LSU Participates in Congressional Briefing on the Gulf of Mexico
BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, March 7, Christopher D’Elia, dean, LSU College of the Coast
& Environment, participated in a Gulf of Mexico congressional briefing on the importance
of sustained observations for the Gulf of Mexico and the role that the U.S. Integrated
Ocean Observing System, or IOOS, plays in supporting the economy, public health and
safety. IOOS is a mechanism for filling critical information gaps in observations
and data in the Gulf of Mexico.
The briefing, titled “Are we better informed today than before Hurricane Katrina and
the Deepwater Horizon Disaster? A discussion on the state of coastal observing in
the Gulf of Mexico,” was sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Roger Wicker
(R-MS) and organized by the IOOS Association and the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean
Observing System. D’Elia participated on behalf of LSU and GOMURC, the Gulf of Mexico
Research Collaborative, for which he serves as the 2016-2017 chair. GOMURC is a consortium
of 80 research universities located in five Gulf states, each dedicated to educating
the next generation and a future healthy Gulf environment and economy.
As it now stands, the current IOOS infrastructure is incomplete, and the Gulf is not
adequately prepared for future disasters that may occur. The ultimate goal of the
briefing was to build awareness of the importance of these programs at the national,
regional and state level.
D’Elia presented on the economic importance of the Gulf, which provides diverse resources
and opportunities with its natural ecosystem for maritime commerce and energy infrastructure.
He spoke on the benefits of ocean observing – physical, geological, chemical and biological
observations – which help measure changes over time and relative to specific events,
such as oil spills.
“Ocean observing can help make predictions that inform decision makers about commerce,
environmental management and public health,” D’Elia said. “High frequency radars,
in particular, provide decision makers with valuable observations in the Gulf. It’s
imperative that we continue to support and expand their operation.”
In addition to D’Elia, other presenters included Russell Callender, NOAA assistant
administrator for the National Ocean Service; Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney, U.S. Navy
(Ret.) and National Academies of Sciences: Gulf Research Program Advisory Board; Larry
McKinney, Director, Harte Research Institute, Texas; Ruth Perry, oceanographer, Shell
Oil; and Monty Graham, University of Southern Mississippi.
About LSU College of the Coast & Environment
LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment, or CC&E, educates tomorrow’s workforce
and leaders, undertakes interdisciplinary discovery and improves the understanding
of the interaction between complex human and natural systems, particularly in coastal
regions. It is LSU’s sole academic institution with a core mission of advancing coastal
and environmental issues with science, technology and knowledge. Home to award-winning,
internationally-acclaimed faculty, CC&E is comprised of two departments, the Department
of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences and the Department of Environmental Sciences. For
more information, visit: http://www.cce.lsu.edu/
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Contact Kathe Falls
College of the Coast & Environment
LSU Media Relations