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Gulf News Winter 2007
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 Quarterly newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
GMF to implement restoration part of Governors' Plan
In Dec 2006 the Gulf of Mexico Foundation was awarded an EPA grant to implement the Wetland and Coastal Habitat Conservation and Restoration portion of the Governors’ Action Plan.
   Under the grant, the GMF host state-lead workshops designed to advance a regional approach to habitat conservation and restoration. The GMF also organizes the Wetland and Coastal Habitat Conservation and Restoration Committee, whose goal is both to provide a document of regional habitat issues and to suggest solutions for challenges.
   The committee will develop and distribute educational efforts and build a strong habitat conservation stewardship ethic within the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
NEWS
GMF leads Regional Restoration Coordination Team workshop
March 2007 - During the week of March 5-9 the Gulf of Mexico Foundation coordinated a Gulf of Mexico Alliance Regional Restoration Coordination Team Workshop in Spanish Fort, Alabama. Under a grant recently awarded to the GMF by the Environmental Protection Agency (see article at left), the GMF is tasked with organizing and facilitating a series of meetings to be held in each of the Gulf States to identify needs and priorities for coastal habitat restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more.
 
Director keynotes at conference
Jan 2007 - The Gulf of Mexico Foundation's Executive Director Dr. Quenton Dokken traveled to Gulf Shores, Alabama, on January 18-21 to act as the keynote speaker at the Wolf Bay Watershed Watch annual meeting in Elberta, Alabama, on January 20. Wolf Bay Watershed Watch is a nonprofit group dedicated to conservation of natural resources of the Wolf Bay Watershed. In addition to his speaking engagement, Dr. Dokken was taken on a tour by boat and car of the watershed. Read more.
 
Foundation sends 2 to Orleans
Dec 2006 - Two GMF staff members, Quenton Dokken and Bobbi Reed, attended the Third National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration conference at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans Dec 10-14. Dr. Dokken served as moderator for a panel, attended a workshop, and met with members of the scientific community, federal agencies and industry. Bobbi Reed manned the GMF booth at the conference Expo. Read more.
 
CONSERVATION
NOAA launches Gulf of Mexico Marine Debris website
Feb 2007 - This winter, NOAA launched a new website featuring its Marine Debris Program, online at www.gulfofmexico.marinedebris.noaa.gov. As a response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita depositing huge amounts of debris NOAA Marine Debris Project - click to enlargeover large areas of the Gulf coast in 2005, Congress appropriated funds to survey areas potentially affected by submerged marine debris. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and Office of Response and Restoration was tasked to conduct the surveys, compile and disseminate data in an effective and useable format, conduct marine debris risk assessments, and carry out other outreach activities specific to this project. Visit the new website to survey GIS maps showing marine debris, buoys, wrecks and other navigational obstructions along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coasts.

EDUCATION
GMF S&S Clubs organize two-town Trash Parade
Feb 2007 - Members of three GMF Science and Spanish Clubs from middle schools along the Texas gulf coast joined together to march for a cleaner environment during the 2nd Annual Redfish Bay Trash Parade on Feb 17. Dressed in matching T-shirts, the students marched in two different towns, riding on a school bus from one parade to the next. During the marches, they carried themed banners, homemade posters and flags, and shouted slogans such as "Pick up your trash," and "Please don't litter." The event was part of the annual Winter Beach Cleanup sponsored by the Texas General Land Office. "The students have leaned that they share a common ecosystem that is Redfish Bay with its vast sensitive seagrass pasture," said Richard Gonzales, project coordinator, adding, "Marine debris, whether it comes from land, rivers, bays or the gulf, is caused mostly by human behavior." Read more.
Teacher coral reef workshops participants to be chosen
National Marine Sanctuaries logoMarch 2007 - In conjunction with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the GMF is sponsoring three coral reef workshop for educators this summer: two "Down Under, Out Yonder" workshops and one "Corals to Classrooms" workshop. Deadline for applying for the DUOY dive workshops to be held in July has ended and participants will be selected by March 16. However, spots are still available for the land-based Corals to Classrooms workshop to be held June 19-20, 2007. Read more.

RESTORATION
First GCRP partnership ends; next one begins
This winter marked the completion of the first Gulf of Mexico Community-Based Restoration Partnership (GCRP) that began in 2001, a joint partnership of the GMF, NOAA, EPA and the Gulf of Mexico Program.
   Under this award the GCRP partnership supported 18 citizen-driven restoration projects in all five Gulf States, successfully restoring 11,253 acres of coastal habitat. With the funding that the GMF provided, grantees provided an additional $2,830,692 in matching funds. A total of 10,188 volunteer hours were spent on the 18 projects. In addition, the partnership helped establish the GMF Science & Spanish Club Network in 16 coastal communities and provided initial support for the Wetland and Coastal Habitat Conservation and Restoration committee established by the Governors’ Action Plan of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
   As the first partnership has come to a close, the second partnership is well underway. The GCRP continues to have a strong presence in the Gulf and is branching out into the Caribbean. The GMF Science & Spanish Club Network continues to grow and is hoping to branch out to coastal communities in Mexico. The GMF is proud of what this partnership has been able to accomplish, and looks excitedly to the future and opportunities of the second partnership. Read more.

  BOARD
Board of Directors to meet in South Texas April 3-5
April 2007 - The annual meeting of the GMF Board of Directors will be held in Brownsville, Texas April 3-5. The meeting will include an afternoon field trip to a nearby marine restoration project, local speakers and a reception and recognition awards ceremony honoring Mary Yturria and other former presidents of the board. Read more.
 

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