HRI hosted the first State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit from March 28-30, 2006, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Originally scheduled for November 2005, this unprecedented event had to be postponed after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, causing severe destruction and catastrophic loss of life from Central Florida to Louisiana. When finally convened, the summit brought together world-renowned oceanic scientists with leaders of government, business, industry, conservation and resource management to plan for the long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico and establish a cohesive strategy for ensuring its ecological and socioeconomic health and productivity.
The summit also provided a platform for the evaluation of research initiatives implemented during and after the spill, and a basis to evaluate the success of those ongoing activities. This greatly improved the ability to respond to future disasters, both natural and man-made; to meet restoration planning and implementation needs to assure success; and, to apprise existing and developing research plans to better understand the Gulf of Mexico as a large marine ecosystem as well as assuring an economically and ecologically sustainable Gulf.