The Dauphin Island Sea Lab will have a hand in a recently funded NOAA project to help managers evaluate options for natural resource management in the context of sea level rise in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana State University is the project lead on the $1.2 million grant titled, "Dynamic sea level rise assessments of the ability of natural and nature-based features to mitigate surge and nuisance flooding."

Renee Collini, coordinator of Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (NGOM SSC) and based at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, is the co-principal investigator for the management engagement portion of the project.

"There is global sea level rise, but what that looks like here in Mobile Bay or in the Gulf of Mexico is very different than what it would look like somewhere else," Collini explained. "It's important to understand what we're facing locally in order to better manage and preserve our natural resources and ecosystem."

Collni added, “The work done prior to this project did very detailed research into understanding the dynamics and impacts of sea level rise in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Now, we're working with and expanding that understanding to assess different natural resource management options."

Collini will provide engagement expertise to the project and, with co-PI Denise DeLorme, bring together a network of managers and decision makers to form a Management Transition Advisory Group (MTAG). The MTAG will provide guidance on management options to assess and utilize the research results of the project in their work.

A critical portion of the assessments will be linking changes in the ecosystem to economic impact and valuation of ecosystem services. This will provide decision makers with additional information to consider when determining state and regional resource management.

Other partners in the project are University of Central Florida, University of South Carolina, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

For more on the project, visit www.coastalscience.noaa.gov/publications.