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Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative News pages report on activities, news items, and issues related to Gulf science and education. Please visit our newsstand (gomurc.fio.usf.edu/phocadownload/gomurc_newsstand-v051816.pdf) for much more news from Gulf partners.

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Following last month’s release of the Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Statement, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees have issued a Record of Decision. This explains their decision to select the comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration alternative evaluated in the plan as their approach for restoration implementation. If the court approves the global settlement currently filed by the Department of Justice, the Trustees can begin to develop project-specific restoration plans based on the guidelines established by the final plan.

 

The Florida Institute of Oceanography has announced the release of their second RFP. RFP II # FLRACEP-2016-01 is focused on comprehensive ecosystem monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico region. Proposals are due June 3, 2016 at 5:00PM ET. For more detail, see the FL RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence RFP II website. The RFP can be viewed in its entirety here.  

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Program is hosting two new seminars in April. Detail below:

 

Chilling with your chums: How did the oil spill impact Gulf Fisheries?

April 6, 2016 in Austin, TX

To register: https://gulfseagrant.wordpress.com/oilspilloutreach/presentations/chilling-with-your-chums/

During this social, local scientists will speak about the impact that the oil spill has had on managed fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

Questions: Contact Chris Hale with Texas Sea Grant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 361.825.6215 or Larissa Graham with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 251.348.5439.

 

Where did the oil go?

April 14, 2016 in Mobile, AL
To register: https://gulfseagrant.wordpress.com/oilspilloutreach/presentations/oil-spill-science-seminar-where-did-the-oil-go/

Scientists will discuss where the oil went through out the Gulf of Mexico. Topics being covered include transport of oil, oil recovery, the natural breakdown of oil as well as breakdown due to weathering, marine snow, and oil in the water column and on the seafloor. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

 

Questions: Contact Monica Wilson with Florida Sea Grant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 727.553.3516 or Larissa Graham with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 251.348.5439.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration

Looking for all the potential Restoration funding opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico? The NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program is currently hosting a calendar on their website that has just that. The three year calendar contains information on currently planned future opportunities for programs in the Gulf region that have received funding as a consequence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The calendar and more details can be found here. Additional opportunities and details may be released as funding programs develop. 

 

Consortium for Ocean Leadership and Sea Grant are hosting a workshop titled, Sharing Oil Spill Science with Non-Scientists: Effectively Communicating Complex Research Results through Outreach and Education Programs prior to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. Registration to the conference is not necessary to attend the workshop. If you are interested in attending, you can find a full agenda here. The workshop is in the Grand Salon I at the Marriott Tampa Waterside on February 1 from 12:30pm-5:15pm.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals for their Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP). The GCCGP supports priority conservation needs of the Gulf that are not otherwise expected to be funded under NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund or other funding opportunities associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Program priorities are to support critical gaps in Gulf Coast conservation and catalyze conservation solutions through innovation and technology. Please see grant request page for project metrics.

The GCCGP anticipates awarding $3-$5 million in grants, each typically ranging from $50,000 - $250,000 lasting 12-24 months. There is a minimum 1:1 match requirement. Full proposals are due January 28, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST. Awards expected to be announced May 2016.

 

Additional details, including how to apply can be found here

Tagged in: Deadline funding

Today, the Department of the Treasury final rule implementing the RESTORE Act was published in the Federal Register. This rule combines the comprehensive interim final rule and the Louisiana Parish Allocation Formula interim final rule.  The interim final rules will remain effective until February 12, 2016.  At that, time the final rule is in effect. The final rule takes into account public comments provided to Treasury on the comprehensive interim final rule. The Federal Register final rule document can be found here

The National Academy of Science has announced the 9 recipients of their 2015 Gulf Research Program data synthesis grants. These total more than $4.4 million. A list of award recipients, grant research topics and summaries can be found here

Tagged in: data funding NAS research

On Wednesday, December 9 at 10:00 am CT, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) will meet to vote on the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) and the Spill Impact Component Rule in accordance with the RESTORE Act. The public is invited to attend. Open house begins at 9:00 am CT. Meeting agenda and other important materials, such as comments received and the initial FPL being voted on are now available on the Council’s website. The meeting is being held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center: 2350 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, MS 39531. 

GOMRI awards $38 million to Study Effects of Oil on the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) Research Board announced it will award nearly $38 million to study the effects of oil on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and public health. A total of 22 research proposals are being funded under this most recent GOMRI program. This round of funding is in response to GOMRI’s fifth RFP and will support research during 2016-2018. To see a full list of the funded principal investigators, their institutions and their proposal titles, see the official press release found here.

 

 

 

NOAA Ocean Exploration Funding Opportunity

“NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration & Research (OER) is soliciting pre-proposals followed by full proposals for bold, innovative, multi-partner, interdisciplinary ocean exploration projects in the following areas of interest: 1) physical, chemical and biological characterizations of unknown or poorly known regions of the deep ocean, especially areas deeper than 500 m. 2) baseline characterization of marine archaeological resources at any depth; and 3) technology that advances ocean exploration and has application to NOAA related missions. Through this announcement, NOAA OER anticipates the availability of approximately $3 million. The actual funding amount is contingent upon FY 2016 Congressional appropriations. OER estimates making 3-10 awards that will range from about $50,000 to $1.5 million. Funding for ship or submersible assets, if required, must be included in the proposal. Leveraging with ship time supported outside of this funding opportunity is strongly encouraged.”

