U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, RESTORE Council, and Texas Park and Wildlife Foundation

Science-based Decision Support for Restoration and Conservation Planning in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Author(s): Huy Vu, Leland Moss, Adrian McInnis, Michael Vingiello, Cyndhia Ramatchandirane

There are currently multiple large mechanisms to support restoration and land conservation in the northern Gulf of Mexico. To ensure that environmental, societal, and financial benefits of this investment are maximized, it is essential to ensure best use of available science to inform prioritization and planning processes. While extensive research and monitoring have occurred across the northern Gulf of Mexico, they have largely addressed individual questions, been separated by governance boundaries (e.g., between states) or across agencies (federal and state), and been collected at a wide variety of spatial and temporal scales. Synthesizing data that is available across the northern Gulf of Mexico can provide context and best use of this science by informing potential threats to, and benefits from, restoration and conservation projects. This Gulfwide Initiative effort developed a decision support tool, using best available science, to provide context at a local watershed scale for potential restoration or conservation projects.