal habitats ecology workshop for teachers that took place June 14-17. ConocoPhillips is a multi-year sponsor of the DUOY program. This year's DUOY workshop will take place July 11-15. The GMF greatly appreciates the support that ConocoPhillips provides to education and outreach. READ MORE
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Walmart contributes $1,000 for Redfish Bay education
April 2009 - Walmart in Aransas Pass, Texas, made a $1,000 Community WalmartGrants contribution in April to the Gulf of Mexico Foundation’s Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN) for their Redfish Bay public education and outreach efforts. Science & Spanish Clubs in Ingleside, Sinton, Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi are involved in numerous activities around Redfish Bay, a critical habitat and State Scientific Study area with its vast sea grass pastures. The GMF greatly appreciates Aransas Pass Walmart’s contribution in support of this effort.
READ MORE
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GMF hosts regional sediment management meeting
May 2009 - The GMF hosted a meeting in New Orleans for the Habitat Gulf of Mexico AllianceConservation and Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Governor’s Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). The meeting, held May 13-14, was conducted to further develop a technical framework for the Gulf of Mexico Regional Sediment Management Master Plan (GRSMMP), which is scheduled to be released within the year. The team, made up of about 30 people, also worked on organizing a workshop which will take place in September addressing the Federal Standard. The GRSMMP subgroup of the HCRT would like to see the incorporation of beneficial use of dredged materials become routine in US Army Corps of Engineers activities, which will aid in better restoration practices. READ MORE
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BOARD / CEO COUNCIL
GMF Board meeting in New Orleans features speakers
April 2009 - The GMF Board of Directors held its first quarterly meeting of 2009 on March 31 and April 1. CEO Council partner, Shell Exploration and Production, hosted the meetings at the Shell offices in downtown New Orleans.The Board heard from three guest speakers, Dr. Larry McKinney of Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Dr. William Walker, Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and Lars Herbst, Regional Director of the Minerals Management Service Gulf of Mexico Region. In the evening, GMF Board President Paul Kelly of Rowan Industries hosted a dinner at Luke Restaurant for Board members and guests. On April 1, the GMF held the business portion of the quarterly Board of Directors meeting. The next Board of Directors meeting will be held in July 2009. READ MORE
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