Highlights of Action Plan II

 
Highlights of Action Plan II (DRAFT v2) 
 

Water Quality for Healthy Beaches and Shellfish Beds


Water is the basis of life everywhere. The condition of this water is one
of the many factors influencing the health of human and natural communities
in the Gulf of Mexico region. The economies of the five Gulf states are
substantially dependent on productive natural resources and ecosystems.


Long-term Water Quality Goals….in 20 years
• A real-time pathogen monitoring network that identifies the sources of
pathogens in coastal and estuarine waters and their potential impact on
human health and the coastal economy
• A Harmful Algal Bloom tracking and forecasting system that supports the
reduction or elimination of blooms and that can be used by coastal managers
to minimize the human health and negative economic effects from algal
blooms
• A reduced risk of mercury-induced health effects from Gulf seafood
consumption
• A cooperative and integrated water quality monitoring network for
estuarine, coastal, and offshore waters that provides vital information on
the status and trends of Gulf ecosystem health


WQ-1: Pathogens: Ensure healthy beaches and shellfish beds by improving
the understanding of waterborne disease-causing microorganisms
(“pathogens”), including their sources and survival so that coastal
managers can make informed decisions that benefit public health and coastal
economies.


Why do this?
A better understanding of pathogens and their sources will allow agencies
to reduce the risk of human illnesses due to exposure to Gulf coastal
waters. Enhanced awareness of environmental and ecological factors
affecting Vibrio populations will decrease the number of Vibrio-related
deaths and illnesses in coastal communities. By establishing a pathogen
monitoring network and populating it with real-time data, local resource
managers can address health management issues in a pro-active, rather than
reactive, way. In turn, best management practices can be employed to focus
resources using
risk-based approaches.

Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Results at the end of 5 years
• New methods are available to assess the source (human or otherwise) of
pathogens or their indicators and to better determine public health risk.
• The survivability of pathogens and current indicator organisms in ambient
waters has been assessed.
• One pollution source-tracking pilot study has been conducted in each
state at a beach with bacterial-contamination problems.
• Risk-based models have been developed that incorporate seasonal and
geographic distributions to predict hazardous increases in pathogen
concentrations.
• A data portal or website is available that provides access to comparable
water quality data from beach monitoring programs in all Gulf States.
• Areas of high risk for unsafe microbial concentrations have been
identified and areas mapped that are listed by EPA as impaired from
microbial contamination.
• Information on the distribution and ecology of Vibrio species is
available to better assess risk to human health.
• Pathogen detection and microbial source tracking workshops have been
conducted to provide guidance for research.


WQ-2: Harmful Algal Blooms: Reduce the effects of HABs by improving the
ability to detect, track, and forecast HAB movement and effects in waters
along the Gulf Coast.


Why do this?
Once the ecology of HABs is understood, an early warning and forecasting
system can be developed using real-time data. However, present
technologies for detecting and tracking HABs are expensive and generally
not suitable for long-term deployment.
To be effective existing monitoring networks need to be compatible and
regional in coverage in order to detect, track, and forecast blooms that
migrate across the Gulf. Management strategies can then be developed to
improve responses to bloom events and to reduce the frequency of blooms and
the extent of their impacts on coastal recreation and ecosystems health.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Human health impacts from HABs are better understood.
• HAB detection methods and technologies have been evaluated and
standardized.
• Researchers and managers have access to standardized protocols and an
understanding of how to use new HAB technologies.
• An operational, web-based discussion board for public communications and
managerial decisions is in place.
• Training is provided to help coastal managers use their resources
efficiently to minimize bloom effects.
• Tools are available for state epidemiology units to assess HAB effects.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

• Methods are available that help prevent, control, or mitigate HABs.
• The significance is better understood of ballast-water introductions and
transfers of both new and existing HAB species in the Gulf of Mexico.

WQ-3: Mercury in Seafood: Identify sources of mercury in Gulf fishery
resources, understand its presence in the Gulf of Mexico food web, and
develop the ability to reduce the human health risk of exposure.