 

For more information, see the grant information found here

Tagged in: funding GOMRI NOAA

Updated Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan Released

The Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (ICCOPR) released an updated version of the Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan (OPRTP) for FY 2015-2021. As stated in the executive summary, the purpose of this version is to “provide current assessments of the oil pollution research needs and priorities. ICCOPR intends to update this OPRTP every six years to reflect advancements in oil pollution technology and changing research needs.” This version contains 2 parts, the Oil Pollution Research section explains why this research is needed and presents the Oil Pollution Research Categorization Framework. The second section, Establishing Research Priorities, presents research needs. The full report can be found here.

 

 

Sea Grant Seminar, Dec 8, “Exploring Oil Spill Impacts in the Deep Gulf of Mexico”

 

Sea Grant is hosting a seminar, “Exploring Oil Spill Impacts in the Deep Gulf of Mexico” on December 8th in Corpus Christi, TX. The seminar is free to attend and also available as webinar if you are unable to join in person. More details on the seminar including registration, webinar information and a list of speakers can be found here

Tagged in: outreach science webinar

Interested in how the Deepwater Horizon impacted the Gulf of Mexico and the species that live there? View GOMURC’s Prezi presentation, Deepwater Horizon: By the Numbers. This presentation highlights statistics from the “Plan for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resources Injury Restoration: An Overview” report released by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council.

 

We encourage you to review the Trustees’ Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and submit public comment, now being accepted through December 4, 2015.

 

 

New to Prezi? Directions:

·         Click on the following link to bring you to our presentation. You do not need an account to view the Prezi.

o   http://prezi.com/wurdl44vtce3/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

·         You can view the presentation in 2 ways, in the standard window you’re brought to simply by clicking the link or in full screen mode by selecting the square like icon in the bottom right corner of the presentation window. Views best in full screen mode.

o   To procced through presentation use the right and left arrows at the bottom of the presentation window. If in full screen mode hover your mouse over the very bottom of the presentation to bring up these arrows. You can also use the left and right arrows on your keyboard.

o   To zoom in for a closer look, hover mouse over right side of presentation until + and – show or use rollerball on mouse.

o   To explore the content outside of the set presentation flow, with your mouse over the presentation screen, left click and hold to drag the screen where you want to go.

 

§  Simply click the right arrow to pick up where you left off in the presentation. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) are holding public meetings seeking comments on the proposed Consent Decree with BP and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PDARP/PEIS). Meetings listed below.

Long Beach, MS

Oct. 20, 2015;  5PM-9PM

730 E Beach Blvd, Long Beach, MS 39560

 

New Orleans, LA

Oct. 22, 2015;  5PM-9PM

South Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

 

Mobile, AL

Oct. 26, 2015;  6PM-10PM

26 N Royal St, Mobile, AL 36602

 

Pensacola, FL

Oct. 27, 2015;  6PM-10PM

201 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502

 

Saint Petersburg, FL

Oct. 29, 2015;  5PM-9PM

333 1st St SE, St Petersburg, FL 33701

 

Galveston, TX

Nov. 10, 2015;  6PM-10PM

5400 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77551

 

Washington, DC

Nov 18, 2015;  5PM-9PM

1515 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

For more details on the Consent Decree visit http://www.justice.gov/enrd/deepwater-horizon and on the Draft PDARP/PEIS, visit www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

 

Written comment be submitted through December 4, 2015:

For the Consent Decree:

  • Online: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/deepwater-horizon
  • By U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, D.C. 20044-7611, and should refer to  U.S. v. BP Exploration and Production et al, Civil No. 10-4536 (E.D. La.)  (centralized in MDL 2179:  In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2012), D.J. Ref. 90-5-1-1-10026

 For the Draft PDARP/PEIS:

 

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced that the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) has been selected as their state’s RESTORE Research Center of Excellence.

MBRACE is a consortium made up of Mississippi’s four major research institutions: the University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, the University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. The University of Southern Mississippi will serve as the lead institution with the MBRACE program administered within the University’s Center for Gulf Studies.

 

Full press release can be found here

Stated in the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s press release

“On Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) posted for public and Tribal comment and review proposed regulation to implement the Spill Impact Component of the RESTORE Act. The regulation will establish the formula allocating funds made available from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund) among the Gulf Coast States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas pursuant to Sec. 1603(3) of the RESTORE Act.

 

This proposed regulation, is available for public and Tribal review and comment through Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.”

 

The draft regulation can be viewed here. Public comment can be submitted here,  by mail, email, or in person. 

