NCI to partner on NOAA RESTORE grant to Develop the Framework for a Decision-Making Tool for the Gulf of Mexico

NCI is part of a multidisciplinary team that was awarded a grant from the NOAA RESTORE Science Program to co-design a decision-support tool for managers of Gulf of Mexico natural resource systems.

igure 1: Overall framework for the proposed interactive forecast system and how it would inform the decision-making process.  Image credit: Ehab Meselhe

In the northern Gulf of Mexico, coastal managers often express the need for accurate scientific tools to understand the inputs of freshwater, nutrients and sediment so they can manage potential impacts on fisheries, marine mammals, shorebirds, and barrier islands.

“This project will guide prioritization of funding, siting and design of proposed restoration projects, incorporate adaptive management strategies and guide the management of riverine inflows in the northern Gulf of Mexico,” said Ehab Meselhe, principal investigator and professor in the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering at Tulane University.

“One of the hallmarks of the NCI Charrette approach is bringing together different disciplines so that a holistic and feasible solution is developed,” said Holly Madill, NCI director. “NCI is excited to be part of this groundbreaking project.”

“The project is unique because it will allow resource managers to explore the potential effects of specific management alternatives and will produce a needs-driven and science-based forecast system that builds capacity for interdisciplinary work through training and engagements. Our team is intentionally inclusive to capture a broad set of perspectives, experiences, and views,” Meselhe said.

Through this NOAA RESTORE Science Program grant, NCI will convene federal and state natural resource managers across many gulf states and scientists from across multiple disciplines for a three-day virtual charrette to co-develop the framework for this tool.

“The NOAA RESTORE Science Program aims to fund research that reduces the uncertainty around the management of natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico region,” said Julien Lartigue, director of the Science Program. “The team of resource managers and researchers that Dr. Meselhe has assembled will work together to develop a publicly accessible river management and forecast system to explore the tradeoffs between different restoration strategies in the lower Mississippi River as well as examine how to optimize river inflows to reach restoration targets. The team submitted a competitive proposal, and we are looking forward to working with them on this award.”

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, established the RESTORE Science Program in 2012, to carry out research, observation and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem. For more information about the grant, click here.


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