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DALLAS – (April 27, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Division announced the Gulf of Mexico and the Seagrass Community of Practice as the winners of the Gulf Guardian Award. For four years, the GOMA and CoP have collaborated to identify information needs, management applications and best practices related to seagrass monitoring, conservation and restoration.

“The work of protecting and improving the Gulf of Mexico goes far beyond the coast, touching most of the Central U.S. through the Mississippi River basin,” said Regional Administrator Earthea Nance. “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners reflect the diverse ways people can help, and their passion for making a difference. Congratulations to the awardees and for all they do to protect this precious natural resource.”

“The Gulf of Mexico is a vulnerable ecosystem that requires innovative approaches and proactive measures to protect this national resource.  Over the past two years, the Gulf Guardian award winners have continued to think “outside of the box” during challenging circumstances due to COVID-19.  These Gulf Guardian Awards are an important way to recognize the valuable efforts of all their hard work to protect the environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Marc Wyatt, Director, Gulf of Mexico Division.

“The GOMA Seagrass Monitoring CoP acts as a bridge between scientists and managers to encourage collaboration and implementation of actionable science across the Gulf,” said Scientist Emeritus Lawrence Handley. “The GOMA Seagrass Monitoring CoP has initiated a Tier Approach to Seagrass Monitoring, that continues to provide support for implementation of seagrass monitoring across the Gulf.”

Since its inception in 2017, the CoP has been active in gathering expertise, identifying information priorities, synthesizing existing needs and coordinating with scientists and resource managers in the Gulf. This has been accomplished through workshops, expert webinars, as well as numerous group meetings and calls. These efforts have resulted in a series of reports including the 2017 Need Assessment Workshop Report, a dynamic web-based Citation Inventory, guidance documents and the Gulf of Mexico Status and Trends Update Report for 2020. At this stage, there is now a well-established network of experts routinely communicating in the region and coordinating on project activities.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Division visit our webpage.

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