Why do this?
Mercury in seafood can have significant human-health and economic effects;
the scope of which is not clearly understood. Removing mercury from
seafood cannot be addressed without first understanding the sources, fate,
and transport of it around the Gulf as well as understanding the scope of
its effects on human health and the economy.


Results at the end of 5 years
• The primary sources that are responsible for mercury in Gulf of Mexico
fish are identified and communicated to public health advisory groups.
• The mechanism by which mercury enters the food chain and accumulates in
Gulf of
Mexico fish is better understood.


WQ-4: Monitoring: Obtain and provide vital information about the
conditions of Gulf of Mexico waters to support management decisions
regarding coastal fisheries, recreation, tourism, public health, and
infrastructure planning.


Why do this?
A region-wide water quality monitoring network will provide an abundance of
information to address both local and Gulf-wide issues, such as land-use
decisions, water quality criteria, nutrient loading, mercury source
tracking, etc. With a searchable catalog of monitoring program information
available, an increased number of potential users will know where to access
Gulf region water quality data, allowing issues to be addressed more
efficiently. Agencies being aware of potential additional sources of
water quality data should result in more appropriate total maximum daily
loads.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Water quality data collected around the Gulf is of documented quality.
There is also increased comparability between what is being monitored and
how it is monitored. Documented quality and increased comparability of data
result in greater usability of water quality information Gulf-wide.
• Data gaps are identified and a strategy has been developed for filling
them.
• A repository of information about Gulf monitoring programs is available
to the public.
• A pilot project that links geographic information system (GIS), land-use,
circulation models, and water quality has been conducted.



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

• New data-dissemination tools are available to help coastal resource
managers access and interpret water quality data and models.

Habitat Conservation & Restoration

The Gulf of Mexico coastal zone has suffered significant degradation and
loss of natural habitats, as well as the associated loss of ecological
services attendant to those changes. Population growth, changes in land
use patterns, and other human impacts in the coastal zones have exacerbated
the natural processes underlying these trends. To remain healthy and
sustainable, the communities of the Gulf of Mexico must ensure that
economic development is consistent with environmental sustainability.


Long-Term Habitat Conservation & Restoration Goals…in 20 years
• An approach to habitat conservation and restoration that includes a
diverse group of stakeholders from state, federal, and international
agencies, business and industry, and non-profit organizations.
• Improved policies that promote conservation and restoration efforts in
both the public and private arena are in place resulting improved habitats
in the Gulf region.
• Application of science and technology to provide improved management
tools for conservation and restoration.
• An accurate tracking system to document gains and losses of Gulf of
Mexico coastal habitats and ecosystem services.

H-1: Expanded Partnerships: Identify and engage non-participating
relevant U.S. stakeholders with interest in the health and sustainability
of the Gulf of Mexico, and coordinate specific issues with representatives
from the Gulf Mexican states.


Why do this?
The challenges facing the communities of the Gulf of Mexico region require
that people and governments commit to developing and implementing
solutions. The process of improving conservation and restoration requires
that governments change policies and develop new strategies for reducing
habitat losses and restoring those which are degraded. This is the case in
both the United States and in the six Mexican states that border the Gulf
of Mexico, which contain nearly half the contiguous coastline between the
Florida and Yucatán Peninsulas. To fully address the need for conservation
and restoration it is imperative that many stakeholders cooperate,
including public and private landowners, business and industry leaders,
non-profit organizations, and international partners in the United States
and Mexico. Cooperation includes external private-public partnerships that
provide the incentives to develop and implement new government policies
which encourage management of private and public lands to the benefit of
present and future societies.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Results at the end of 5 years
• Alliance stakeholders in the United States and Mexico are actively
involved in pursuing Gulf habitat conservation and restoration through an
integrated and robust set of private and public partnerships.


H-2: Policy Changes: Address specific bureaucratic issues impeding
habitat conservation and restoration.


Why do this?
Existing policies and regulations may inadvertently create impediments to
the private and public conduct of efficient habitat conservation and
restoration. Improved regulatory policies and funding approaches will
result in less habitat damage and greater habitat restoration.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Improvements in federal and state funding, permitting, policy, and
regulations regarding habitat conservation and restoration.

