Research Development & Learning

 

The Office of Research Development and Learning (RD & L) is dedicated to proactively catalyzing activities that will grow the USA research enterprise including identification and targeting of funding opportunities, nurturing collaborative relationships and assisting in competitive application development.

Research Development activities span a broad spectrum. At the USA, RD & L is a committed, positive change - agent, capacity - builder and ambassador in the following areas:

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Breaking Announcements

Governor Bentley Announces $9.6 Million for Gulf Restoration Projects in Alabama 

Second Round of Grants from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund 

MONTGOMERY- Governor Robert Bentley on Monday announced the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved $9.6 million for four Alabama projects that address high priority conservation needs to restore some of Alabama’s natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

“The Gulf Coast of Alabama is one of the state’s greatest natural treasures, and it is important that we restore it from the harm caused by the 2010 oil spill,” Governor Bentley said. “The $9.6 million we will receive from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will support our continued long-term recovery efforts from the adverse effects of the oil spill.  I appreciate all of our local, state and federal partners who are working with us in this long-term recovery effort to restore the Alabama Gulf Coast.”

In 2013, a U.S. District Court approved two plea agreements resolving certain criminal charges against BP and Transocean related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Provisions within the plea agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation over a five-year period for project expenditures in all five Gulf States. The funds are the second installment from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. A total of $356 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over a five year period for conservation projects in the State of Alabama.

The projects were developed in consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and federal resource agencies.

Alabama 2014 Projects Include:

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment - approximately $3.6 million

  •        This project will build on previous studies to conduct an engineering feasibility study to assess the current and future function of Dauphin Island, develop an array of options for restoration, and evaluate the feasibility and cost associated with sustainable restoration actions.  Dauphin Island is a strategically significant 14-mile barrier island in the northern Gulf of Mexico, serving as the only barrier island providing protection to the state of Alabama’s coastal resources. 

Alabama Marine Mammal Conservation and Recovery Program - approximately $1.2 million

  •        This project seeks to increase the response and research capacity within the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network (ALMMSN).  The ALMMSN will work to enhance survival of live stranded animals and provide continuous, consistent and scientifically rigorous data collection from stranded marine mammals to better and more rapidly define causes of death, and define relationships between environmental variables and stranding patterns, thereby contributing to their long-term recovery.  Funding will be used to operate the ALMMSN and train dedicated personnel for future stranding response and research on marine mammals.

Enhanced Fisheries Monitoring in Alabama’s Marine Waters – approximately $1.8 million

  •        This study will implement a significant and meaningful expansion of the collection of data on both catch effort and stock assessment in coastal Alabama.  This data will be used to improve ecosystem-based management capabilities, assess the recovery of reef fish stocks in association with other fisheries restoration efforts and improve and expand single-species stock assessments for managed fish species. 

Coastal Habitat Restoration Planning Initiative - approximately $2.8 million

  •        This proposal will develop comprehensive plans to identify the highest priority restoration and conservation needs within the tidally influenced watersheds that directly feed into Mobile Bay.  This project will acquire high resolution mapping of the diverse habitats in Alabama’s two coastal counties to identify the conditions of streams, rivers, riparian buffers, wetlands, intertidal marshes and submerged aquatic vegetation of Mobile Bay.

“This announcement is the result of a coordinated effort between the State of Alabama and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,” Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr. said. “These projects will significantly enhance long-term restoration and protection of our natural resources based upon sound science ensuring sustainability and resiliency of our coastal ecosystem.”

Additional information on each project will soon be available on the following websites:  http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/nfwf.aspx and http://www.nfwf.org/gulf

The Governor's Press Office can be reached at (334) 242-7150.