A concentrated oil burn in the Gulf of Mexico, conducted in May 2010 (Pic by Deepwater Horizon Response, via Flickr)

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force on Wednesday released its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long-term restoration. Next Tuesday, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and COMPASS (Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea) will host a roundtable discussion to further delve into the strategy, and discuss what can be done on a policy level. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will be sponsoring the event.

According to a press release, the roundtable discussion will address specific scientific and economic issues regarding effective restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, including “What role can science play in identifying what the linked ecological and economic goals of ecosystem recovery are in the Gulf?”

“Restoring economic vitality to the Gulf will depend on a foundation of sustained coastal health,” reads a press release for the event. “A discussion about an integrated, science-based approach to ecosystem restoration, and the knowledge gained from experiences in large-scale restoration efforts around the country, can help ensure that recovery efforts follow a path toward vibrant coasts and coastal communities.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has been invited to attend the discussion, which will feature a panel with reps from NOAA, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Harte Research Institute.

The damage from last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to this day, as fears of tainted seafood linger. The state’s Department of Agriculture recently unveiled a training program for restaurant workers in an effort to combat consumer fears. But concerns over a new oil sheen (possibly coming from the sunken Transocean rig) continue to plague gulf fishermen and residents; LSU researchers only recently determined that the oil has even impacted certain species of marsh fish.

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