Environmental monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico poses extensive challenges and significant opportunities. Multiple jurisdictions manage this biogeographically and culturally diverse region, whose monitoring programs tend to be project-specific by design and funding. As a result, these programs form more of a monitoring patchwork then a network. At the same time, the Gulf monitoring community faces a unique opportunity to organize and think differently about monitoring - including how best to allocate and manage the resources for this large marine ecosystem and its communities - as a result of the infusion of resources for environmental restoration and related activities after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Monitoring Ecosystem Restoration and Deep Water Environments summarizes a Gulf Research Program workshop held on September 3-4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The workshop gathered about 40 participants from the energy industry, state and federal government, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to examine two broad issues that were seen as time-sensitive opportunities in light of significant investments in the Gulf for restoration and accelerating development of energy resources in the deep Gulf: monitoring ecosystem restoration and deep water environments. As participants explored potential opportunities for the Program to consider, they noted the essential role that communication and outreach play in successful monitoring, and the importance of applying an ecosystem service approach to monitoring, forging partnerships among stakeholders, and supporting efforts to organize and manage monitoring data.
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