Lessons from the field – translating sea-level rise science into coastal decision making in the northern Gulf of Mexico

Renee Collini, Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, MS-AL Sea Grant/Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, United States, Marian Hanisko, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, United States, Jenna Harper, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve/FL Department of Environmental Protection, United States, David Kidwell, NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Silver Spring, MD, United States, Michael Johannes Osland, Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, Tracie Sempier, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Ocean Springs, MS, United States and John Tirpak, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, GA, United States
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (Cooperative) is a partnership of local, regional, and national organizations and agencies working together to increase sea-level rise resilience. The Cooperative partners include researchers, modelers, Extension and outreach professionals, stewardship organizations, and built environment and natural resource decision-makers. Over the past seven years, the NOAA-funded Cooperative has worked across the partnership to identify and address critical gaps in data, research, and decision-making needs around sea-level rise in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In the intervening years, the partnership has collectively generated science to meet the identified needs, built mechanisms to transfer and translate this science, and supported application of the science at the local level. Utilizing specific case study examples, elements for successful sea-level rise communication and science application along with challenges and lessons learned will be demonstrated for both individual projects and larger partnerships such as the Cooperative. The presentation will conclude with a review of the Cooperative’s practice to annually evaluate priorities with the entire partnership. This practice enabled a responsive evolution of Cooperative’s focus and activities, keeping the Cooperative relevant and valuable to its partners. Keeping the partnership strong has led to invaluable progress around sea-level rise resilience in the northern Gulf of Mexico.