keeping with its mandate and after extensive public input the Trustee Council decided to use the trust fund to support continued research and monitoring in the region into the future. The GEM program has a unique opportunity to obtain the long time series of data necessary to support research on the effects of decadal-scale change on the structure, function, and ability of a marine ecosystem to provide goods and services to people. This research program will provide the depth and continuity of data collection necessary for both practical management lessons and deeper understanding of the causes and effects of ecosystem change.
The Trustee Council showed great foresight in setting aside funds over the years to create the trust fund that will now provide long-term funding to the GEM program. As envisioned, the program will offer an unparalleled opportunity to increase understanding of how large marine ecosystems in general, and Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska in particular, function and change over time. The committee believes that it stands to be a significant program of importance to Alaska, the nation, and the scientific community.