Texas Sea Grant director appointed to national committee to assess Gulf restoration practices

March 31, 2015

By Cindie Powell

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Director of the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, has been appointed to a National Academies committee whose 18-month charge is to identify best practices for monitoring and evaluating restoration activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

“As we work together in the Gulf of Mexico to restore this ecologically and economically important large marine ecosystem, the report that results from this committee will help guide monitoring and evaluation of restoration efforts in the region, improve performance of programs now in place as well as those planned for the future, and ultimately further our restoration goals,” Plotkin said. “I am delighted and honored by my appointment to this important committee.

The ad hoc committee under the auspices of the National Research Council will work to identify existing, effective ways to develop initial and long-term monitoring goals and methods, determine essential baseline data needs, and synthesize that information for use in current and planned Gulf restoration activities.

The group will also evaluate new approaches that, in combination with current best practices, could increase effectiveness, reduce costs, ensure region-wide compatibility of monitoring data, and advance the science and practice of restoration. Additionally, the committee has been charged with identifying options that ensure that monitoring at the project or site-based scale can be used cumulatively and comprehensively to provide region-wide insights and to track effectiveness on larger geographic scales and over longer time periods.

Also appointed to the committee were two other Texas-based researchers, Dr. Paul Montagna, Endowed Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Dr. Matthew K. Howard, Research Scientist with the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University, who is affiliated with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC).

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.