Texas OneGulf: Completed Research for Texas and the Gulf of Mexico

 

Texas OneGulf

Beginning in 2015, the first 5 years of operation for the RESTORE funded Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence resulted in 7 projects totaling nearly $3 million for research addressing priority problems affecting the health and wellbeing of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.  This funding was supplemented by the Office of the Governor, resulting in an additional 11 projects with about $2 million in research funding.

These projects represented the first major allocation of research dollars from the Texas OneGulf consortium, which was created after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to direct funding in support of programs, projects and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region. The projects tackled a variety of issues that directly impact Texas, the Gulf of Mexico and its residents, from developing a report card to assess Gulf of Mexico and Texas coastal health and productivity, to using underwater gliders to search the coast for hypoxic dead zones, to helping Texas communities recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Results for a subset of research projects are included below, followed by a full list of completed research. For additional results or information contact Dr. Katya Wowk.

 

Select Research Results

Gulf of Mexico Report Card Prototype for Texas
Lead Institution: Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

This project developed a prototype Gulf of Mexico Report Card by evaluating the overall ecosystem health of the Texas Gulf Coast. Workshops of scientists, stakeholders and Texas environmental managers convened to identify the pressures and stressors that impinge on coastal Texas ecosystems and define long-term sustainability goals.  Texas OneGulf continues to develop this work and hopes to grow the Report Card spatially, across the entire Gulf, as well as thematically, adding additional categories for, e.g., socioeconomics.

Results

 

Hurricane Harvey Decision-Support - Resilient Environments and Communities
Lead Institution: University of Texas Medical Branch

This interdisciplinary project focused on various aspect of Harvey recovery, from human coastal communities to coastal ecosystems. Researchers monitored the effects and recovery dynamics of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on key waterbodies, investigated planning-policy-resource allocations in impacted communities, provided recommendations to improve integration of hazard mitigation planning at the local and county scale, used social network analysis to characterize relationships that are key to strengthening the mitigation and recovery process, and conducted a legal review of key challenges and considerations for disaster response and resilience in Texas, including by identifying gaps and conflicts.

Results

 

Socio-Economic Indicators for Coastal Community Disaster Response and Resilience
Lead Institution: Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Researches collaborated to identify socio-economic indicators that can be used in disaster response assessments by: Bringing together leading expertise in this area to populate a searchable database of indicators for community and human wellbeing; working with the Gulf of Mexico National Estuarine Research Reserves to apply these in a local context; and publishing online and in-print a guide to socio‐economic indicators for disaster response and community resilience.

Results

 

Disaster Research Response Infrastructure
Lead Institution: Texas A&M University

The Texas OneGulf Disaster Research Response (DR2) Program investigated for the first time an infrastructure to support disaster research response encompassing both environmental, human health and economic assessment capabilities that can be employed rapidly to assess the impact of disasters along the Texas Gulf coast in real-time. It is important to create a dialog between community stakeholders and researchers that builds trust, facilitates access and allows for the sharing of information, concerns, etc. between and among the stakeholder groups. DR2 activities contribute to disaster preparedness, response and recovery by providing critical information key to effective decision-making when disasters strike.

Results

 

Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Assessment Plan for Texas
Lead Institution: Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) pose a significant and growing threat to ocean and human health, namely through toxin production and the disruption of natural processes that are otherwise important for ecosystem health and human livelihood (e.g., nutrient cycling, oxygenation, fisheries production). This study addresses two priority needs pertaining to HABs on the Texas coast, including: 1) An immediate need to understand the evolution and drivers of K. brevis blooms and toxin production in estuarine environments where human exposure to algal toxins is most likely, and 2) A longer-term need to develop a comprehensive HAB monitoring program and network in the Coastal Bend region of Texas that will ultimately serve as a framework for the rest of the Texas coast.

Project Results Pending

 

Glider Applications to Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone Monitoring
Lead Institution: Texas A&M University

Sustained and recurring hypoxia conditions in the Gulf of Mexico represent a disaster, however disaster responders are hindered by a lack of real-time data. This project provided a methodology to collect real-time data and project conditions into the future, both of which are valuable assets to first responders. This project contributes to these efforts because the placement of gliders in the Gulf of Mexico provided objective and metric-based assessments to evaluate the state of Gulf health and productivity in real-time. Real-time data in the areas of ocean observing, data acquisition and management, and system analytics and modeling decreases the amount of time needed to respond to disaster events detected by the gliders and increases the information needed to facilitate a risk-assessment-based process to inform policy and decision-makers for the benefit of Texas and the Gulf.

Results

 

Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Plan
Lead Institution: University of Texas Medical Branch

This project was formed to create Stakeholder Communication and Engagement Plan for Texas OneGulf by engaging diverse groups, including academic clinicians and scientists, community organizations, industry representatives, local and regional authorities, emergency response officials, and policy-makers involved in disaster preparedness, response, and resiliency. The aims of the project included to: 1) provide a stakeholder analysis, with emphasis on decision-makers; 2) solicit broad-based stakeholder perceptions of short- and long-term issues and threats related to the Gulf; 3) analyze the ability of the Texas OneGulf Network of Experts (TONE) to help address these issues; and 4) develop a comprehensive Communications and Engagement Plan for Texas OneGulf based on findings.

Results

 

 

Full List of Completed Projects

 

Visit Texas OneGulf Website

Texas OneGulf Current Research

 

This project was paid for [in part] with federal funding from the Department of the Treasury through the State of Texas under the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).