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The Gateway is for the conservation practitioner, scientist and decision-maker. Here we share the best and most up-to-date information we use to inform our work at The Nature Conservancy.

Decision Support for Restoring the Gulf of Mexico

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The Gulf of Mexico is arguably the most significant example in the US of the inextricable link between human communities and coastal ecosystem services. However, one of the impediments to previous efforts towards large-scale conservation and restoration in the Gulf has been a lack of cohesive ecological, social, and economic information.  TNC is developing decision support to inform the identification of restoration projects with maximum socio-economic and ecological benefits. The Gulf Restoration Decision Support project involves four key steps: 1) identifying ecological criteria that define where restoration can be successful, 2) identifying socio-economic criteria that determine when restoration is most feasible and beneficial 3) collecting, processing and analyzing spatial data that represent those criteria, and 4) delivering that information across the Web in a user-friendly mapping application. Gulf decision support can:

  • explore alternative restoration scenarios that account for social, economic, and ecological benefits
  • provide information to policy and decision-makers, scientists, and other key stakeholders who must evaluate the best options for recovery and restoration investments
  • help understand likely future conditions from sea level rise and coastal wetlands migration
  • contribute to the Presidential Executive Order on Gulf Restoration and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) to effectively restore Gulf habitats