Gulf of Mexico Alliance receives NOAA Coastal Resilience Award

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alliance) received a major NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant today. Two of the six Alliance teams, Habitat Resources and Coastal Resilience, will work with 10 coastal communities to foster resilience planning and promote best practices for future mitigation actions.

Tracie Sempier (of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance) and LaDon Swann (of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant) are two of the project leaders who wrote the proposal that was selected for funding.

Read more about the project.

Ready to move your community toward resilience? Join us.

Are you experiencing saltwater intrusion to your aging infrastructure?

Do you have low-lying roads that are susceptible to flooding? Finding it problematic to secure funding for projects to mitigate for hazardous events? Is it difficult to communicate the risks associated with some of these impacts?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are not alone. A recent survey revealed that coastal flooding, saltwater intrusion and risk communication are still among the most challenging issues communities in our area are facing.

So what can communities do to “move the needle” on these complex issues? Well, one way is to learn from each other. On April 19-21, 2016, the Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice will be hosting its 7th Annual Meeting in Biloxi, Miss.

This year, participants will work together on the above issues in small groups to develop creative solutions and plans for taking action in their local communities. Teams of experts in science, adaptation, extension, and communication will be ready to “roll up their sleeves” and get to work brainstorming what resources can be brought to the table, what tools can be used to visualize options, and what costs are associated with various adaptation actions.

New at this year’s meeting will be a poster session and awards program that will offer an opportunity for participants to showcase best practices and current research for topics, such as climate resilient communities, clean energy future and impacts of sea level rise on coastal and estuarine systems.

Participants will go on a field trip and learn how the City of Biloxi is tackling climate issues with new ordinances, high water mark initiatives and a commitment to the Community Rating System. Of course you don’t want to miss the Spirit of Community Awards, which recognize excellence in the field of climate communication and adaptation. To top it all off, a down-home fish fry will give participants an opportunity to network while enjoying the sights and sounds of Old Biloxi.

Why attend a gathering of this kind? Because you can make the difference in moving the needle toward a more resilient future. This year, decide to take action, commit to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and make plans to join us for an experience that will be well worth your time and energy. Registration will open in early February.

Learn more about the meeting here.

Nov. 18 oil spill science seminar to discuss Gulf seafood

The Sea Grant college programs in the Gulf of Mexico will host an oil spill science seminar, “Healthy Gulf Seafood,” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the Hardy Hall Ballroom at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus, 730 E. Beach Blvd., in Long Beach, Miss.

shrimp web

The seminar will focus on how agencies tested seafood during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and what they found. Speakers also will talk about ways that fish and other animals break down contaminants, like oil, and how scientists monitor seafood to keep consumers safe.

There is no registration fee, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required to receive lunch. You can register online  or call Larissa Graham, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant oil spill extension specialist, at 251-348-5436.

The seminar will also be available online as a webinar.

The Oil Spill Science Outreach Program is a partnership between the Sea Grant programs in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). The Gulf of Mexico Alliance manages and administers funding for GoMRI. The purpose of the outreach program is to share oil spill science with people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf.

Innovative national conference to explore how communities solve waterfront challenges

photo of sailboats in biscayne bay

Situated on Biscayne Bay, the city of Miami experiences many of the issues that waterfront communities face each day. (Florida Sea Grant photo)

As urban, commercial, and rural waterfronts across the U.S. face challenges to their continued existence and development, community leaders are increasingly finding solutions by listening, learning and interacting with each other.

That’s the impetus behind the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium, which runs this year from Nov.16-19 in Tampa, Fla.

It’s the only conference of its kind to bring together planners, property developers, researchers, elected officials, attorneys, and other stakeholders from waterfront communities to learn about local, state and national initiatives, management approaches and tools to address issues of water access and water-dependent industries.

Attendees will hear about new approaches that increase the capacity of coastal communities to balance competing uses and plan for the future of working waterfronts and waterways, according to conference organizer Bob Swett, a specialist in boating issues and waterways planning for Florida Sea Grant.

“They are dedicated champions of local working waterfronts, and they come from throughout the U.S. to share ideas and solutions, and to learn about new approaches,” he said. “Being in the company of hundreds of such like-minded souls can be quite transformative.”

This year’s conference includes sessions on redevelopment of waterfront communities, marine industry sustainability, surviving commercial fishing declines, land-use issues related to waterway management, and preserving maritime culture and heritage.

Registration for the symposium is $425 until Oct. 19. For commercials entities and organizations wishing to engage with attendees, sponsorships that include display space are available through a range of packages on a first-come, first-served basis.

Complete symposium details are available at the conference website, http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/NWWWS/index.html.

New publications and science seminar focus on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s impact on fisheries

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team is excited to released its first oil spill science outreach publications.

Oil spill sceince - seafood cover
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’s Impact on Gulf Seafood

Learn about the results of federal, state and independent seafood testing after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Oil spill sceince - landings cover
Fisheries Landings and Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico

Learn about historical fisheries landings data within the context of man-made and natural disasters. Explore why this data is important for fisheries management.

 

The Oil Spill Outreach Team will also be offering a seminar on seafood safety:

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Healthy Gulf Seafood – Nov 18, 2015 in Long Beach, MS – Learn how agencies tested seafood during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, how fish and other animals break down oil and other contaminants, and how scientists monitoring seafood to keep consumers safe. This seminar is free and open to all.

The next series of outreach publications will focus on dispersants. Click here to view upcoming science seminars that the oil spill science outreach team is offering around the Gulf. To be updated about the oil spill science outreach team activities, seminars, and publications sign up for their email list (click here).

10-year commemoration to bring new tools, storm surge markers

Biloxi High Water Marker

Biloxi High Water Marker

With the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina coming up next week, the Mississippi Coast has been bustling. There are ceremonies planned to commemorate the progress of communities, media requests from around the country, book signings, fund-raising activities and even a planned visit from former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

One non-profit organization is using the anniversary event as an opportunity to promote its new risk finder tool. Surging Seas is a searchable web-based tool that displays populations, infrastructure and assets exposed to coastal flooding. The tool shows visual displays of how sea level rise will exacerbate flooding by allowing the user to create future scenarios. Users can explore risk exposure by ZIP code at city, county and state levels.

New tools are not the only thing to be unveiled. In the commotion of the coming weeks, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant will proudly be a part of ceremonies across the Coast focusing on flood awareness. We have been working closely with Mississippi coastal communities on an event that will showcase the new High Water Mark signs that are being placed in 18 locations across three counties.

Read more about Surging Seas and the Know Your Mark campaign.

Online viewer shows values for habitats in Gulf

GecoView

 

The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Services Viewer shows, in an interactive format, the values people place on salt marshes, mangroves and oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on research results, this tool fills an informational gap in the Gulf.

Read more

Use viewer

 

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Dispersants

Join us for an upcoming oil spill science seminar, Understanding the toxicity of oil and dispersant mixtures, and the development of alternative dispersants on May 20th in Lafayette, LA. This event is free and open to the public, and will feature speakers from LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant. Additionally, there will be a question and answer period, followed up by an audience input session. To learn more about this seminar, click here.