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Gulf News Spring 2010
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  Quarterly newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
RESTORATION EDUCATION STAFF SUBSCRIBE
Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico © ThirdCoastPhoto

In This Issue:

Director's oil spill commentary

Ryan Fikes promoted to GMF Deputy Director

Dokken participates in conference at White House

Two from GMF attend training in Washington, DC

Reed serves on Clean Gulf Organizing Committee

GMF provides support for sea level rise conference

GMF receives $1.2 million for habitat conservation

GMF joins partners to host USVI restoration gathering

Proposals sought for $210,000 in habitat funding

SARP watershed assessment report gets high marks

Science & Spanish Club Network helps clean coast

 
America's Sea — Keep It Shining!
DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
Oil spill commentary blog
May 2010 – As a response to the Deepwater Horizon event, GMF Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken is touring the Gulf coast to observe the oil spill and the response to it. Drawing from first-hand experience, he is entering comments about his encounters as a series of daily reports on GMF's website.
   During Dokken's 20 years leading the GMF and his previous tenure as a marine science researcher and adjunct professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi he established strong contacts throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. During his journey this month, he is connecting with other scientists across Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to collaborate and compare notes on the oil spill and its effects on the Gulf of Mexico. He is also working diligently to stay up to date on progress made to cap the leak and to respond to potential damage to the environment.
   Dokken has been interviewed recently as an authority on the Gulf of Mexico by journalists from cities all around the world including Greece, London, Toronto and New York, as the international spotlight is on the oil spill and, as a result, on the GMF.
  DIRECTOR'S OIL SPILL COMMENTARY BLOG
 
