Leland C. Moss, Tim J.B. Carruthers, Harris Bienn, Adrian Mcinnis, Alyssa M. Dausman , 2020. “Gulf-wide data synthesis for restoration planning: Utility and limitations”, Shore & Beach 88(1), 23-33. http://doi.org/10.34237/1008813
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Gulf-wide data synthesis for restoration planning: Utility and limitations
Leland C. Moss, Tim J.B. Carruthers, Harris Bienn, Adrian Mcinnis, and Alyssa M. Dausman
The Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, LA 70802; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Multiple funding mechanisms support restoration across the northern Gulf of Mexico. To maximize environmental, societal, and financial benefits of these investments, best use of available science is needed to inform project prioritization and planning processes. Synthesizing available data across the northern Gulf of Mexico can provide information on potential threats to, and benefits from, projects or suites of projects. To achieve this, subject matter experts from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas were identified with recommendations from each of the RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence. These experts provided known sources of Gulf-wide data and recommended metrics that would be most informative, resulting in 40 threat, 19 habitat and 10 community primary data layers. Two tessellated geospatial hexagon grids were generated to provide uniform coverage that encompassed a 25-mile buffer of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) boundary at a spatial grid resolution of 100 km2 and 1 km2. The two resultant grid domains included all counties in the five Gulf states determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as contributing to coastal watersheds. The varying grid resolutions allowed for data to be spatially visualized both at a broad Gulf-wide scale on the 100 km2 grid as well as at a regional and project level scale on the 1 km2 grid. The data layers were synthesized into combined layers of potential stress, potential ecological benefits, and potential community benefits. These layers support broad scale prioritization for restoration efforts, based on likelihood of success and desired outcomes. The synthesized data were discussed in the context of the five goals and four priority criteria of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s (RESTORE Council) aim of using best available science (BAS) to guide future funding for restoration at large and small scales.