Innovative partnership to strengthen local communities against storms, floods

Hank Hodde Head_shot 03-2017.jpg

(MOBILE, Ala.) – The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Smart Home America are pleased to announce a new, first-of-its-kind partnership to increase wind and flood resilience across coastal Alabama and Mississippi. This agreement aligns the common missions of both organizations through a shared staff position

Both organizations agreed to hire Henry (Hank) Hodde, a certified floodplain manager, as the planning and policy manager at Smart Home America. In this role, Hodde is supporting and leading community and policy planning for Smart Home America while he serves as the liaison for Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium focused on building resilient coastal communities and economies.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to take on this unique role and apply my experience to build bridges between the public and private sectors,” he said. “It’s really a win-win. I get to work with two successful organizations making a difference in the lives of people along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts.” Read more

Louisiana Sea Grant techniques, equipment to improve Alabama hatchery’s production of oyster larvae

High-density oyster larval culture equipment at the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory, which serves as a model for the techniques being adopted by the Auburn University Shellfish Lab. Photo credit: John Supan

(DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala.) — In an effort to improve survival of oyster larvae grown at the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory, scientists are adopting innovative techniques developed by John Supan of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory. These high-density larval culture techniques will allow for tighter control of production conditions.

This effort to help the new off-bottom oyster farming industry in the northern Gulf of Mexico is being funded by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission with support from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Louisiana Sea Grant.

Currently, Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory is one of only a handful of hatcheries producing oyster larvae and seed in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the primary provider of seed for the off-bottom oyster aquaculture industry in Alabama. In addition, it provides seed and eyed larvae to growers and researchers in the region. In 2014, for example, the shellfish lab produced over 188 million eyed larvae and over 12 million oyster seed. Read more

Red snapper research funding opportunity

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The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is accepting proposal submissions to estimate the abundance of red snapper in the U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico. MASGC anticipates funding one proposal at a level of $9.5 million plus a non-federal match requirement of $2.5 million. Proposals from institutions of higher education are welcome.

This funding opportunity is to develop an independent abundance estimate of Age-2 and older red snapper. The successful applicant will determine the absolute abundance of the red snapper population by habitat type, including artificial reefs, natural reefs and unclassified habitats. The design must include mark-recapture tagging and advanced technology methods.

A letter of intent is required to submit a full proposal and is due by 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 7, 2017. The proposal submission deadline is 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 9, 2017.

A webinar will be held to discuss this funding opportunity on March 31 from 1-2:30 p.m. CDT. Please visit the MASGC red snapper RFP webpage for instructions on how to participate in the webinar.

Register now for Bays and Bayous

Registration is now open for the 2016 Mississippi-Alabama Bays and Bayous Symposium.

 

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Oil Spill Outreach Team gets three more years of funding

Great news, friends — the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) has agreed to continue funding our Oil Spill Science Outreach Team for three more years! Read all about it in a staff blog by Larissa Graham, part of the outreach team.

Oil spill outreach team photo

Red snapper funding opportunity announced

A lucky anglers hauls in a red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida Sea Grant agent Betty Staugler readies a red snapper for return to its depth using a spring-loaded descending device. (Florida Sea Grant photo)

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, on behalf of the Sea Grant college programs in the Gulf of Mexico region and NOAA Fisheries, is accepting proposals to develop an experimental design(s) that will be incorporated into larger advanced technology and mark-recapture requests for proposals planned for Fiscal Year 2017.

The deadline for letters of intent for the design phase of this research effort is 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, June 3, 2016.

The design will be used to assess the population of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) on artificial reefs and other structures, and as the basis for a Gulf-wide estimate (with estimates also produced for natural habitats) of absolute abundance.

The red snapper is a popular target of anglers and the commercial fishing industry throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Historical overharvesting resulted in a depleted population, but under current management measures the population is recovering, with full recovery expected by 2032.

Some controversy surrounds the current stock assessment for red snapper, particularly with regard to accuracy of population estimates on artificial reefs and other structures considered to be difficult to sample using trawl surveys.

For detailed information, go to http://masgc.org/funding/red-snapper

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.

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.