H-3: Technology Development: Identify and resolve specific scientific and
technical issues so that conservation and restoration of Gulf habitats is
more successful.


Why do this?
Future habitat conservation and restoration programs must be based on
effective restoration science. A Gulf-wide effort will serve as a platform
to promote emerging technologies and science-based management tools.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Priority conservation and restoration science issues and improved
science-based management tools are available for on-the-ground projects.


H-4: Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan: Develop and implement
the Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan (GRSMMP) to more
effectively use dredged material and other sediment resources for
restoration projects.


Why do this?
Sediments, both natural and dredged, can be more effectively use to benefit
conservation and restoration efforts than they are now. The GRSMMP
provides a regional blueprint for beneficial use of dredged materials.
Implementation of the GRSMMP will result in quicker and less costly
restoration.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Results at the end of 5 years
• The GRSMMP is complete and regional sediment management is implemented in
all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts in partnership with the Gulf
States.
• Restoration project costs are greatly decreased by the increased re-use
of dredged materials.


H-5: Reversing the Downward Trend in Habitat and Ecosystem Services:
Monitor a Gulf-wide inventory of distribution, gain and loss of coastal
habitats and measure the ecosystem services they provide, in conjunction
with other relevant Priority Issue Teams.


Why do this?
Conservation and restoration efforts in the Gulf region protecting critical
habitats as well as bolstering coastal resiliency, and are therefore,
essential to the region’s economy as a whole. A robust inventory of Gulf
coastal habitat distribution that includes ongoing and
future conservation and restoration activities will help stakeholders make
strategic management decisions.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Joint efforts of the six Priority Issue Teams illustrate a reversal in
the present downward trend in Gulf of Mexico coastal habitat and the
ecosystem services that they provide to stakeholders.

Environmental Education

The Gulf of Mexico’s influence on climate, health and economic vitality
reaches beyond the 31 states and two Canadian provinces that are within its
watershed. This influence provides an immense opportunity to create
education programs that develop an environmentally literate society.
Environmental education includes formal and informal educational
opportunities, professional development, communication, and actions which
reach a vast array of target audiences who truly reflect the phrase “K to
Gray.” Cultural and historical nuances enhance the vitality of communities
and strengthen the drive to support economic health and ecological welfare.
Providing environmental education to a wide range of audiences that
includes cultural and economic values will increase actions toward a
healthier Gulf.


Long-term Environmental Education Goals…in 20 years
• Environmental literacy concerning resources and issues important to the
Gulf of
Mexico is enhanced.
• Stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico is increased through measurable,
targeted education.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

• Intra-Alliance communication and collaboration concerning public
education and outreach of Alliance priorities is strengthened.

ED-1: Community Education and Outreach: Build upon the existing success
of Alliance partners to increase awareness and promote action among Gulf
citizens by engaging through outreach activities.


Why do this?
Education experts have learned that being aware and informed does not
always translate into action. Engaging local audiences on issues that
directly affect them will strengthen the foundation for behavioral changes,
thereby positively affecting Gulf-wide environmental stewardship. This
increased participation will be a strong vehicle for improving the health
of the Gulf as well as the economy of the nation as a whole.

Results at the end of 5 years
• Expanded partnerships with organizations undertaking outreach activities
across the
Gulf are identified and strengthened.
• On-the-ground outreach and education projects that engage the public are
developed and implemented.
• Increased access to volunteer/service-learning opportunities through
organizations such as Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers.

ED-2: Public Awareness: Expand public awareness efforts to connect the
Gulf of
Mexico and its relevance in the lives of citizens.


Why do this?
Streamlining outreach in the Gulf of Mexico under one brand will provide
consistency and recognition to the message delivered to the region and the
nation. In turn, consistent and timely messages will promote healthy Gulf
initiatives, ultimately resulting sustainable coastal communities.