ELI releases a new set of educational materials on Gulf restoration targeted for people unfamiliar with the restoration process. The materials focus on the natural resources damage assessment (NRDA), the RESTORE Act, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funds. Included are one-page summaries for each of the processes, a one-page overview of all three processes, and a guide to public commenting

Abstract Deadline Extended for Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference

The deadline to submit your abstract for an oral presentation to the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference has been extended to September 24, 2015 at 11:59PM Pacific. Abstracts received after this date will be considered only for poster presentations.

Submit an abstract here.

 

Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Program Releases New Publications

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program has released 2 publications:

Fisheries Landings and Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico  Learn about historical fisheries landings data within the context of manmade and natural disasters. Explore why this data is important for fisheries management. Click here to open the publication: https://gulfseagrant.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/oil-spill-science-fisheries-management.pdf

 

 

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. Click here to open the publication: https://gulfseagrant.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/oil-spill-science-impact-on-gulf-seafood.pdf

The NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program has completed its first funding competition and awarded approximately $2.7 million to seven research teams. These teams and their projects were selected following a rigorous and highly competitive process which included a review by a panel of outside experts. The awards range in size from $309,000 to $400,000 and the projects will run for up to two years. Full details on each team and their project can be found under the Research page on the Science Program’s website.

FL Center of Excellence Program Announces 10 Funded Projects

The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) led FL RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program announced the ten projects selected to receive DWH oil spill penalties to work to improve the health of the Gulf. These projects were selected through an expert peer review process and will be funded for 2 year. For details on the projects, see the announcement released on FIO’s Facebook page.

 

Public Meetings Addressing RESTORE Council’s Draft FPL

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is hosting a series of public meeting across the Gulf to discuss the draft Initial Funded Priorities List released on August 13, 2015 to seek public and tribal comments. The draft FPL is available for review and comment through Sept. 28, 2015. Below is a list of the remaining public meetings.

 

Aug. 26, 2015; 6PM EDT

FWC Fish & Wildlife Research Institute

100 Eighth Ave. SE

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

 

Aug. 27, 2015; 6PM CDT

Gulf Coast State College

5230 West US Hwy. 98

Panama City, FL 32401

 

Sept. 1, 2015; 6PM CDT

Battle House Renaissance Mobile

26 North Royal St.

Mobile, AL 36602

 

Sept. 10, 2015; 5PM CDT

Coast Coliseum & Convention Center

2350 Beach Blvd.

Biloxi, MS 39531

 

Sept. 15, 2015; 5:30PM CDT

Homer L. Hitt Alumni Center

2000 Lakeshore Drive

New Orleans, LA 70148

 

Sept. 16, 2015; 5:30 PM CDT

Morgan City Municipal Auditorium

728 Myrtle St.

Morgan City, LA 70380

*Full meeting details can be found at www.restorethegulf.gov.

 

 

Registration Open for 2016 GoM Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference

 

Registration is now open for the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. Early registration closes November 20, 2015. Online registration closes January 24, 2016. Onsite registration will be available. 

LUMCON Releases 2015 Hypoxia Update:

On August 4, 2015, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) issued a press release with a summary addressing 2015’s hypoxic findings in the northern Gulf of Mexico. According to the summary, “This year’s ‘Dead Zone” is the size of Connecticut and Rhode combined, and is the 11th largest in size since the area has been mapped beginning in 1985. It is 28 percent larger than in 2014.” The full press release can be found here. You can also visit the Gulf Hypoxia web site at http://www.gulfhypoxia.net for maps, figures, additional graphics and more information concerning this summer’s research cruise and previous cruises.

 

 

Abstracts Due for 2016 GoM Oil Spill Conference:

The 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference (Feb 1-4, 2016; Tampa, FL) is now accepting abstracts. The theme for the 2016 conference is “One Gulf: healthy ecosystems, healthy communities.” Details on the conference sessions can be found here. Deadline for submittal is September 18, 2015.

 

Tri-international and International Marine Conferences November 2015

 

The Tri-international Initiative for Marine Research and Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean conference will be held November 13 & 14, 2015. The 10th Biannual International Marine and Coastal Science Conference will be held in November 16-20, 2015. Both will be held in Havana, Cuba

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program posted a new Request for Proposal on July 28. They are soliciting proposals that address water quality improvements; coast habitat and ecosystems enhancements, restoration and/or protection; environmental education and outreach; and strengthen community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region and its watersheds. They anticipate funding approximately 15 cooperative agreements from the available $3.5 million.

 

For more details, see the full RFP. Proposals are due no later than 5:00PM ET on September 15, 2015.

Recently, NOAA launched DIVER Explorer (Data Integration Visualization Exploration and Reporting), a data warehouse and query tool of the validated Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) data resulting from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) NRDA. DIVER also contains analytical chemistry and bioassay data collected under the DWH Response, historical Gulf Coast sampling data and continues to add new data as it is validated. Guided and custom queries are possible due to DIVER standardizing the data entered. More information about the data contained is available on their overview page.

 

 

In addition to the “Oil Spill Science Seminar: Impacts of Oil on Coast Habitats” on July 22 in Temple Terrace, FL, Sea Grant’s Oil Spill and Outreach team has two more seminars in August.

