In December of 1994, representatives from various conservation organizations across the Gulf of Mexico held a meeting in Four Mile Village, Florida, to discuss the need for, and shared interest in, forming a Gulf-wide coalition.
On June 3, 1995, these representatives met in St. Petersburg, Florida to plan and establish Gulf Restoration Network’s (now Healthy Gulf) priority issues. These priorities included reducing pollution in our waterways, preserving Gulf wetlands, requiring sustainable management of Gulf fisheries and protecting threatened and endangered species. On August 29, 1995, the formation of Gulf Restoration Network was formally announced through simultaneous press events in New Orleans and Tampa.
In the beginning, Healthy Gulf operated as a project of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund (formally the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), receiving financial and staff assistance from that organization. Our first Campaign Director, Cynthia Sarthou, was hired in October of 1995. In 1998, Healthy Gulf became an independent corporation and obtained 501(c)(3) status.
Since 1998, Healthy Gulf has grown in staff to our current size of 14 staff and numerous interns and volunteers. We have evolved from a network of a few dozen member organizations held together by one staff person, to a thriving independent organization, with thousands of individual members throughout the Gulf. In 2019, Gulf Restoration Network changed its name to Healthy Gulf to reflect the ultimate mission of the organization.
In strategic partnership with our allies, we run campaigns in all five Gulf states to advance issues important to the health of the Gulf.