The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded 32 organizations US$16.8 million (~€15.6 million) to work on collaborative ecosystem science research in 10 projects.
The work is focused on research that can then be used by Gulf of Mexico natural resource managers.
The funding is part of the NOAA RESTORE Science Program and includes the following projects:
- Seagrass Conservation through Actionable Research: Management Areas for Prevention of Scarring (SCAR MAPS).
- DECORATE: Developing an Ecosystem-based Conservation framework for Oyster Reefs Across Texas Estuaries.
- Operationalizing the West Florida Shelf ecosystem model and application to red tides, stock assessment, and catch advice for Gulf of Mexico reef fish.
- Informing project design and long-term monitoring and adaptive management of large-scale ecosystem restoration to maximize natural resource benefits through the protection and enhancement of seagrass habitat at the Chandeleur Islands, LA.
- Colony Island Network Design and Implementation (CINDI): a prioritization tool to rehabilitate colony islands along the Texas coast
- Evaluating efficacy of stewardship actions for vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coastal birds through co-production between scientists and resource managers.
- Implementation of a research plan to guide decisions on place-based recreational fishery conservation in Charlotte Harbor, FL.
- Protecting Texas Coastlines from Potential Oil Spills in Galveston Bay using Drone Surveys and Maps of a New Response Effectiveness Index.
- Co-producing a conceptual model to support assessments of cumulative effects from multiple stressors on Houston area dolphins under CERCLA and OPA.
- Building next-generation diagnostic and forecasting capacity to achieve management objectives by increasing stock assessment accuracy and throughput.
According to NOAA RESTORE Science Program Director Julien Lartigue:
“To make an informed decision, research findings and products have to meet the information needs of natural resource managers. We are funding project teams where the foundation for applied science has already been built through a year or more of planning. We are excited to see these teams of managers and researchers put those plans into action.”
While Nicole LeBoeuf, the director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, stated:
“The Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant ecosystem with diverse and productive habitats. These awards represent NOAA’s commitment to providing the best available science to the natural resource managers who make important decisions about how to balance rapidly changing economic, environmental and social pressures in the region.”