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,

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



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.

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap Between Oil Spill Researchers and Responders Workshop

April 14th, 2015 – Port Aransas, TX
Click here for the flyer

The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve will be hosting the Bridging the Gap Between Oil Spill Researchers and Responders Workshop on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 from 9am-3pm at the Estuarine Research Center on the campus of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, TX.

The primary purpose of this workshop is to share oil spill science and increase communication between researchers, natural resource managers, and emergency responders.This workshop is offered at no cost and lunch will be provided. For more information, please see the attached flyer.

To register, either click the link on the flyer or visit Registration is limited and closes on Monday, April 6th, so please be sure to register soon. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Monica Wilson at 727-553-3516 or Colbi Gemmell at 361-749-3156.

Webinar announcement: Climate change, community resilience and restoration in the Gulf of Mexico

climate and restoration webinar graphic announcement

Many restoration planning documents and programs in the Gulf of Mexico highlight the need to address climate change impacts as part of the restoration framework. While precedent exists on how to integrate climate change into restoration decision-making, many post-Deepwater Horizon restoration projects fail to adequately address climate change impacts.

At the same time, coastal communities in the Gulf of Mexico region are both on the front line of climate impacts, as well as the ones hit hardest by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

This webinar will bring together a panel of experts to discuss the complex intersection of climate change, community resilience and Gulf of Mexico restoration, focusing on the challenges of and opportunities for creating restoration projects that both incorporate climate change considerations and are responsive to the needs of coastal communities.

The webinar will take place from 1-3 p.m. (Central Time), on Friday, April 10.

Webinar details – View speaker list and topics.

Register for free webinar – Register to join the webinar.

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Five years later, what have we learned?

On March 18, 2015, the Oil Spill Science Outreach Team will be holding a fisheries seminar, “Oil Spill Science Seminar: Five years later, what have we learned?” This seminar is free and open to the public. Scientists will present the latest fisheries-related research about the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and dispersant application on Gulf of Mexico habitats, communities, and individual species. For more information, please click here or email Larissa Graham with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. Mar 2015 FIsheries Science Seminar