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December 17, 2014
Developing proposals for environmental observations and long term studies in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the areas the NOAA RESTORE Act is focusing on in this first grant competition. Here, NOAA Mussell Watch scientists use a Van Veen grab, a lightweight sampler designed to take large samples in soft bottoms, to collect sediments for analysis. (Credit: NOAA)
NOAA has issued a call for proposals under the first federal funding opportunity issued by the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, which supports research in the Gulf of Mexico on long-term sustainability of the ecosystem and its fisheries. The competition seeks proposals for timely and high-quality scientific results that may be used to inform science-based and system-wide strategies supporting the sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico, including its fisheries.
NOAA invites the research and management community to apply for funding, up to $2.5 million in total, for one- to two-year projects to conduct the following types of work:
Comprehensive assessment of current ecosystem computer modeling;
Comparison and analysis of indicators for the health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem including people and fisheries; and
Assessment of monitoring and observing capabilities.
These proposals should address at least one of three areas:
"This initial funding provides an opportunity for researchers to develop innovative strategies and tools that will promote resiliency and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico, and help drive how this program and initiatives of our partners move forward,” said Becky Allee, Ph.D., acting director of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. “We are eager to make the funds available to the research community and put their results to use as soon as possible.”
“The scientific information, syntheses, and strategies resulting from this funding opportunity will help the program determine how to develop information and tools that will be clearly usable by resource managers to make more informed decisions on management and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico,” she added.
This federal funding opportunity is in response to the RESTORE Act, also known as the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (2.6MB PDF), that authorized NOAA to establish and administer a “Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology Program.” Details of the funding opportunity were published today on the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program website. The deadline for submissions of letters of intent is January 30, 2015 and the deadline for final proposals is March 17, 2015
NOAA is currently in the process of finalizing the overall NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program science plan which outlines 10 long-term research priorities to guide how the program will invest its funds and explains how these priorities were determined. The program anticipates releasing a final version of the science plan early next year.
The NOAA program is funded by 2½ percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, established by the RESTORE Act, which comprises 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil penalties recovered from parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On February 19, 2013, a federal judge approved a $1 billion civil settlement with Transocean, as a responsible party for the oil spill. This settlement provides the NOAA Restore Act Science Program with $20 million plus 25 percent of any interest accrued from the portion of the settlement deposited into the Trust Fund.
Additional funding may become available from settlements with or judgments against other parties deemed responsible by the courts for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The mission of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program is to increase understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries, and to support its restoration and sustainability through research, observation, monitoring, and technology development.
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