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Development of a GCOOS Data Portal, Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System - Regional Association Receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 06/09/2011
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or

(STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – June 9, 2011) – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) - Regional Association of College Station Texas will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Partnership category for their work on the integration of and regional enhancements to the GCOOS. The Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting on August 3, 2011, beginning at 6 p.m in the Ballroom at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place in New Orleans.

The GCOOS Data Portal Project was developed during the period of 2008-2010 by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System—Regional Association. The purpose was to aggregate near real-time oceanographic data from ten non-federal data providers distributed around the Gulf of Mexico. Because providers maintain data and products using different names, protocols and archival schema, the challenge was to interface these data and products via an automated system and through web-based interfaces for users. The GCOOS Data Portal Project spans the entire U.S. Gulf coast and engages people from academia, state and local government, NGOs, formal and informal education, and the private sector. The overarching accomplishment is that the portal is currently maintained at a fully operational level. Improved access to data streams, information on the status of observing systems, and public products are being provided to stakeholders. The Data Portal, a key component of the centralized data management system for the Gulf of Mexico, benefits a broad community. The data served which includes oceanographic and meteorological conditions, bathymetry, dissolved oxygen, dissolved nutrients, turbidity, and chlorophyll is used by diverse academic, private sector and government entities that incorporate the information into their research, monitoring, and resource management efforts.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given in seven categories: individual, business, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, environmental justice/cultural diversity, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners demonstrate great examples of collaborative efforts leading to solutions that address the Gulf of Mexico environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "Their accomplishments are making a positive difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf and EPA is pleased to recognize their environmental stewardship."

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Gloria Car, Acting Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “This is the 11th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts. The 2011 award winners truly exemplify the enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses who address complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information regarding GCOOS please contact: Ann E. Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator and Chris Simoniello, Phone: (979) 845-6714 (727) 322-1318

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site

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