Florida Institute of Oceanography > FIO News > FLRACEP RFP IV AWARDS

The Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program (FLRACEP), hosted at the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), will award over $2.8M in funding to researchers in the state to support a resilient Gulf environment and economy. The Centers of Excellence projects will focus on the impacts of restoration work along the Florida Gulf coast, with an end-user collaborator as an integral part of the project team to ensure the research’s applicability to future restoration efforts.

Awards made are to the following lead investigators:

  • Dr. Cameron Ainsworth, University of South Florida (USF), will work with a stakeholder group to utilize a Gulf of Mexico ecosystem model to determine the efficacy and combined effects of the Florida Trustee Implementation Group’s (FL TIG) restoration projects and inform future work.
  • Dr. Brad Rosenheim, USF, will lead a project to evaluate natural and restored Gulf coast mangroves to determine the resilience and success of restored systems on a decadal time scale, including measuring carbon capture, to improve future restoration practices by partners at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and TerraCarbon LLC.
  • Dr. Jessica Graham, St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program at Florida State University Panama City, will lead a team of researchers and practitioners to assess the success, economic impact, and ecosystem services provided by living shorelines in the Panhandle Region to assist in restoration target setting. These two to three-year projects will begin in the spring.

“Understanding the collective effects of completed environmental restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico is critical in designing new restoration efforts. This research will address important questions such as: Have these projects collectively ‘moved the needle’ toward sustainable habitat restoration? What restoration techniques have been most successful?” said Holly Greening, FLRACEP Program Management Team member and former Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

To date the FLRACEP has awarded over $10 million in research funding to ten institutions around the state for Centers of Excellence focused on increasing knowledge of fish, marine wildlife, and ecosystem health and function along the Florida Gulf coast to provide fundamental information to ensure Gulf health and resilience.

About the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program

Funding for the Centers of Excellence and FLRACEP comes from the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which established a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States. Florida Institute of Oceanography is the Gulf Coast State Entity responsible for administering FLRACEP. The program establishes Centers of Excellence in the State of Florida to conduct through a competitive grants process. To date, $10 million has been awarded to 10 Florida institutions to establish Centers of Excellence.

About the Florida Institute of Oceanography

The Florida Institute of Oceanography consists of 32 members including state universities. Established by the Florida Board of Governors and hosted by the University of South Florida, FIO provides support and shares marine science resources between the state’s universities and private, non-profit marine research entities. FIO operates the R/V Weatherbird II, R/V Hogarth and the Keys Marine Laboratory (KML) in Layton, Florida.

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