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The first year of this partnership will focus on the development of an inventory and prioritization of potential hydrological restoration projects to benefit living marine and estuarine resources in and adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico; establishment of monitoring criteria for use in assessing success of hydrological restoration projects and environmental and ecological changes that result from restoration activities; and development of a request for proposals (RFP) that will be supported by years two and three funding of on‐the‐ground hydrological restoration.
This regional partnership between the NOAA Restoration Center and the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant College Programs focuses on capturing the benefits of coastal restoration, which may include critical issues, such as climate change, coastal resiliency and benefits to recreational fisheries. The process to capture these benefits will be embedded within each phase of the partnership. Extension agents from each Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant College Program will meet with communities to identify hydrological restoration sites and apply specific criteria to each site so that the sites can be prioritized.
Definition of Hydrological Restoration for this Partnership
To remove or modify anthropogenic barriers to restore historic tidal estuarine and freshwater exchange to benefit coastal and marine fisheries habitat.
Scale of Restoration Projects for this Initiative
The primary focus of this effort is on restoration projects that improve 5 acres of habitat or more and cost less than $1 million to complete. Larger (up to $5 million) or smaller projects may be considered and used by other partners who are interested in supporting hydrological restoration projects.
Objectives for Year 1
Objective 1: In the first year of the project, 100 to 150 hydrological restoration sites in the Gulf of Mexico will be identified and prioritized according to a set of established criteria.
Part I: Developing the Site Prioritization Criteria
Part II: Utilizing Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Extension Agents to Apply the Criteria
Part III: Prioritizing the Restoration Sites
Part IV: Assembling the Report and GIS Layers of Potential Restoration Sites
Objective 2: By the end of the first year, a set of monitoring criteria that is appropriate for assessment of hydrological restoration sites will be developed and incorporated into future phases of this Partnership.
Objective 3: By the end of the first year, an RFP for hydrological restoration projects will be released.
Figure 1: Four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant regions include Texas (A), Louisiana (B), Mississippi and Alabama (C) and Florida (D).