Results at the end of 5 years
• A Gulf-wide branding initiative is widely recognized by Gulf residents
and visitors.
• Regional messages for all Alliance priority issues have been developed
and disseminated to reach regional as well as upstream audiences.
• Opportunities for active participation in healthy Gulf initiatives are
available in coastal as well as upstream areas.
• Messages are disseminated through multiple media to include current or
alternative technology and informal education centers (museums, aquariums,
libraries, and science centers).

ED-3: K-20 Environmental Literacy: Increase environmental literacy within
the K-
20 audience by developing, implementing, expanding, and enhancing specific
environmental education programs.


Why do this?
By providing experiential learning opportunities across the region,
educators and students alike will benefit. Increased knowledge in science
education should reflect



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

increased numbers of individuals pursuing science, technology, engineering,
and math as future careers; thus adding to the strength of our regional
workforce development. All programs must use evaluation and assessment
techniques so that success can be measured in the short and long term.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Experiential learning opportunities are expanded across all grade levels.
• Programs and field experiences are aligned with state standards and
environmental literacy principles.
• Programs targeted toward underrepresented and underserved populations are
expanded.
• Professional development and training opportunities utilizing best
available technology are increased.

ED-4: Economic Value Communication: Include the economic value of Gulf
coast ecosystems in environmental education.


Why do this?
Economics – the costs and potential benefits of our personal (or
commercial) actions - drives the workforce and the business community. By
understanding how conservation and environmental stewardship affect the
Gulf coastal economy, the Alliance can promote regional efforts and draw
the link to national economic vitality. With this shared understanding,
policy-makers will be more knowledgeable concerning the value in promoting
and supporting environmental education.


Results at the end of 5 years
• The economic value of the Gulf of Mexico and its ecosystems are
incorporated into local, regional and national environmental education and
public awareness initiatives.
• A Teacher’s Guide for economic benefits of the Gulf of Mexico is
available and formatted for ease of use for various audiences.
• The online digital library includes Gulf of Mexico economic value
resources and their availability has been shared.

Ecosystem Integration & Assessment

Coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico are essential to sustaining local
economies and offer protection from coastal storms. Natural disasters such
as coastal storms cause significant, measurable economic losses in the
infrastructure that supports coastal communities; however, economic losses
of natural resources are just as significant and far more difficult to
assess. Coastal managers are faced with a complex environment in which to
make difficult decisions regarding protection, restoration, conservation
and management of these crucial resources.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Long-term Water Ecosystem Integration & Assessment Goals….in 20 years
• A regional data system containing environmental and economic data for
all priority issues of concern within the Gulf of Mexico region
• Strategic partnerships to fill environmental and ecological data gaps
• Ecosystem decision support tools for use by coastal resource managers to
address all priority issues within the Gulf of Mexico


EIA-1: Gulf of Mexico Mapping Master Plan (GMMMP): Produce a
comprehensive plan to collaboratively acquire data on the physical
characteristics of the Gulf region, particularly elevation, shoreline, and
surface data.


Why do this?
The Gulf is too large for any one agency to map, thus a collaborative
approach is required; one that identifies and fulfills all mapping
requirements with on-going mapping programs. Therefore, by aligning data
collection methods and sharing resources, critical mapping information can
be collected at less cost to the partner programs.


Results at the end of 5 years
• A Gulf of Mexico Mapping Plan has been developed using shared resources.
• Updated elevation, shoreline and surface characterization data are
supporting more effective coastal management decisions across the Gulf.

EIA-2: Data Access and Acquisition: Provide resource managers and
Alliance partners access to a Gulf-wide data and ecosystem support services
system.


Why do this?
Improving awareness of and access to available data will aid in the
assessment and management of coastal resources. With a thorough knowledge
of the status and health of these resources, planners can better anticipate
management needs and account for those needs in future planning scenarios.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Physical, chemical and environmental data are readily available for use
by resource managers.
• PHINS is being used to prioritize areas of critical habitat for
conservation and/or protection.


