Forum for coordination of USGS science activities along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico:
This Charter was made and entered into the 15th day of October, 2007, by the Central and Eastern Regions of the USGS.
The purpose of this Charter is to establish a Gulf Coast Science Forum to promote, facilitate, and enhance coordination and communication within the USGS and with external partners regarding USGS science activities along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
The scope of this Charter includes the coast and associated environs of the Gulf of Mexico along the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida.
Individuals holding the following positions constitute the principal membership of the USGS Gulf Coast Science Forum:
- Director, Eastern Region
- Director, Central Region
- Regional Executive for the Southeastern Geographic Area of the Eastern Region
- Regional Executive for the South Central Geographic Area of the Central Region
- Gulf Coast Coordinator
- Director, National Wetlands Research Center
- Director, Florida Integrated Science Center
- Director, Louisiana Water Science Center
- Director, Mississippi Water Science Center
- Director, Texas Water Science Center
- Director, Alabama Water Science Center
Each Principal Member will identify an Alternate to represent them in their absence. Appropriate authority will be delegated to the Alternate Member to represent the Principal Member in their absence. The Director, Eastern Region, will serve as the Chairperson of the Forum.
The USGS Gulf Coast Science Forum has two standing teams: Executive Steering Team and Science Coordination Team.
1. The Executive Steering Team is comprised of the two Regional Directors and the two Regional Executives. This team is responsible for providing overall leadership to the Forum, framing policy and guidance, setting Forum goals and objectives and overseeing their accomplishment, and ensuring that effective coordination of Gulf Coast science is achieved and stakeholder needs are addressed in a consistent and timely manner. The Chairperson shall rotate between the Directors of the Eastern and Central Regions.
2. The Science Coordination Team is comprised of the Gulf Coast Coordinator and the Directors of all the Science Centers. The purpose of this Team is to provide for effective coordination of Gulf Coast science, share information, and work collaboratively to develop new science opportunities. The Gulf Coast Coordinator will serve as the Chairperson for this Team and coordinate its activities.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The primary roles and responsibilities of the participants are as follows:
1. Directors of the Eastern and Central Regions
- Provide executive leadership to the Forum
- Approve Forum Policies
- Represent the USGS or their designees on Executive level committees
- Establish strategic goals and objectives for the Forum
2. Regional Executives
- Provide executive leadership to the Gulf Coast Coordinator and Science Center Directors
- Provide annual direction and oversee the accomplishment of the Forum’s strategic goals and objectives
- Approve procedures and guidance to implement Forum policies
- Represent the USGS on Gulf Coast Committees and Task Forces
- Recommend policies and procedures to the Regional Directors regarding activities of the Forum
- Facilitate dispute resolution to unresolved Science Coordination issues and concerns
3. Gulf Coast Coordinator
- Serves as the Executive Secretary for the Louisiana Coastal Area Science Board
- Serves as the primary USGS contact with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Program – Federal Partner Working Group; Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program (MSCiP), and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Program (LACPR)
- Facilitates Bureau-wide strategic planning and the development of a comprehensive and coordinated science plan in support of management needs along the Gulf Coast
- Works closely with all pertinent USGS Program Coordinators,
- Fosters communication linkages and seeks to expand the USGS partnerbase along the Gulf Coast
- In cooperation with Center Directors, promotes and advocates USGS science capabilities and information products with partners and stakeholders throughout the Gulf Coast area
- Serves as a resource person on Gulf Coast science activities, programs, and funding mechanisms to Forum members and Gulf Coast partners
- Informs forum members of opportunities to synergistically work across USGS Discipline and Regional boundaries
- Promotes and coordinates the development of a unified USGS response to partner needs and calls for proposals
- Coordinates data and information calls within the Forum
- In cooperation with the Science Center Directors, coordinates various activities as required, provides advice and guidance, and represents bureau positions
- Provides advice and recommendations on policy, programs, and representation on committees and task groups to the Executive Steering Team
- Represents the USGS on appropriate committees and Task Forces
4. Science Center Directors
- Plan, coordinate, execute, and manage science programs of research, inventory, monitoring, and information management in support of Gulf Coast science needs
- Ensure science quality of information products and provide for timely distribution of this information to the scientific and resource management communities interested in Gulf Coast science
- Promote and advocate USGS science capabilities and information products with partners and stakeholders
- Help develop new partnerships and identify science needs with Federal agencies, academic institutions, and private groups and organizations.
- In cooperation with the Gulf Coast Coordinator, coordinate various activities and staff as required, provides advice and guidance, and represents bureau positions
- Identify information users (i.e. customers) and provide outreach to these organizations to determine research needs, share information, and report results and findings
- Provide advice and recommendations on policy, programs, and representation on committees and task groups to the Forum leadership
- Represent the USGS on appropriate committees and Task Forces
The Forum may establish small workgroups to address specific tasks, such as special report preparation and review, initiative development, and workshop planning. The Executive Steering Team will approve the establishment of a Workgroup and appoint a liaison and a chair to lead the group.
All Workgroups will function within one of the two standing teams of the Forum and the Chair will report to a Team member serving as a liaison to the Workgroup.
The Forum will meet annually unless there is a reason to convene the entire body more frequently for a specific purpose. The site of the meeting shall rotate among the Science Centers belonging to the Forum and shall be held in the fall at a time that is most convenient for the majority of the members as determined at least one month prior to the proposed meeting date.
The Executive Steering Team will meet every 6 months unless there is a reason to convene more frequently for a specific purpose.
The meetings/teleconferences will be held at a place and time most convenient to the majority of the members.
The Science Coordination Team will meet no less than bi-monthly via teleconference and every 6 months face-to-face unless there is a reason to convene more frequently for a specific purpose. The face-to-face meetings shall rotate among the Science Centers.
Workgroups will establish meeting frequency and procedures in consultation with their Team Liaison.
Annual Science Workshop:
An Annual Science Workshop shall be sponsored by the Forum to report the most recent science findings to the Gulf Coast community. The Science Coordination Team is responsible for convening and hosting the Workshop.
Operating Guidelines and Documentation:
The Chairperson is responsible for convening meetings, developing the agenda, and documenting the discussions and outcomes. All meetings shall have an agenda set by the Chairperson in consultation with members.
Meeting agendas and other pertinent documents will be distributed to members prior to the meeting. Alternates may attend if the primary member is unable to do so. Decisions will be made by unanimous approval. The use of a proxy is allowed provided that it is cleared with the Chairperson/Team Lead prior to the meeting. If the members of the Science Coordination Team are unable to reach agreement, the issue and documentation of the differing views will be forwarded in a timely manner to the Regional Executives. If the Regional Executives can not reach closure on the matter, it shall be forwarded to the Regional Directors. Decisions on adjudicated matters will be binding.
Minutes shall be prepared by the Chairperson/Team lead and, along with other pertinent documents, distributed to the members in a timely manner. The Chairperson/Team Lead shall maintain records of the meetings.
Forum policies, guidelines, and representation on committees and task forces will be documented and approved by the Chairperson of the appropriate Standing Team. This information will be distributed to all Forum members in a timely manner and maintained in the Forum records.
Revision or Cancellation of the Charter:
These responsibilities will be reviewed annually by the Executive Steering Team in consultation with all Forum members. The Charter may be dissolved at any time at the discretion of the Director of the Eastern or Central region.
Director, Eastern Region
Director, Central Region