 

Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches, August 5, Pensacola, FL

Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to Gulf Wetlands, August 11, Slidell, LA

Details on all three seminars can be found here. The workshops are free, but registration is required.

 

 

 

 

 

A press release issued on June 30, 2015 announced “...Texas is the first state in the nation to receive money from the RESTORE Trust Fund through a federal award to fund two Centers of Excellence. The two centers, Texas OneGulf at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and the Subsea Systems Institute at the University of Houston, will split an initial $4.036 million.”

 

The Environmental Law Institute’s Ocean Program has launched the Public Participation Bulletin Board. This new resource highlights ways the public can get involved in restoration in their state and throughout the region.

 

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) has a new site, GecoView.org, a companion site to their GecoServ.org webpage, to help users understand the critical benefits of coastal habitats. GecoView.org is based on an ESRI platform using a story map to help organize and present information. According to information provided by Sea Grant, a funder of this project, “The project’s goal was to determine how much people in each state would be willing to pay — if at all — for the conservation of Gulf habitats. This willingness-to-pay concept is a standard approach to measuring economic value for non-market benefits, and in this study, passive-use services.” The site went live in May 2015 and will be continually updated and maintained.

According to the press release issued June 16, 2015, “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) have extended the public comment period for the Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments (Draft). The Draft proposes an additional 10 early restoration projects with an estimated cost of $134 million across the Gulf states. The Draft is now available for public review and comment through July 6 rather than the original deadline of June 19.” Written comments can be submitted online at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov or by mail to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, GA 30345.

 

The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are holding a seminar on Impacts of Oil on Coastal Communities. According to their website, where you can also find more details including a list of speakers, “Scientists will be sharing their work on the effects of oil on salt marshes, wetlands, mangroves, and beaches.” The free seminar will be held on Wednesday, July 22 at 1:00PM – 4:30PM ET in Temple Terrace, FL. You can register to attend in person or remotely here.

 

The Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA) was initiated in 2012 by multiple Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to assess the vulnerability of the multitude of ecosystems and associated species they support across the US portion of the Gulf of Mexico. The GCVA draft is now available for review. Public comment is being accepted by the GCVA Coordinator, Amanda Watson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until July 19, 2015. For more details please see their website.

 

 

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) announced Gulf Star, a public-private partnership that provides funding for projects identified by the GOMA Priority Issue Teams to accomplish the objectives of Action Plan III. “The goal of the Gulf Star program is to facilitate partnerships between the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and outside funders who wish to use their investments strategically to achieve measurable results…” Announcement of their first RFP is expected for January-February 2016 after the Governors’ Action Plan III is signed in late 2015. For more details on Gulf Star, visit their webpage

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference is accepting proposals for Scientific Sessions for the 2016 conference. The deadline to submit a session proposal is June 14, 2015.

They are also accepting requests for Associated Events and Workshops to be help Monday, February 1.

As stated on the event website, “The 2016 conference theme, “One Gulf: healthy ecosystems, healthy communities,” will focus on opportunities to promote and sustain a healthy Gulf environment, communities, and economy, including new discoveries, innovations, technologies, and policies. A strong emphasis this year will be placed on the human dimensions of oil spill in addition to the ecosystem science research that has led past conferences.”

 

The conference will be held Feb 1-4, 2016 at the Marriott Tampa Waterside in Tampa, Florida. More details can be found here

Latest NOAA study ties Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the spike in Gulf dolphin deaths. Studies completed by independent and government scientists have found signs of illness associated with exposure to petroleum products, particularly in the form of rare lesions on their lungs and adrenal glands, in many of these bottlenose dolphin deaths. As stated on NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration website, “The timing, location, and nature of the lesions support that oil compounds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused these lesions and contributed to the high numbers of dolphin deaths within this oil spill’s footprint.” For more on this see NOAA’s statement and the peer reviewed study in PLOS ONE.

 

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees are accepting public comment through June 19 on the Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments. The plan is available for review online here. Other useful links including the public comment portal and overview fact sheet can be found on the Gulf Spill Restoration website. More details on the plan, including a list of meetings a copy can be found at and the projects included, please see the press release.

 

 

The Florida Institute of Oceanography has posted a job listing to fill the FIO Director position. This position is located in Saint Petersburg, FL at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg campus. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled but submittal no later than July 15, 2015 is recommended. For more details on the position including qualifications, please see the job listing

The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council released solicitation for proposal for the RESTORE Act Center of Excellence Research Grant Program on May 13. Non-governmental entities and consortia, including public and private institutes of higher learning in the Gulf Coast Region can submit proposals to serve as Alabama’s Center of Excellence. Proposals are due June 30, 2015 at 4:00PM CST. More details on the scope of work, submission requirements and the selection process can be found here.

 

 

Reminder: Full Proposals to Florida’s Center of Excellence Grants Program are due Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 5:00PM ET. Awards are expected to be announced July 1. To view the request for proposals, FAQs and to submit a proposal, visit the site here

From their announcement, “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the final version of the science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.  The plan establishes ten long-term research priorities which will guide how the program invests its funds and explains how prior needs assessments for the Gulf of Mexico region and earlier stakeholder input were used to determine these areas of investment. The plan also provides additional information on how the program is administered and how the program works with partners.”

