What is Florida GAME?

The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) coordinates a pilot project known as the Geospatial Assessment of Marine Ecosystems (GAME). Funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), this project aims to assemble existing data and information about the coastal ocean waters of Florida and the adjacent state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and South Atlantic Bight.

The GAME project will lay the groundwork for ecosystem-based management of Florida's estuaries and marine waters, including the West Florida Shelf and the Gulf of Mexico.

The aim of the Phase I - Information Survey - is the identification of spatial frameworks, or work done in specific areas, based on ecological characteristics for coastal and marine assessment and management in the State of Florida. This initial phase will detect, locate, collate, and organize existing data and information to assess the marine habitats and structure.  This includes nearshore coastal areas as well as the human uses of our waters. The project will assemble, for the first time, the many sources of physical, geomorphological, biological, chemical, and ecological data and information in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) format. This effort will form the prototype for constructing an ecosystem environment.

The GIS organizational effort will use a combination of diverse information in a way that permits conceptual and management planning of living marine resources in the coastal waters of Florida. Following this inventory and cataloging phase, information gaps will be identified and maps will be produced.

These maps will be displayed throughout the state through a series of regional public meetings held to inform the community about ecosystem-based management and to solicit comments and additional information from the public. In cooperation with this state assessment, relevant federal agencies and recognized regional experts, including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), will gather to expand the assessment to the entire Gulf of Mexico, so all parties can eventually reach an agreement with respect to the ecoregional map of this area.

With such a tool in hand, the Gulf coast states and federal agencies can begin to make coordinated and complementary decisions concerning coastal waters that are based upon and directing scientific research.  Commercial and recreational uses, conservation areas, and monitoring programs are a few of the targeted focus areas.   This will allow managers to better plan both existing and increasing uses of our nation's marine resources. The information obtained will enable government agencies to sustain the resources of the state's coastal waters with the best available science, data, and understanding of critical areas that lack sufficient data for analysis.

This project represents the first step in a major, long-term state effort to implement new procedures of ecosystem-based management and governance.

FWC Facts:
Manatees feed for 6 to 8 hours daily, consuming about 4 to 9 percent of their body weight in wet vegetation, such as seagrass and other aquatic plants.

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