The official website of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Best Available Science

The RESTORE Act requires the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) to “undertake projects and programs, using the best available science that would restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast.” Per the RESTORE Act, "best available science" (BAS) is defined as science that:

  • Maximizes the quality, objectivity, and integrity of information, including statistical information;
  • Uses peer-reviewed and publicly available data; and
  • Clearly documents and communicates risks and uncertainties in the scientific basis for such projects. 

External Science Review Process

To meet the intent of the RESTORE Act, the RESTORE Council began by incorporating BAS into the 2015 Initial Funded Priorities List (2015 Initial FPL) by creating a Science Review Process that utilized external science reviews to ensure proposals were developed using the best available science. More information about the use of BAS reviews during the 2015 Initial FPL can be found in the Council-Selected Restoration Component Proposal Submission and Evaluation Process Details and the Initial FPL External Science Review Process documents. 

Council Funding for Science, Monitoring and Data Management

Of projects included in the 2015 Initial FPL, the following are focused specifically on science and monitoring:

After the approval of the 2015 Initial Funded, the RESTORE Council conducted a 360 review to gather feedback from both the Council Members and the public on the overall FPL process. As a result of that feedback, the RESTORE Council released the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy (2016 Comprehensive Plan Update) highlighting a strengthened commitment to using BAS in selecting future projects and programs.  

Council Staff Best Available Science Integration

As the Council Staff works to fulfill the commitments made in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update, additional work has been done to facilitate the use of BAS in Council decision-making including but not limited to: serving as a Gulf Research Program Science Policy Fellow Host Office, and coordinating with the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program to host the Lower Mississippi River Modeling and Data Workshop Summary (April 2016)

For additional information on best available science activities please contact Jessica Henkel, Jean Cowan or Brie Bernik