Hi South Atlantic LCC community!  My name is Amanda Watson, and I am the new Gulf Coast LCC Liaison/Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA) coordinator.  Before I provide new details on the GCVA, let me introduce myself.  I was born and raised in New Orleans and am excited to be working along the Gulf Coast where I have such great memories.  I attended college at Mississippi State where I received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries and a M.S. in Agriculture.  My graduate research focused on managing freshwater invasive plants using chemical, mechanical, biological, or cultural methods to conserve native aquatic plant communities.  I also studied drift patterns in reservoirs using GPS technology as indicators of potential plant dispersal pathways.  In 2013, I worked with the Northern Gulf Institute where I became familiar with Gulf Coast research efforts.  Then on March 16, 2014, I began working with the Gulf Coast LCCs.

This past week, I met with some of the LCC coordinators and science coordinators in Lafayette, LA.  We discussed my role as the GCVA coordinator, and I was brought up to speed on what work has been completed and what the next steps are for moving forward.  As the GCVA progresses, I will update this blog with new information.

Now for a brief reintroduction to the GCVA.  The GCVA is an assessment of the sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity of Gulf Coast species and habitats to climate change, sea level rise, and land use changes.  By identifying the critical factors affecting vulnerability of these habitats and species and understanding why the habitats and species are vulnerable to those factors, managers can set priorities for conservation action and better select adaptive conservation strategies.  For this vulnerability assessment, we are focusing on four habitat types: tidal marsh, mangroves, oyster reefs, and barrier islands.  Vulnerability of species associated with those habitat types will also be assessed.  A report similar to this Wisconsin Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis and this Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis will be developed and will serve as a template for other ecosystems and/or species.

Please take a look at the two linked reports and tell me what you think about using these as a framework for the GCVA.