 

An overview of NOAA’s response to comments received during the public comment period on the draft version of the plan is now available in the Federal Register announcement. They address NOAA’s role, program scope, clarification of priorities, performance measures, coordination and engagement, and other issues.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene on April 29, 2015, at 9:30 AM ET for a hearing entitled, “Five Years After Deepwater Horizon: Improvements and Challenges in Prevention and Response.” More details including the witness list and live streaming can be found here

Tomorrow, April 22, 2015 at 9:30 AM ET the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources will be holding an oversight hearing on “Innovations in Safety Since the 2010 Macondo Incident.” The hearing memo including the witness list can be found here.  The hearing is available for live streaming here.

 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released a report, “Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Tourism in the Gulf of Mexico Region.” As stated in the technical announcement, “To better understand the various impacts of the DWH oil spill on tourism in the Gulf region, the Eastern Research Group (ERG) undertook four methodological approaches… The varied methodologies reveal a complex pattern of impacts and provide important lessons to be learned about the impacts of an oil spill on tourism.” A technical summary of the report is available here.

 

 

 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has released a new report, “Charting Restoration” that compares funded projects against Gulf restoration priorities identified in restoration- and conservation-related plans five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As stated on TNC’s website, “One of the main findings of the report is that the majority of funding to date has gone towards restoring the environment, which shows a solid alignment with the identified priorities. The report also shows that clean water, community resilience and healthy marine plants and animals are top priorities across the Gulf yet a limited number of projects have been funded with a primary focus on these issues.” For further information, the report can be found here

The National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program announced a new funding opportunity in data synthesis. They are looking for “activities that will integrate or synthesize existing data from different sources that may provide additional insights, address important questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting monitoring data.” The online application will open May 2015. They anticipate funding 10 to 14 awards for a total of $5 million. Awards will most likely be for 24 months disbursed in 2 installments. For more details, please see the grant’s details here.

 

 

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) has launched their new Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker. This tracker allows visitors to see where Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill restoration projects are occurring. Each project listed includes a brief description, contact and link to access more technical information. GOMA is working directly with the groups funding projects related to oil spill restoration to ensure accuracy. The tracker’s development team is hosting a demonstration followed by a Q&A opportunity on Thursday, April 23 at 1PM EDT. You can join the webinar here.  

The Environmental Law Institute is offering a free webinar on International Deep Seabed Mining.

“This webinar will bring together some of the foremost experts on deep seabed mining to discuss this pressing issue. Of particular relevance are the International Seabed Authority’s Draft Framework for the Regulation of Exploitation Activities, released in draft form on March 13 an open for public comment until May 15. In light of these important legal developments and advances in scientific understanding, now is the time to pause to consider the special nature of the deep ocean and how to best manage it.”

Visit the webinar page for more details or you can register for the event here.

 

 

Did you know GOMURC is on social media? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow up on Twitter

Tagged in: webinar

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) is offering a free seminar series on the Deepwater Horizon spill. The series will kick off on the fifth anniversary of the spill, April 20 at 6PM at the Caylor Auditorium. The seminars “offers a retrospective exploration of the spill through presentations by research staff and discussions among speakers, education staff and attendees to answer pressing questions.” The series concludes with GOMURC board member and Interim Director of GCRL, Dr. Monty Graham's presentation Where do we go from here? Future directions in oil spill research on July 13. Visit here for more details.

 

The recording for Climate Change, Community Resilience, and Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, a webinar cohosted by GOMURC, the Environmental Law Institute, and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs, is available for viewing. If you were not able to attend the webinar but are interested in this exciting and important subject matter, you can view the webinar here. Written summary coming soon. 

 

 

Members from GOMURC’s Board of Directors published a paper in the Gulf of Mexico Science journal vol. 31 nos. 1/2, 2013. Economic Impact of Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Goods and Services and Integration Into Restoration Decision-Making is available for download here. You can also view it on GOMURC’s website here.

 

 

Ever wonder what it looks like near the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico? Now you can find out. Live video is streaming from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative’s expedition on the Nautilus at http://www.nautiluslive.org/.  

 

Reminder: Free Webinar on Climate Change, Community Resilience and Restoration in the Gulf, April 10

GOMURC is co-hosting a free webinar on Climate Change, Community Resilience, and Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico with the Environmental Law Institute and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs. The webinar will be Friday, April 10, 2:00-4:00PM ET (1:00-3:00PM CT) and you can register here.

Don’t miss out on this exciting and important discussion!

 

NOAA’s Education Council is soliciting general comments on the latest update of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan 2015 – 2035: Advancing NOAA’s Mission through Education, planned to be released later in 2015.  The Plan outlines the goals and objectives that NOAA Education will strive to achieve over the next 20 years. Comments must be received by April 10, 2015 and can be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., include “Education Plan Public Comment” in the subject line. Or via mail to Marissa Jones, NOAA Office of Education, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20230. Include “Education Plan Public Comment” on the envelope. More details here.

