Sea Grant extension for the north central Gulf of Mexico: A submission to the NOAA Sentinel Site

End Date: 8/31/2016


Identification of Sentinel Site knowledge gaps and options for filling them including involving other NOAA regional assets, including Sea Grant, with the Cooperative;

  1. expand local partnerships by attracting other key members of the community, including resource managers and planners and organizing informational meetings/webinars on the NOAA Sentinel Site Program to seek additional support;
  2. represent the Sentinel Site at local, regional and national meetings;  prepare communication materials for various events, newsletters, etc.; organize training programs on the risks and challenges of sea level rise and coastal inundation;
  3. better integrate research projects with extension programming by working with researchers on priorities and ensuring that the projects are mutually beneficial;
  4. seek additional funding support by applying for regional and national funding opportunities;
  5. update implementation plans based on feedback from the Cooperative and develop/report on milestones and progress;
  6. communicate with other Cooperatives and NOAA headquarters representatives as to status, progress, climate science and research needs and information gaps.


To ensure the ultimate success of the program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium’s supported Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center (AUMERC) will hire a coordinator (0.5 FTE) for the Sentinel Site Cooperative (SSC) in the North Central Gulf of Mexico to work with end-users and partners to build support for the SSC by providing services that benefit them through the use of available assets available through the SSC. 

The coordinator will also engage with partners such as the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the three cooperating National Estuarine Research Reserves, the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team, the Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice, the appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the NOAA funded Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments programs in the Gulf of Mexico region (Southeast Climate Consortium and Southern Impacts Planning Program) and the newly formed USDA Southeast Climate Hub. The aforementioned groups are natural partners for the SSC at the macro-scale and would benefit from a strong SSC extension program developed, implemented and evaluated by the coordinator. In turn, end-users such as resource managers, industry, local governments, non-governmental organizations and others will be able to better plan for the effects of climate change and inundation through the SSC. In the end, it is expected that support for the SSC will build as the partners and local Communities.


The NOAA Sentinel Site Cooperatives use a place-based approach to address issues of local, regional and national significance. Experts, spanning the science-service-stewardship continuum, are brought together to inform management decisions at NOAA’s Trust Resources, such as NERRS sites and neighboring communities. There are five sentinel site cooperatives around the U.S. This two-year project will provide extension programming needs for the Cooperative in the North Central Gulf of Mexico region.