Gulf of Mexico Alliance
Building Partnerships for a Healthier Gulf
March 2021
Updated seagrass information is now available
The 2020 Seagrass Status and Trends Update compares seagrass coverage change in each of the five Gulf states between 2002 and 2017. Information was gathered from seagrass researchers and managers, analysis and mapping of available data, and an inventory of seagrass projects and reports.
 
The last complete seagrass assessment was completed over a decade ago and was limited in the type of data available at the time. The assessment also pre-dated tropical events in 2004-2006, which severely impacted seagrass coverage in several states. Providing updated information on seagrass status and trends to scientists, managers, and decision-makers will inform research and response to events that affect seagrass coverage and health.
 
This project was led by the Habitat Resources Team and funded through GOMA’s Gulf Star Program with support from Shell.
Embrace the Gulf 2021 campaign welcomes Hess as a new partner
GOMA is pleased to announce that Hess is the newest partner to join our Embrace the Gulf 2021 campaign. “The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has been a great partner for Hess and a great champion for the Gulf of Mexico. We recognize the need to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy Gulf and are proud to be part of the Embrace the Gulf campaign,” says Joel Noyes, Senior Manager, Hess Government & External Affairs.
 
This year’s campaign goal is to turn awareness into action through easy steps that make a difference in coastal communities, habitats, and wildlife. With weekly social media messages, the Alliance is sharing ways to volunteer, help wildlife, get outside, and more. This effort would not be possible without our strong partnerships with Shell, Clean Gulf Associates, and Hess.
 
Becky Ginn, Development Director for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, has already seen an enthusiastic response to this year’s messages. “Inspired by the Embrace the Gulf initiative, people are finding new ways to share their time, talent, and passion for the Gulf by volunteering with local environmental organizations in their communities,” she said.
 
To learn more about the Embrace the Gulf campaign or to get involved, please visit our website.
GOMA 'sits down' with GOMCON keynote speaker Jack Davis for a virtual Q&A
Jack Davis, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea," will be the keynote speaker for the Gulf of Mexico Conference Virtual Preview on April 14th, 2021. Below is an excerpt of our Q&A with Davis to get you in the mood for the upcoming keynote. The complete Q&A is here.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing The Gulf?
Deciding how to organize the Gulf’s history was probably the greatest challenge. I wanted Gulf nature rather than the human story to drive the narrative, although I didn’t want to leave the human experience out. Ultimately, I decided the best approach was to organize the book’s chapters around natural characteristics of the Gulf while maintaining a chronology that is roughly consistent with human history.
 
What are two words would you use to describe the Gulf of Mexico? Why do those words resonate with you?
Living and giving. I want Americans to understand that the Gulf is a living and giving sea. It will always give generously to us if we allow it to live freely, and if we remember that when we’re walking its shores, fishing its waters, or smiling at its birds and sunsets, then I think we’re apt to discover a spiritual connection with the Gulf.

The Gulf of Mexico Conference (GoMCon) “virtual preview” is less than a month away! GoMCon will be held virtually on April 14, 2021, from 10 am-1 pm CT, and will be a preview to the in-person 2022 event. To view the up-coming virtual preview schedule and register to attend, please visit https://gomcon2021.dryfta.com.
GOMA hosts workshop to prioritize oyster data needs
This month, GOMA hosted a virtual workshop with over 80 stakeholders from around the region to prioritize data important for oyster management. Speakers also shared information from the Restore Gulf Coast Monitoring and Assessment Portal and the Esri Living Atlas.
 
This workshop continues to build on data needs, gaps, and barriers to access identified in the Oyster Data Sharing Blueprint and GOMA’s regional data sharing strategy. It also supports GOMA’s capacity for data sharing and integration through the Gulf of Mexico Open Data Platform (GOMOD). Launching in June, GOMOD will initially connect users to regionwide seagrass data. Oyster data will be added over the next year based on input from the workshop.
Partner News
The Great Snapper Count finds 110 million red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico
The Great Snapper Count, lead by Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, has found that the Gulf of Mexico is home to over 110 million red snapper. This assessment is three times more than previous estimates. To read the full article, visit here.

NFWF's 2021 National Coastal Resilience Fund seeking Request for Proposals
Through the new 2021 National Coastal Resilience Fund, NFWF is funding the logistics and restoration of natural and nature-based solutions to help protect and quickly improve coastal communities from the effects of natural hazards. Pre-proposals are due Wednesday, April 7th by 11:59 PM ET. To learn more, visit their website.

FloodWise Communities is seeking free stormwater system vulnerability assessments for Gulf Coast communities
FloodWise Communities is providing free stormwater system vulnerability assessments for Gulf Coast cities. Participating communities will receive an assessment of their stormwater system’s vulnerability to extreme weather and potential impacts to residents, including socially vulnerable populations. Apply by March 31 here. FloodWise Communities is funded by the NAS Gulf Research Program.

A Gulf-wide restoration plan to address Deepwater Horizon impacts on marine life
NOAA and the Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group are seeking public input on their first draft restoration plan. Eleven new projects, totalling nearly $100 million, are proposed to support the restoration of sea turtles, marine mammals, oysters, and birds. More information on the proposed projects, public comment, and meetings is available here.

Texas General Land Office launches Clean Coast Texas website
The Texas General Land Office, in partnership with members of the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, has launched the Clean Coast Texas website. This comprehensive online resource provides information to help coastal communities protect water quality and reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff. 
2021 Virtual Events
Selected virtual events include:

GOMA Wednesday Webinar
March 31st, 2021

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Forum Webinar: Paddle the Gulf
April 1st, 2021

EPA Office of Environmental Justice Redlining and the Climate Crisis Webinar
April 6th, 2021

Texas Land Trust Council 25th Annual Texas Land Conservation Virtual Conference
April 14th-16th, 2021

GOMA Gulf of Mexico Conference (GoMCon) Virtual Preview
April 14, 2021

Find these and other virtual activities on our events page.
1151 Robinson Street, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
For newsletter submissions contact Devany.tyler@gomxa.org
January 2021