Watershed Planning

Assessing the Impact of Ordinances, Outreach and Enforcement on the Resiliency of Gulf Coastal Watersheds


Fulfilling the Northern Gulf of Mexico Conservation Initiative mission "to design, develop and maintain a research and transition program that fills the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research's priority gaps and provides understanding of upland-watershed systems, coastal and ocean ecosystems and hazards in the Gulf of Mexico," requires the establishment of baseline data and geographical distribution of current regional watershed management approaches.

This research test the hypothesis that the most ecologically resilient watersheds are those with well-defined ordinances and regulations that include established enforcement and are supplemented with active and effective NGO (non-governmental organization) involvement.

A GIS database will analyze and map relationships between watershed regulation and water quality by compiling regulatory codes, ordinances, enforcement actions, and NGO outreach efforts for coastal watersheds. This data will be correlated with water quality data to determine the effectiveness of regulatory action.

Research activities will be coordinated with other initiatives in order to maximize results. The Year One pilot study will develop methods to assess the effectiveness of regulatory action and NGO outreach on water quality and community resiliency, while simultaneously improving the data available to other Northern Gulf Mexico Conservation Initiative researchers.

Further research will expand our efforts to larger watersheds and define the components and characteristics of resilient coastal watersheds. It is expected that results from this effort can serve as input for policy recommendations at state, county, and municipal levels.


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Department of Landscape Architecture
Box 9725
Mississippi State University, MS 39762