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

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

Four positions open for new Sea Grant oil spill science outreach program in Gulf

The four Sea Grant College Programs of the Gulf of Mexico are pleased to release this announcement for four non-tenured track, 12-month, two-year limited term, grant funded positions related to a new oil spill science outreach program. The oil spill science outreach program will focus on the two-way transfer of information between (1) the people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico or who are involved in the protection and management of Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine resources; and (2) the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative scientists, administrators and board of directors. The candidate selected for this position must be able to understand and translate technical oil spill science results in a particular focus area (biology, chemistry, physics or public health) for diverse audiences; engage with people with different perspectives; lead and facilitate public meetings, seminars and workshops; and perform other duties as assigned.

Each outreach position will be based in a different state, report directly to their state program and the regional outreach manager and work regionally as a team. Travel throughout the Gulf of Mexico and beyond is expected. Outreach positions will likely be based in the Florida panhandle; Mobile, Alabama; Baton Rouge or Louisiana coastal zone; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Only one person will be hired by each Sea Grant College Program and separate, completed applications must be submitted to each Sea Grant College Program in which the applicant is willing to work. Applicants can apply to as many positions as desired. Only complete application packages will be considered.

Links to each of the positions are below:

Florida-based position via University of Florida (Florida Sea Grant College Program):
The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff.

Louisiana-based position via Louisiana State University (Louisiana Sea Grant College Program):

Alabama-based position via Auburn University (Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium):
Auburn University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and Minorities are encouraged to apply.

Texas-based position via Texas A and M University (Texas Sea Grant College Program):
The Texas A&M System is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer committed to diversity.

Marine mammal grants awarded

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service in partnership with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium has awarded two grants in support of bottlenose dolphin conservation and marine mammal stranding response in the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic regions.

Geo-Marine, Inc. in Plano, Texas, partnered with Applied Research Associates in Vicksburg, Miss., and Chicago Zoological Society in Chicago were awarded the competitive grants.

Geo-Marine, Inc. and Applied Research Associates received a $53,000 grant, which includes $13,000 in matching funds, to raise awareness of the importance of protecting marine mammals in the Southeast United States through the creation and distribution of smartphone applications (apps).

The apps will identify species of mammals or turtles by asking a series of questions, and according to the answers, it will give directions on how to assist the stranded animal.

Katherine McHugh, Randall Wells and Brian Balmer, all of the Chicago Zoological Society, along with Lars Bejder of Murdoch University in Australia and David Lusseau of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, received a grant for dolphin conservation research in Sarasota Bay, Fla.

The $111,000 grant, along with more than $250,000 in matching funds from the Chicago Zoological Society, will support a two-year project that aims to find out if and how human interactions with bottlenose dolphins contribute to the dolphins searching for food in an unnatural manner. The project will also describe and classify potential sources of food that humans directly or indirectly provide to dolphins and bring public attention to the harmful effects of interacting with dolphins.

Human contact with dolphins can be harmful in more ways than creating unnatural feeding habits. The dolphins can become tangled in or ingest fishing gear and can be seriously hurt or killed by boating accidents. The more dolphins are exposed to humans and boats, especially when they are rewarded with food from the humans, the more likely they are to approach again.