The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (NGOM SSC) facilitates transition of sea-level rise (SLR) observations and place-based research into local and regional decision-making to improve coastal community resilience. Developed in 2011, the NGOM SCC is located in the East Gulf Coastal Plain, and includes all coastal counties from the Pearl River to the Suwannee River. Focused on SLR and inundation, the Cooperative is made up of a diverse array of partners from over 24 entities, including local, regional, and national government agencies and departments, universities, non-profits, and other cooperatives. These partners work together to identify and address management and science needs and gaps. The various projects and actions recommended as a result of these efforts are led by the Management Team (MT) made up representatives across the science-to-stewardship continuum.
Expand partnerships by attracting key members of the community to the cooperative.
Assist with the identification of sea-level rise knowledge gaps and options for filling them.
Facilitate transition of sea-level rise science into decision making
Assist with general coordination of the cooperative
To continue the momentum of the NGOM SSC program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium will increase the current 0.5 FTE coordinator to a full time position for the NGOM SSC. The coordinator will work with end-users and partners to further expand the capacity of the NGOM SSC to support coordination and information transfer across the science to stewardship continuum.
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative Implementation Plan 2013-2018 was developed by the SSC management team to document goals and objectives. Three primary goals were outlined:
- Enhance and expand sea-level rise partnerships to maximize effectiveness of data collection, modeling, and response to this information through increased coordination and collaboration
- Improve science based capabilities for understanding sea-level rise and its impacts
- Facilitate the transfer of science-based information to inform SLR planning and adaptation efforts at the local level
In executing the implementation plan to achieve that above listed goals, the NGOM SSC has had many successes. The MT and partners have opened lines of communication across the science to stewardship continuum, developed and produced products to strengthen those communications, and have undertaken projects that directly address SLR needs and gaps for both science and management. A major milestone achieved was integrating a coordinator into the MT. This has allowed a focused application of time and energy to complete projects, such as Keeping pace: A short guide to sea-level rise models and a webinar facilitating interaction between researchers and Gulf oyster managers.
Additionally, dedicated staff time has secured additional funding for the development of an online, interactive decision support tree and transition of research on benefits of natural and nature based features into community and natural resource management. The MT was also able to leverage funding for interns to complete inventories and gap analyses of SLR observing infrastructure.