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Gulf of Mexico Foundation Gulf News Winter 2009
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 Quarterly newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
RESTORATION EDUCATION STAFF SUBSCRIBE
© Carrie Robertson photo
Director's Report
by Dr. Quenton Dokken
Failing economies, failing businesses, growing unemployment, trillion dollar debt, etc, etc – the bad news seems to be never ending. But, there is good news beneath the headlines. The Gulf of Mexico Foundation (GMF) is still growing and making headway in our effort to advance sustainable habitats and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. We continue to be heavily involved with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance working with the Habitat Conservation and Restoration and Education Priority Issue Teams. Both NOAA and the EPA are continuing to invest grant funds in the development and advancement of the Alliance.
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America's Sea – Keep It Shining!
PARTNERSHIPS
GMF Receives $50K from SARP for regional watershed efforts
SARP
February 2009
– The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) recently awarded the Gulf of Mexico Foundation a $50,000 grant to work on a project entitled “Sabine and Red River Basins: A Regional Watershed Approach to Identifying Habitat Conservation Needs.” The project will involve working with state and federal agencies to identify current conservations issues within the two watersheds and establish a series of conservation targets. Additionally, goals will be identified to help focus resources, to set priorities and to improve coordination. This information will influence both the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan and the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. For more information, visit SARP online at www.sarpaquatic.org.
 
STAFF
Fikes conducts restoration/resiliency trip in Florida
Robinson Preserve in Florida - Ryan Fikes photo
Robinson Preserve in Florida
Photo: Ryan Fikes
January 2009 - GMF Project Coordinator Ryan Fikes traveled to Florida to conduct site visits on several of the current Gulf Community-based Restoration Program (GCRP) projects administered by the GMF. He also represented the GMF at a Coastal Community Resiliency meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. This meeting was hosted by the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and was organized to share resilience-related programs, projects and experience from the Florida Gulf Coast. Fikes conducted CRP site visits at Robinson Preserve (see photo at right) in Bradenton, Mattie Kelly and Cessna Parks in Niceville and Lost River Preserve (formerly Heart Mountain Farm) in Tampa. In addition to conducting site visits, Fikes joined NOAA colleagues in several meetings with Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary staff. There are many great restoration opportunities in the Keys and the GMF hopes to expand its project-base there in the near future.
Doug Weaver will lead DUOY Weaver to coordinate DUOY cruise
February 2009 - Doug Weaver is GMF's Coordinator for the Down Under, Out Yonder program, which educates teachers about the reef by taking them scuba diving. Weaver is a Ruth Campbell Fellow working in the laboratory of the Harte Research Institute in Corpus Christi, Texas. Formerly, Weaver worked as an expedition scientist and biologist with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. He has expertise in reef fish biology, particularly in those species that inhabit deep-water reef communities in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico. The 2009 DUOY cruise is set for July 11-15. READ MORE
Gonzales attends environmental education meeting
March 2009 - GMF Project Leader Richard Gonzales took part in a Gulf of Mexico Alliance Environmental Education Network team meeting held in
Richard Gonzales at GOMA meeting in March 2009
GMF's Richard Gonzales, center, at GOMA EEN environmental education meeting March 4-5.
Spanish Fort, Alabama, March 4-5. Environmental education is a priority of the group, which GOMA has charged with assisting other regional teams in educating the public about critical issues in the Gulf of Mexico area. The meeting focused on a social marketing study conducted by the University of South Florida that aims at changing public behavior on fertilizer use in an attempt to reduce nutrients that are released into the environment. Fertilizers are believed to contribute to hypoxia, or low oxygen levels, which contribute to the creation of "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico.
EDUCATION
GMF offers educators dive workshop, wetlands cruise
February 2009 - The GMF presents two cruises this summer for K-12 and college-entry educators nationwide, the 14th annual Down Under, Out Yonder
©Carrie Robertson - DUOY
DUOY brings teachers to the reef, while IWWC focuses on wetlands education.
Photo: Carrie Robertson
and the first annual Coastal Wetland's Cruise. Down Under, Out Yonder (DUOY), 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 aboard a live-aboard vessel. New in 2009 is the GMF's Intracoastal Waterway Wetlands Cruise (IWWC), June 14-17, which will take educators on a wetlands exploration aboard a live-aboard vessel up the Intracoastal Waterway from Freeport, Texas, to Port Fourchon, Louisiana. While DUOY still has a few spots open, the IWWC is full. ConocoPhillips is the main sponsor for the 2009 IWWC.  READ MORE
GMF SSCN presents pipeline replica to commissioners
January 2009 - Students from the GMF Science & Spanish Club Network (SSCN) from Edna, Texas, presented a 15th Anniversary commemorative replica of the Mary Rhodes Pipeline on January 21 to the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority Board of Commissioners. The presentation was a celebration of the “Humanized
GMF SSCN members pose with pipeline replica
Bernard Paulsen and GMF Science & Spanish Club members from Edna Elementary School pose with the pipeline replica.
Photo: Richard Gonzales
Watershed” project that brought water from Jackson County to the Coastal Bend region. The students will present a second replica to the Corpus Christi City Council. The SSCN is a multicultural outreach project working to bring English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students together through a coastal environmental education program along the Gulf coast. Bernard Paulsen (in photo above) was the primary motivator for the first inter-basin transfer of water in Texas which provided more water for business and industry in the Port of Corpus Christi area. More than 150 SSCN students from Edna and the Coastal Bend signed the pipeline display. Those students, who range in age from 10-13 years old, will be 37-40 years old when the water rights contract comes up for renewal in 2035.  READ MORE
RESTORATION / CONSERVATION
Eight new CRP projects underway for 2009
January 2009 - This year marked the eighth year of funding for the Community-based Restoration Partnership (CRP) in the Gulf of Mexico and the fourth year in
Coral transplantation in the Caribbean
Coral transplantation in the Caribbean
Photo: Ryan Fikes
the Caribbean. For 2009 the partnership has awarded $262,000 in grants towards coastal habitat restoration. This year’s projects are located in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. Restoration efforts will restore approximately 130 acres of coastal habitat, contribute more than 7,000 volunteer hours and leverage approximately $425,000 in non-federal matching funds. Project scopes range from coral transplantation in the Caribbean (image on right) to wetland/marsh restoration in Galveston Bay. READ MORE
BOARD / CEO COUNCIL
Marathon Oil Corporation hosts CEO Council luncheon
January 2009 - Marathon Oil Corporation hosted a luncheon for the GMF's CEO Council on January 19 in Houston. The program included overviews of 2008 activities of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation and plans for 2009. CEO Council members recognized the accomplishments of progress of 2008 and offered support and recommendations for advancing the Foundation to greater service to the people, communities, business and industries of the Gulf of Mexico through its conservation, restoration and education efforts. CEO Council and Board of Directors members all agreed that even in tough economic times the environment cannot be neglected. A primary focus in 2009 will be to diversify the CEO Council to include other industries such as agriculture, ports, shipping, fisheries and tourism. The GMF will continue to focus on habitat restoration, environmental education and building collaborative regional networks.
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