 

 

The National Research Council has a project to gather an ad hoc committee to inform monitoring and evaluation of restoration activities in the Gulf of Mexico. The committee will identify best practices for monitoring and evaluating restoration activities to improve the performance of restoration programs and increase the effectiveness and longevity of restoration projects. More information can be found here. A list of potential committee members can be found here. They are currently taking comments on the committee appointments with the commenting period ending on April 8. 

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is currently evaluating submissions for potential funding under the Council-Selected Restoration Component. As part of this process, each submission was evaluated with respect to Budget, Science, Environmental Compliance, and consistency with the RESTORE Act and the Council’s Initial Comprehensive Plan. Context reports, including that of the external science review were created from these evaluations and are now available for viewing here.

Gulf Integrated Spill Research Consortium database of oceanographic and hydrocarbon data collected in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon spill is available for use. It is an online data repository that contains individual datasets pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon incident, as well as aggregate and standardized view that span multiple datasets. You can view the user guide here and request a login on the main page, here.  

Tagged in: data restoration science

Letters of Intent (LoI) are due to the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association (RA) office on April 17, 2015 by 5:00 PM CT. The GCOOS-RA Board of Directors has established a process for selection and preparation of proposals submitted. More information can be found here.

The Board of Directors intends to use the GCOOS list serve and website to solicit LoIs. Members to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) or employees of members may submit LoIs. Entities that are not Members that are interested in submitting a LoI should sign the MoA to become a Member before submitting a LoI. The maximum request GCOOS will accept is $225,000/year. All LoIs and proposals should include plans for the maintenance of long-term financial support for the proposed activity

 

 

The full IOOS FFO can be found here

Tagged in: data funding observing

National Wildlife Federation addresses the status of the Gulf of Mexico in their new report, Five Years & Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Particularly, they look at how 20 types of wildlife are faring in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill. While it may be years before we know the full extent of the impact from the spill, this report examines what the science tells us so far. 

In a new publication, Evidence of climate-driven ecosystem reorganization in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists reviewed over 100 indicators representing physical, biological, and economic aspects of the Gulf of Mexico and found that ecosystem-wide reorganization occurred.  They also analyzed these shifts and their alignment with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). They “provide an explanation for how the AMO may drive physical changes in the Gulf of Mexico, thus altering higher-level ecosystem dynamics. The hypotheses presented here should provide focus for further targeted studies, particularly in regard to whether and how management should adjust to different climate regimes or states of nature.”

 

The full report can be found here

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now seeking comments on their future plans for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Gulf Environmental Benefits Fund. You can view their presentation on the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund 2015 Cycle here. As requested in the last page of the presentation, comments due to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 23, 2015. Be sure to use “NFWF Comment” in the subject line.  

 

Florida DEP has also launched a new restoration tracking map for Florida Deepwater Horizon restoration projects funded by Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), NFWF and other settlements. Each project also has a fact sheet with details about the project including estimated cost. 

This week BP released the report, Gulf of Mexico Environmental Recovery Restoration. In a message from Laura Folse, Executive Vice President, she states, “Areas that were affected are recovering and data BP has collected and analyzed to date do not indicate a significant long-term impact to the population of any Gulf species.” Many are saying this report is premature and cherry-picked.

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, who are charged with scientifically establishing the damages caused by the spill, has release an official statement on the report.

“Citing scientific studies conducted by experts from around the Gulf, as well as this council, BP misinterprets and misapplies data while ignoring published literature that doesn’t support its claims and attempts to obscure our role as caretakers of the critical resources damaged by the spill.”

 

You can read full statement from the NRDA Trustees here. Many NGOs are also weighing in on the report such as this blog from National Wildlife Federation. 

GOMURC is co-hosting a free webinar on Climate Change, Community Resilience, and Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico with the Environmental Law Institute and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs. The webinar will be Friday, April 10, 2:00-4:00PM ET (1:00-3:00PM CT) and you can register here. For more details, see below:

 

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.

PANELISTS:

Dr. Kathryn Mengerink (Director, Ocean Program, Environmental Law Institute) Overview of Gulf Restoration Programs

Dr. Robert Twilley (Executive Director, Louisiana Sea Grant) Ecosystem Adaptation Climate Change Impacts on the Gulf Coast and Restoration Efforts

Jonathan Porthouse,(Senior Manager, Coastal Habitat Restoration, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund) Integrating Climate Change Impacts into Restoration Planning and Projects

Colette Pichon Battle, (Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy) Climate Impacts on Communities  and Options for Response

Dr. Tracie Sempier (Coastal Storms Outreach Coordinator, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant) Climate Change Decision-Making by Coastal Communities

MODERATOR:

Andrew Shepard, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative

On Thursday, 2/19, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier declared that BP should face paying up to $4,300 in fines for each barrel of oil spilled during the Macando well blowout that spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days in 2010. This is the result of an attempt by BP to lower the fines they face from this catastrophic event to $3,000 per barrel, the amount set by the Clean Water Act in 1990. Barbier agreed with federal prosecutors that this amount should be adjusted for inflation.

