The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training Program is a unique collaboration between the five Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Coastal Training Programs. The NERR System is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states establishing a network of protected areas for long-term research, education and stewardship. Nationally, there are 29 reserve offices, with five located around the Gulf of Mexico. Each of the NERRs houses a Coastal Training Program, which provides coastal decision-makers with up-to-date scientific information and skill-building opportunities to ensure they have the knowledge and tools needed to address critical coastal resource management issues. Through workshops, hands-on skill training, lectures and technology demonstrations, participants benefit from opportunities to share experiences and network in a multidisciplinary setting. The Coastal Training Program is a bridge between science, policy, and coastal resource management communities and encourages collaboration among the many individuals, businesses, disciplines, and institutions who affect coastal and estuarine ecosystems.
Through the framework of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and with funding from the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, the five Gulf Reserve Coastal Training Programs are now working together through the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training Program to provide consistent information on a regional scale to address priority issues affecting the entire Gulf region. The program educates professional audiences and coastal communities across each of the five Gulf States using shared information and technology. From coastal community resilience, to water quality, to habitat conservation, topics covered in Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training workshops address priority issues and promote activities that improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico we all share.
We work closely with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, which was established to develop and expand partnerships between the five Gulf States and has identified priority issues that can be addressed more effectively through regional collaboration. Each priority issue team has its own long-term goals and access to the expertise, resources, and knowledge it needs to achieve them. Meet our team of Coastal Training Coordinators from the five Gulf of Mexico National Estuarine Research Reserves who lead the effort to organize local and regional training events that address priority issues in the Gulf, including water quality for healthy beaches and seafood, land and habitat conservation and restoration, coastal community resilience, reducing nutrient impacts to coastal ecosystems, ecosystem integration and assessment, wildlife and fisheries, education and engagement, and more.