EIA-3: Living Marine Resources: Provide collaboration opportunities with
the various established living marine resource organizations to support the
management of the GOM as a large marine ecosystem.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Why do this?
There are numerous public and non-governmental entities managing components
of living marine resources in the Gulf, and these entities share common
management challenges and data needs. The Alliance partnership is in a
unique position to collaborate with these groups to better coordinate the
management of the Gulf as a true large marine ecosystem.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Collaborative partnerships are expanded to better manage living marine
resources.
• Agreements between resource managers are in place to address data gaps
and support ecosystem-based management efforts.


EIA-4: Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report : Develop an Emergent
Wetlands Status and Trends Report to provide scientists and decision-makers
with regional information to guide management decisions.


Why do this?
Because fifty percent of the nation’s wetlands are located in the Gulf,
they are critical to the nation’s productivity and economic sustainability.
In addition, Gulf wetlands serve as protective barriers during storm
events. However, emergent wetlands around the
coastal fringe of the Gulf of Mexico have seen a significant decline over
the past several decades. A status and trends report for these wetland
resources will support scientifically-sound recommendations for
conservation and restoration.


Results at the end of 5 years
• A status and trends report for emergent wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico is
created and is updated at regular intervals.
• Emergent wetlands in the GOM region are better managed.


EIA-4: Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report : Ecological Services
Valuation: Determine socioeconomic values of critical coastal ecosystem
services in the Gulf region.


Why do this?
The true value of ecosystem services are often not considered in coastal
management decisions because the socioeconomic values of those services are
unknown. Since a sustainable economy and high quality of life are
dependent on healthy coastal ecosystems, a better understanding of
socioeconomic value of natural systems can lead to better societal
decisions.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Results at the end of 5 years
• The economic values of select Gulf of Mexico natural resources are
inventoried and documented.
• Coastal resource management decisions are improved by considering the
economic values of ecosystem services.


Reducing Nutrient Impacts

All living things depend on nutrients for survival. Nutrients are carried
into estuaries and coastal waters through rain, groundwater, rivers,
streams, waves and tides. A balance of the right amounts and forms of
nutrients is essential to maintaining healthy and productive Gulf
ecosystems. Excess nutrients in our water bodies, however, can be
detrimental to coastal ecosystems and can cause a decrease in the levels of
oxygen available in the water. This condition is called hypoxia and it
impacts fish and other aquatic organisms that depend on oxygen for survival
and healthy life cycles. Some sources of excess nutrients are man-made and
include polluted run-off from urban and agricultural sources, failing
septic systems, and atmospheric deposition (nutrients deposited from the
air).


Long-term Reducing Nutrient Impacts Goals….in 20 years
• A regional process is created and implemented for the development of
comparable nutrient criteria across coastal and estuarine waters.
• Strategies that reduce nutrient inputs and hypoxia are developed and
implemented.
• Develop a comprehensive, ecosystem approach to manage nutrient inputs
and reduce impacts to coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico region.
• Increase the capacity of Gulf coastal communities to manage and reduce
nutrient impacts.

N-1: Nutrient Characterization: Implement regional nutrient
characterization studies to evaluate ecosystem responses, and develop the
tools for better characterization of nutrients in coastal waters.


Why do this?
Before nutrients can be effectively managed, their roles and impacts within
our Gulf ecosystems must be understood. In addition nutrient
characterization studies are necessary to improve the science used by water
quality managers to address excess nutrients in coastal waters. Nutrient
characterization studies will provide a better understanding of the sources
and dynamics of nutrients and help establish the links between nutrients
and the health of our coastal ecosystems. Leveraging resources and
expertise to adequately characterize nutrients in coastal ecosystems
assures a more consistent, efficient approach across the Gulf.



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Results at the end of 5 years
• Nutrient impacts are adequately characterized to establish key ecological
relationships, thresholds, and socioeconomic values for state-selected
indicators.
• The Gulf States are provided with integrated models to estimate nutrient
loads, establish goals, and predict the ecological and socioeconomic
impacts of management decisions.
• The Gulf States have adequate science and management tools to better
understand how freshwater and wetland systems influence nutrient impacts.

N-2: Nutrient Criteria Development: Identify common state needs and
priorities for the development of nutrient criteria and provide support and
technical assistance to facilitate a regional approach to nutrient criteria
development and management.