In prior rulings, Judge Barbier declared that BP acted with “gross negligence” and that 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled. BP faces a maximum of $13.7 billion fines.

 

For more details, see this article in the Tampa Bay Times.

Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has created a new online Restoration Projects Map that complements their Restoration Projects Database. These track where Deepwater Horizon restoration and recovery are taking place.

According to ELI, “Both the database and the map aim to support transparency and public engagement by tracking where restoration funds are being spent, and by providing details about specific projects. The database and map will be continually updated as projects are approved.”

NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, Texas A&M University and the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees are hosting the 2015 Gulf Coast Sargassum Symposium on April 2nd & 3rd at the Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston, TX.  Join in this informative and educational experience as presenters and panel members discuss all aspects of Sargassum. 

You can register for this conference and find more details here.  

The peer reviewed study  has found four distinct groupings of dolphin deaths within the Northern Gulf of Mexico Unusual Mortality Event (UME). Three of the groupings followed the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The scientists compared the number and demographics of dolphin deaths across the Gulf from January 2010–June 2013 to patterns from 1990–2009. They looked for distinct groupings of high numbers of dolphin deaths, both before and after the spill.

The Barataria Bay dolphin population was a focus of previous peer-reviewed study as part of the on-going Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). That study showed that live dolphins, which underwent physical examination, had adverse health impacts consistent with exposure to petroleum products.

The causes of the Northern Gulf UME are still under investigation. You can review the full study here.

This work was part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Northern Gulf Unusual Mortality Investigation being conducted cooperatively by NOAA, other federal and state agencies, and BP.

All project suggestions for potential Phase III funding through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund must be entered into the Alabama Coastal Restoration Project Suggestion portal by March 9, 2015. Go to www.alabamacoastalrestoration.orgto enter a new project suggestion or to review project suggestions currently in the portal.  For additional information on the NFWF GEBF, go to www.nfwf.org.

The National Water Quality Monitoring Council is offering a webinar on the Water Quality Portal (WQP) Wednesday, February 18th at 2:00PM ET. Pre-registration is required for this event.

This free webinar will go over the basic use of the WQP, which provides easy access to over 250 million discrete water quality sample results from over 2.1 million sites in a services-first, standards-driven environment. It will also feature a presentation by Jim Kreft of the U.S. Geological Survey.

 

You can pre-register for the webinar here. If you are unable to attend the webinar but would like to view it later, it will be posted, along with the National Water Quality Monitoring Council’s other archived webinars on their YouTube channel. 

Tagged in: data education webinar

A Notice of Intent to solicit public input and prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was published in the Federal Register.  You can find the Federal Register notice here.

Public comments related to this action must be received by April 6, 2015.

You can also find more information about the expansion at http://flowergarden.noaa.gov

The Interior Department and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announce draft strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing in 2017-2022. The proposal includes ten sales in the Gulf of Mexico, “one of the most productive basins in the world and where oil and gas infrastructure is well established.” The Draft Proposed Program and the Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be available for public comment for 60 days following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register.

 

 

Tagged in: economics energy news

Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) announces release of its first Request for Proposals for the Florida Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program-- http://www.fio.usf.edu/research/restore-act.

On February 17, 2015, 2:00-4:00PM, tentatively, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will give a FY16 Budget Briefing for stakeholders. This will be following the announcement of the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request expected during the week of February 2, which includes funding for NOAA.

Per NOAA communication, “NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan will lead the briefing and discussion at the Department of Commerce Auditorium, located at 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington, D.C. NOAA's senior leadership will join Dr. Sullivan to answer questions and respond to comments.”

 

A toll-free teleconference number will also be provided for those who cannot attending in person. More information, including teleconference information is to come. 

 

The National Research Council released their new report Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. This report identifies eight strategic research priorities for the next decade that will continue to advance scientific understanding of the ocean. The report is available for free download here.

You can also register for the public webinar being given Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 3:00PM EST. It will feature presentations by Shirley Pomponi and David Titley, co-chairs of the report’s authoring committee, followed by a Q & A session.

Over the next several weeks, members of the report’s authoring committee will be presenting a series of seminars at research institutions around the United States.

The 2015 All Hands Meeting for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance will be June 16-18 at the IP Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. They will have a short plenary session followed by break-out sessions for priority issue teams and cross-team initiatives. You can view the meeting schedule, hotel accommodations, sponsorship opportunities, and register for the meeting here

As part of the 2015 National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) competition, webinars are being offered covering the competition’s them of “The Science of Oil in the Ocean.” These webinars have been offered throughout the month of January. All educators are welcome to join the live presentations. Others can view the presentation recordings once posted. You can view the recordings or register for the remaining webinar here.

 

 

The Center for Gulf Studies has an opening for a director. They seek an individual to lead the advancement of Gulf of Mexico science from various oil spill restoration and recovery resources. The director will be responsible for program development, long-term funding and research activities, and coordination and strategic planning among the varied stakeholders of the Center.  Applicants must hold a PhD in marine science or other relevant earth science filed and have a minimum of 10 years related experience.

