Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

(903) 570-9626
Conservation Coordinator 

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative

Date: 07/10/15

What is a Sentinel Site Cooperative?

A Sentinel Site Cooperative is comprised of partnerships between the many agencies, organizations, researchers, and communities that have invested resources into better understanding, mitigating, and adapting to sea-level rise.  Sentinel Site Cooperatives are a component of the Sentinel Site Program, a program working to increase the impact and productivity of sea-level rise research and management through existing assets, programs, and resources in a place-based, issue-driven approach.  The Cooperatives facilitate the flow of data and information along the science to stewardship continuum (Figure at Right).  This is achieved through an organized network of local, state, and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions.  There are five Sentinel Site Cooperatives in the U.S.: Northern Gulf of Mexico, San Francisco Bay, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Chesapeake Bay. 

About the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative…

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (NGOM SSC) covers the Pearl River to the Suwannee River (Fig 2) and has a strong and expansive partner base that has worked hard to develop a mission, goals, and actions for the Cooperative.  Partners include:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Northern Gulf Institute

Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment

The Nature Conservancy

Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative

U.S. National Park Service

NOAA National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science

National Geodetic Survey

Center for Operational Products and Services

National Estuarine Research Reserves

NOAA Gulf Regional Collaboration Team

Sea Grant (Mississippi-Alabama, Florida)

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice

University of Central Florida

University of Florida, Florida State University

University of South Carolina

Louisiana State University

University of South Alabama

   

To achieve these goals an Implementation Plan was developed based on science and management needs identified by Sentinel Site Cooperative partners.  The Implementation Plan includes a mission statement and goals:

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative will improve integration, translation, and transition of coastal data and research products in the northern Gulf of Mexico for application by regional and local resource managers, scientists, and community leaders for adaptation to sea level rise (SLR) and coastal inundation.

Goals:

  1. Enhance and expand SLR partnerships to maximize effectiveness of data collection, modeling, and response to this information through increased coordination and collaboration
  2. Improve science-based capabilities for understanding SLR and its impacts
  3. Foster science-based decisions to support SLR and coastal inundation planning and adaptation efforts

The NGOM SSC recently held a partnership workshop to identify science and management needs from the Implementation Plan to be prioritized over the next two years and develop actions to address these needs.  A total of 22 people representing 19 agencies participated in the workshop.  Three needs were prioritized for focus in the next two years:

How does the NGOM Cooperative address these needs?

The partners that make up the NGOM SSC have been working hard on projects and initiatives that address the above and other identified needs.  This includes an inventory of the surface elevation tables or SETs within the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico.  The complete inventory was conducted through a partnership with the Sentinel Site Cooperative and the USGS National Wetlands Research Center and is now being disseminated here through the GCPO LCC Coastal Planning Atlas (Figure at right).

Marshes and wetlands are critical habitat along the Gulf Coast and many of our partners are trying to better understand how marshes will adapt to and be impacted by sea-level change. At the Grand Bay NERR a project is currently underway to better understand the use of prescribed fires in marsh landward migration.  Another example of the habitat work happening with SSC partners is the collaborative effort by the four Gulf Coast LCCs and USGS to identify future coastal wetland migration corridors across the U.S. Gulf Coast.  These projects will improve management and conservation efforts across the region.

The Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise (EESLR) is also very active in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative.  ESSLR is an effort funded by NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to provide coastal managers with the knowledge and tools to prepare for the impacts of tides and storm surge from sea-level rise with increased certainty through field observations and the development of tools and models.  Additionally, partners at the National Estuarine Research Reserves and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance are working to bring decision-makers and scientists together through the Connecting Citizens to Scientists program, developing lines of communication and flow of information between the groups.

How to get involved with the Cooperative!

Currently the NGOM SSC is looking to conduct a series of workshops to discuss utilizing consistent sea-level rise scenarios across the Gulf.  Please email us at ngom.sentinel.site@gmail.com  if you have any interest in participating in the webinars either as a speaker or a participant. 

The NGOM SSC will have the first triannual partnership call on Wednesday August 12.  If you would like to participate on the call, subscribe to our triannual newsletter, or get more information about what the NGOM Sentinel Site Cooperative is doing please email ngom.sentinel.site@gmail.comand visit our website for more information.