STAFF
Ryan Fikes promoted to GMF Deputy Director
March 2010 - GMF Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken announced the GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikespromotion of Ryan Fikes to Deputy Director of the Foundation in March. A graduate of Texas A&M; University-Corpus Christi, Fikes brings to the job a wealth of knowledge about the ecology and habitat dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. He is currently managing two significant programs for the GMF: the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Habitat Conservation and Restoration Program. In addition, Fikes will be keeping the home office running smoothly, while Dokken travels to promote the GMF and its mission.
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Dokken participates in conference at White House
April 2010 – GMF Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken was invited to attend the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors in Washington, D.C., on April 16. President Obama was there to welcome the invitees, and conference leaders included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Council on Environmental Quality Chairman Nancy Sutley. The conference was about innovative approaches and partnerships for conservation that reconnect Americans – and especially children – to the nation's parks, historic sites, wild lands, working lands and waters. This is part of the White House initiative on America’s Great Outdoors. Dokken said the event was inspiring, informative, and offered many positive challenges.
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Two from GMF attend NOAA training in Maryland
April 2010 – GMF Business Manager Gail Sutton and GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes attended a training NOAAworkshop April 13-14 in Silver Spring, Maryland, that was put on by the Grants Management Division of NOAA Acquisition and Grants Management Office. The 2010 Financial Assistance Workshop offered interactive hands-on sessions and provided valuable information regarding award administration for NOAA grants. The Gulf of Mexico Foundation currently holds NOAA awards to support both the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership (through the NOAA Restoration Center) and Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (through the NOAA National Ocean Service).
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Reed serves on Clean Gulf Organizing Committee
April 2010 – For the third year, GMF Executive Assistant Bobbi Reed is serving on the Organizing Committee for the Clean Gulf 2010 conference, which will bring together oil spill response and regulatory stakeholders to share information, experiences and best practices. This marks the 20th year of the Clean Gulf conference, which will be especially timely in light of issues evolving around the massive oil spill currently happening in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2010 conference will take place at the Tampa Convention Center October 19-20. On April 21-22, Reed attended a Clean Gulf Organizing Committee meeting in Tampa, Florida, to help develop this year's program. GMF staff members will take part in the October conference and run a display featuring information about the GMF.
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GMF provides support for sea level rise conference
March 2010 - GMF staffers Ryan Fikes, Bobbi Reed, and Mike Smith attended and provided key support for the International Conference on Sea Level Rise (SLR) in the Gulf of Mexico held in Corpus Christi, Texas, March 1-3. GMF's Sea Level Rise 2010 ConferenceExecutive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken was one of many scientists and other professionals to give presentations at the conference. Organized by Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, the conference sought to examine the phenomenon of sea-level rise in the Gulf and to consider how people and the natural environment can or will respond.
   During the conference, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team (coordinated by the GMF) co-facilitated a special session with the NOAA Coastal Services Center. A series of quick presentations and ten-minute panels, informally referred to as “speed dating,” touched on modeling and monitoring activities ongoing across the Gulf of Mexico coastal zone, as well as on ecological and resiliency considerations that should shape GOMA SLR efforts. READ MORE
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CONSERVATION / RESTORATION
GMF receives $1.2 million for habitat conservation
April 2010 - The EPA's Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Gulf of Mexico Foundation Gulf of Mexico Alliancewill receive a $1.2 million cooperative agreement to coordinate the project “Habitat Conservation & Restoration – Advancement of Gulf of Mexico Alliance Priorities.” Funding will be used to expand on-the-ground habitat restoration in the five Gulf states through the Community-based Restoration Partnership, which is coordinated by the GMF. The new project will also seek strategies to work with counterparts in Mexico regarding impediments to conservation and restoration. This cooperative agreement is part of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Regional Partnership Projects and supports the Governors’ Action Plan II.
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GMF joins partners to host USVI restoration gathering
May 2010 – NOAA Restoration Center, Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), and Virgin Islands Conservation Society recently joined forces to hold a workshop on May 5 for establishing next steps for coastal habitat restoration priorities, initiatives and opportunities within the U.S. Virgin Islands. GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes attended for the GMF. The event was held in conjunction with the Changing Direction & Directing Change: Solutions 2 Nonpoint Pollution Conference. Topics discussed at the meeting included upcoming funding opportunities (such as the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership), the future of the Virgin Islands Conservation Society, VI-EPSCoR programs and initiatives, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project status updates.
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Proposals sought for $210,000 in habitat funding
April 2010 - To advance habitat conservation and restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, the GMF is offering $210,000 in habitat restoration funding. Results from the funded projects will provide vital support to the Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, which the GMF coordinates. The Request for Proposals includes four topic areas:
   • Mexico and U.S. policy, law and management comparative analysis
   • Local, state and federal policy & regulatory programs analysis
   • Increasing restoration and conservation on private lands
   • Cross-PIT sea level rise efforts, data needs and science
Funding for these projects was provided under a grant from NOAA's Coastal Services Center. GMF serves as contract administrator and provides coordination and support for the HCRT. Application deadline is May 31, 2010.
READ MORE
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SARP watershed assessment report gets high marks
May 2010 – GMF's Project Manager Mikell Smith received high praise for a technical report on the Sabine and Red Rivers that he submitted to the Southeast Southeast Aquatic Resources PartnershipAquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) this spring. To facilitate a review of the process employed, Smith led a web conference with SARP leadership and several key stakeholders who had been consulted during the project. The report inventories conservation issues, identifies the affected habitat and species, and recommends targets for restoration and conservation actions. This was a pilot watershed habitat assessment for SARP. Smith's final report will serve as a guide for similar efforts planned for other basins that fall under the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan developed by SARP. Scott Robinson, who coordinates SARP, stated that he anticipates future collaborations with GMF. The information that Smith's efforts gleaned from existing plans and stakeholders helps to establish priorities and implementation efforts for SARP as the agency moves forward with more watershed conservation actions. READ MORE
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EDUCATION
Science & Spanish Club Network helps clean coast
April 2010 - Middle school students from the GMF's Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN) were part of a group of about 90 volunteers who picked up 10,025 pounds of shoreline debris between Matagorda Island and the Lighthouse Lakes Trail Park near Aransas Pass during the Texas General Land Office's Adopt-A-Beach Spring Clean up. In the effort, SSCN members from the Texas coastal towns of Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Ingleside and Sinton joined other volunteers from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Keep Aransas Pass Beautiful and Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce. The SSCN's participation in the event was sponsored in part by a grant from the Texas General Land Office's Coastal Management Program Grant Cycle 15 and NOAA.
READ MORE
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