Journal of Environmental Management

Supporting habitat restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico through synthesis of data on multiple and interacting benefits and stressors

Sep 15, 2022

Author(s): Todd E. Hopkins, Yvonne Allen, David Jones-Farrand, Mallory Martin, Blair E. Tirpak, Mandy Green, and Kirk Rhinehart

In response to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill of 2010 there is rapidly increasing investment in conservation and restoration actions designed to restore, maintain, and even increase ecosystem services and overall socio-ecological resilience across the region (Perring et al., 2015; Toivonen et al., 2021; Watson and Venter, 2017). However, many planners on the Gulf coast lack relevant data and tools to communicate the suite of potential additional benefits that restoration action may have for local communities.

The objectives of this research were to: 1) Develop a methodology for integrating multiple ecological and socioeconomic datasets to support conservation and restoration planning; 2) Develop a set of regionally consistent data layers across the northern Gulf of Mexico that would both augment and operate synergistically with the Southeast Conservation Blueprint and underlying subregional blueprints; and 3) Demonstrate how the developed data layers could be used to communicate additional social and ecological benefits of habitat creation in southern Louisiana. More here.