Why do this?
By working collaboratively, the Alliance is providing a forum to the States
that encourages the establishment of consistent and
scientifically-defensible coastal nutrient criteria development process.
The establishment of appropriate and protective nutrient criteria will, in
turn, increase the productivity and economic viability of the Gulf of
Mexico.


Results at the end of 5 years
• All five Gulf States have coordinated coastal nutrient criteria
development milestones in their respective state Nutrient Criteria
Development Plans.
• Through a collaborative effort, the five Gulf States have a consistent,
established framework for the development of appropriate and protective
coastal nutrient criteria across the Gulf of Mexico.
• Regional forums are established for communication and resource sharing to
address nutrient pollution to coastal ecosystems.

N-3: Hypoxia: Coordinate strategies and provide guidance to better
characterize hypoxia and the resulting socioeconomic impacts.


Why do this?
More than 40% of the United States drains into the Gulf of Mexico,
therefore, addressing hypoxia in the Gulf requires collaboration and effort
at a national scale. On a watershed scale, it is important to encourage the
development of watershed-specific nutrient reduction targets to minimize
areas affected by hypoxia. The Alliance is and will continue to partner
with the Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task Force to address the
large hypoxic zone off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.


Results at the end of 5 years
• The Gulf states have integrated, regionally-comparable models that
predict hypoxia and its impacts.



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

• Watershed nutrient reduction plans are completed and include strategies
for reducing Gulf hypoxia in state-selected priority watersheds.
• Alliance partners have developed nutrient reduction plans for at least
five project areas.
• The Alliance and the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient
Task Force have formed a partnership to implement nutrient reduction and
monitoring strategies within the Mississippi River Watershed.


N-4: Nutrient Reduction Activities: Develop management tools and
implement nutrient reduction activities in cooperation with local
communities to reduce excess nutrient inputs to estuaries and coastal
waters.


Why do this?
Excess nutrients impact ecosystem health and reduce the economic benefit
and human use for coastal communities along the Gulf of Mexico. With the
Gulf States working collaboratively to characterize nutrients and their
impacts, establish coastal nutrient criteria and the increased public
awareness of Gulf of Mexico hypoxia, this is a perfect opportunity to
implement actions to reduce excessive nutrient inputs to Gulf waters.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Local governments and coastal communities have an increased awareness of
the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of nutrient pollution and
prevention.
• Gulf States and partners have access to information documenting nutrient
reduction progress.
• Gulf States and partners have a nutrient reduction strategy template that
can be applied to Gulf of Mexico watersheds.
• Additional partnerships are established with upstream states.


Coastal Community Resilience


The coast of the Gulf of Mexico has attracted and supported human
settlement for over
12,000 years. From the beginning, these settlements have faced and adapted
to challenges of living along the coast. Economics and aesthetics drove
the growth of coastal populations and fostered the persistence and
resettlement of these communities after fire, war, famine, disease and
storms. The economic, ecological, and social losses from coastal hazards
events have multiplied as development and population growth increasingly
place people in harm’s way and as the ecosystems’ natural resilience is
compromised by development and pollution. These growth pressures continue
to shape and grow the Gulf of Mexico coast today. In addition, the latest
climate change research suggests that new challenges are on the horizon
from sea level rise and other impacts.


Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

Long-term Coastal Community Resilience Goals….in 20 years
• More resilient coastal communities and ecosystems in both structure and
function
• Regional and localized models of risk and consequences to natural,
built, and social environments
• Residents and visitors that understand the risks and consequences
associated with living, working, and doing business in the Gulf of Mexico
region
• State-of-the-art mitigation methods for reducing risks and enhancing
resilience
• Increasing numbers of communities, businesses, and individuals that have
adopted new methods for risk mitigation and resilience

R-1: Risk and Resilience Assessment: Measure the natural, built, and
social environments and understand the regional and localized risks and
consequences associated with living, working, and doing business along the
Gulf of Mexico, including a consideration of climate change.