You can view details about the position and apply here

 

Tagged in: education jobs science

On Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Toby Baker announced the selection of two consortia, one led by the University of Houston and the other led by Texas A&M University –Corpus Christi, to establish Centers of Excellence. Centers of Excellence are being created in the five Gulf States affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to conduct research in this region as mandated by the RESTORE Act.

 

For more details on the consortia members and the type of work they will be doing, see the official press release

 

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Marine Science has an immediate opening for a POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE in the field of BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY/MARINE ZOOPLANKTON ECOLOGY. The successful candidate will work with a large, multidisciplinary team of senior and early-career scientists, graduate and undergraduate students and staff in the Consortium for Coastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE) to explore novel transport pathways of oil and dispersant systems in coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Click here for more information.

Tagged in: biology jobs science

In an official ruling on Thursday, January 15, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier determined 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled in the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo well following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20, 2010. Under the Clean Water Act, oil spill violators face fines ranging from $1,000 to $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled. BP now faces up to $13.7 billion in fines. The third and final phase of the trial starts Tuesday and Barbier will determine how much BP will pay in pollution fines.

You can read more on this ruling in this article from The Times-Picayune.

 

 

Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) has released a request for proposals. As described in their solicitation, “SECOORA has a maximum of $50,000 funding to conduct an observing experiment in the US Southeast coastal waters. The primary goal of this solicitation is to provide support for a short-term (or limited) observing activity in the SE to address a key gap in scientific understanding or technology or data that will improve currently supported SECOORA activities and/or user groups.”

 Proposals should be sent to Vembu Subramanian (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 5 PM ET, Monday, February 9, 2015. For more details on proposal requirements and the selection process, you can find the complete solicitation for SECOORA’s Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System: Southeast Observing Experiment here

 

Tagged in: funding monitoring

Environmental Law Institute is hosting a webinar, “Deepwater Horizon Litigation: Where Things Stand and What’s Next” on Wednesday, January 14 from 2:00-3:30PM ET. As we approach the start of the third phase of the BP oil spill trial, the panel of experts gathered for this webinar will discuss the first two phases and some of the issues that will be addressed in the third phase.

 

 

You can register for the conference here

The 45-day public comment period for the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council’s (AGCRC) Center of Excellence Research Grants Program Draft Solicitation for Proposals and Competitive Process for Selection ends on Monday, February 2, 2015. Comments may be submitted online to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, 118 N. Royal Street, Suite 603, Mobile, AL 36602.

The Gulf Research Program has announced their 2015 exploratory grants and fellowships are open for application. For exploratory grants, letters of intent, required for this proposal, are due January 20, 2015 at 8pm ET. Full proposal are due March 30, 2015 at 8pm ET. Fellowships applications are due February 6, 2015 at 8pm ET. Please see their website for more details and requirements for each competition.

The Gulf Research Program is also offering an informational webinar for applicants on January 8, 2015 at 1pm ET. You can register for this event here

 

Tagged in: funding science

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program has announced their first federal funding opportunity (FFO-2015). Funding of $2.5 million is available for approximately three to seven, 1- to 2- year projects that address three short-term priorities. A peer reviewed process will be used to evaluate and identify the strongest applications. Letters of intent are due by January 30, 2015 and full proposals due March 17, 2015.

As stated on the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program’s website, proposals need to address:

·         comprehensive inventory and assessment (i.e., strengths/weaknesses) of  ongoing ecosystem modeling efforts (conceptual and quantitative)

·         identification of currently available health/condition indicators of Gulf of Mexico ecosystem components, including humans, followed by comparative analysis of strengths and weaknesses and design/testing of additional indicators

·         assessment of monitoring and observation needs and development of recommendations to build off existing assets to establish a Gulf wide monitoring and observation network

in three topical areas

·         ecosystem and living marine resources management

·         climate change and extreme weather impacts on sustainability of restoration

·         integration of social, behavioral, and economic science into restoration and management of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

The full announcement is available for viewing here

Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the release of a new study report, Investigations of Chemosynthetic Communities on the Lower Continental Slope of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the result of a 5 year field study to discover and characterize sea floor communities that live in association with hydrocarbon seeps on the hard ground below depths of 1,000 meters in the Gulf of Mexico. This study was jointly funded by BOEM and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Through this study 107 new species were confirmed; these include crustaceans, copepods, ostracods and tanaidacea. You can read BOEM’s official press release here where you can also find a link to the study. 

Monday, December 15, 2014 is the last day to submit public comment for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program's science plan. To have your expertise heard, electronic comments can be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Written comments can be mailed to Dr. Becky Allee; NOAA OCM - Gulf Coast; Bldg. 1100, Rm 232; Stennis Space Center, MS 39529. 

 

A final version of the science plan is anticipated for release in January 2015. 

Projects submitted for the 'Bucket 2' Funding Priorities List are currently being reviewed by the RESTORE Council. All projects are available for viewing although public comments are not yet being accepted.

 

For more information and to view the projects please visit http://www.restorethegulf.gov/ourwork/council-selected-restoration/fpl-development

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