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Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Services in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

This satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico coast just south of Tampa Bay shows the study site and the complex of bays, lagoons, keys, and coastal communities within which ecosystem services are produced and consumed.
This satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico coast just south of Tampa Bay shows the study site
and the complex of bays, lagoons, keys, and coastal communities within which ecosystem
services are produced and consumed.
In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the USGS has developed an inter-agency collaborative effort with researchers from Florida Sea Grant and the University of Florida. The Gulf of Mexico has been identified as a high priority region for scientific research. Likewise the topic of coastal and marine spatial planning is a major priority for local, regional and national agencies involved in sustainable planning and managing our coastal environments. Numerous interagency groups have identified the valuation of ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico as a high priority science issue. Sustainable management and planning of coastal areas, requires high quality scientific information upon which decisions must be based, and this research aims to fill a gap in the information about social values of ecosystem services in this high priority environment. The goal of this study is to map the social values attributed to ecosystem services of important subgroups, which are differentiated according to their attitudes about human uses offered by coastal regions in the Gulf of Mexico. This research will extend the functionality of a GIS application, Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES; http://solves.cr.usgs.gov), developed by USGS and Colorado State University, to a coastal environment in the Gulf of Mexico. The Sarasota Bay lagoon and embayment system is the study focus area. Our strategy is to capitalize on the local and state level networks developed by our partners in Florida Sea Grant to align project outcomes with the priorities and interests of stakeholders and decision makers. Relevant information about this project will be communicated via normal channels for communication with the public and the scientific community. These include the development of a USGS fact sheet and a web site. The project results and conclusions will be communicated through peer-reviewed conference and print publications.

Principal Investigator: Alisa Coffin, coffina@usgs.gov, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Denver, CO

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