Why do this?
In order to empower coastal communities to become more resilient to coastal
hazards, it is important to establish baseline conditions associated with
risks and consequences to the natural, built and social environments. Once
baseline conditions are established, coastal communities can identify
current resilience factors and begin to address gaps in their resilience
that pose significant risks or for which unacceptable consequences are
inevitable.


Results at the end of 5 years
• The Resilience Index evaluates 20 coastal communities to self-assess
their vulnerabilities and track progress towards greater resilience. 10 of
those coastal communities have now adopted more sustainable development
policies and procedures.
• Through the installation and monitoring of 10 new CORS and SET’s a
region-wide geospatial infrastructure is in place and baseline data for
monitoring local sea level rise trends in natural and built environments
have been established.
• A Resilience Social Climate Survey has been completed in 20 coastal
communities that measure trends in public knowledge and acceptance of
resilience, coastal hazard, and other related issues.
• Improved accuracy of wetlands dynamics models have been run for estuarine
systems around the Gulf to show the ecological impacts of sea level rise.
These models were used by 50% of land use planners and zoning ordinances on
proper placement of developing areas located within coastal communities.
• Assessment of Gulf-wide risks and resilience of natural, built, and
social environments is complete. These assessments have assisted state and
local policy makers and land use planners in purchasing parcels of land to
prevent development and communities located in hazardous areas from storms.



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

R-2: Risk and Resilience Management Toolbox: Inventory existing
capabilities and tools to address coastal hazards in the Gulf Region,
identify important gaps, and, where needed, develop new methods to enhance
regional and local resilience.


Why do this?
Often communities are unaware of the resources available to better manage
risks and consequences and improve resiliency. State-of-the-art methods
can be shared with communities via workshops, guidebooks, and the
clearinghouse (see Priority #3) and will include tools such as models,
policy recommendations, and inventory programs for first responders. These
methods can support decision-makers at the community level in
their efforts to improve resiliency, thus helping to strengthen economies
by improving the quality of life for residents and providing stable
business environments.


Results at the end of 5 years
• Risk and resilience-related management toolbox lead to better informed
decision- making and is being used by 50% individuals, businesses, and
communities.
• Hazardous materials inventories are accessible to 70% of local and State
decision- makers across the Gulf States.
• Recommendations for enhancements to existing resilience policies are
implemented in at least 40% of local coastal communities.
• Tragedy Averted: Resilience Management Toolbox saves lives and Ecosystems
• Through the distribution of the Resilience Management Toolbox 70% of
coastal marinas have adopted more resilient and environmentally responsible
operations and volunteered to become certified as Clean/Sustainable
Marinas.


R-3: Risk and Resilience Communication: Inform and educate stakeholders
about the risks and consequences associated with living, working, and doing
business in the Gulf of Mexico region as well as any state-of-the-art
methods for mitigation and increasing resilience.


Why do this?
Once the risks and potential consequences of coastal hazards are identified
and the steps toward becoming more resilient are determined; it is
imperative to communicate these findings to the coastal communities and
decision makers. Ensuring that the risk assessment and mitigation tools
are communicated and make available to the decision- makers at the local
level will empower coastal communities to become more resilient.


Results at the end of 5 years
• State-specific resiliency guidebooks/handbooks have been developed and
distributed to more that 50% of local coastal communities.



Action Plan II Draft Overview, February 27, 2009

• An online Gulf of Mexico Resilience Clearinghouse/Webportal is
established and available to all residents of and visitors to the Gulf of
Mexico region as well as other interested parties. It is the number one
source for communities preparing for coastal hazards.
• Sea level rise modeling results from the Gulf region are available via
the Clearinghouse/Webportal, and the Alliance is exchanging information
related to sea level rise and climate change with efforts around the
country. Resulting in partnerships with Mexico and other nations bordering
the Gulf of Mexico
• 20 Resiliency training workshops have been held across the Gulf of
Mexico States.
• Resilience information and tools collected and/or developed by the
Alliance are available to all Gulf Coast residents using a variety of
communication methods. The mass distribution of printing and publishing
50,000 copies of state specific handbooks/guidebooks regarding steps to
prepare coastal communities from hazards.

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