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GRIIDC Partners with RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Programs

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) is pleased to announce a new partnership to provide data management, storage, and sharing services for research data produced by the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program and the Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence.

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act of 2012 directs 80 percent of Gulf oil spill civil penalties paid under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) be contributed to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. About 2.5 percent of those funds have been used to create six Centers of Excellence in each Gulf state to distribute funds towards Gulf of Mexico research. Funded research will focus on: coastal and deltaic sustainability; restoration and protection; coastal fisheries and wildlife research and monitoring; offshore energy development; sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial development; and comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program (FLRACEP), led by the Florida Institute of Oceanography and hosted at the University of South Florida, was the first center to be established and is a consortium of 27 institutions. The main focus areas of FLRACEP are coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring and comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico. The first RFP released by FLRACEP funded 10 distinct studies, including hard bottom mapping of the Florida Gulf Coast; examining the impact of invasive species on fisheries; and the use of economic indicators to assess recreational fisheries. As the only multidisciplinary data repository focused exclusively on the Gulf, GRIIDC is a natural partner to support the sharing of data generated through these projects.

The Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence is a consortium of nine institutions led by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Texas OneGulf has identified four priorities for its first two years of funding: Texas OneGulf Network of Experts, a network of the state’s top environmental science and human health researchers; developing a Strategic Research and Action Plan to guide the center; Texas Knowledge Base, the largest ever Gulf of Mexico database; and building an infrastructure to support Disaster Research Capability for Texas. GRIIDC will play an integral role in supporting the Texas Knowledge Base to ensure that Texas scientists, resource managers, decision-makers, and the public have real-time access to the best available science and information.

GRIIDC staff will be working closely with FLRACEP and Texas OneGulf to help assist in data management planning, data submission, and metadata creation by providing webinars, workshops, and one-on-one training to researchers. GRIIDC looks forward to the new collaboration and to creating a more robust repository for Gulf of Mexico research data.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization, and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.