Right now, the focus on the Gulf of Mexico is planted squarely in “today.” While work continues to stop the flow of oil, the response teams are mired in the basics of containment and cleanup: booms are still being set, dispersants are being spread and oiled animals are being gathered and cleaned.
But we need to start thinking about tomorrow, as well. We need to take stock of what’s left in the Gulf and how conservation and restoration projects in less-affected areas are now critically important to the future of this invaluable resource.
Read Nature Conservancy in Texas State Director Laura Huffman’s June 5 op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on how the restoration process can draw on Conservancy projects in Texas as a model. Among Huffman’s points:
- Texas’ coastal waters “stand to become a ‘marine bank’ for the rest of the Gulf, providing for long-term, large-scale restoration of critical marine systems such as oyster reefs, wetlands and seagrass beds.”
- Because much of the Gulf is now closed to fishing, Texas’ fisheries could “easily become exhausted.” But the balance between increasing production and maintain fisheries’ health is already underway in Texas gulf waters — with lessons learned for future Gulf restoration efforts.
(Image: Laura Huffman. Image credit: TNC.)