Released for public comment: AGCRC Center of Excellence Research Grant Competitive Selection Process

AGCRC releases Center of Excellence Research Grants Programs Draft Solicitation for Proposals and Competitive Process for Selection.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) released its Center of Excellence Research Grants Programs Draft Solicitation for Proposals and Competitive Process for Selection for public comment. The 45-day public comment period will end on February 2, 2015. Click here to view to view the proposed documents. Comments may be submitted online to agcrc@dcnr.alabama.gov or mailed to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, 118 N. Royal Street, Suite 603, Mobile, AL 36602.

Posted on 12/18/14 at 03:50 PM Permalink

MBNEP 2014 Annual Management Conference Meeting

The 2014 Annual Management Conference Meeting was held on December 17, 2014 at the Battle House Hotel. The event was a huge success and the MBNEP staff and committee chairs would like to thank each of you who were able to attend. If you were unable to join us, we have provided you with a short presentation and video that explains how we achieved our goals in 2014 and what's in store for the future. Thank you again to everyone for your support of the MBNEP and its mission.

Presentation

Video

Posted on 12/17/14 at 12:42 PM Permalink

Winston Groom talks growing up in Coastal Alabama, ‘Forrest Gump’ at Bays and Bayous Symposium

Alabama author Winston Groom is introduced as the keynote speaker during the Alabama-Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (Dennis Pillion | dpillion@al.com)

MOBILE, Alabama -- Long before he penned "Forrest Gump," "Gone the Sun," or a myriad of other fiction and non-fiction books, Winston Groom grew up on Mobile Bay, hunting and fishing in the Delta, exploring the many natural wonders of Coastal Alabama.

Groom spoke about his youthful experiences and the need for conservation of Alabama's sensitive waters Wednesday at the Alabama Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium. The two-day symposium was a gathering of scientists, engineers, government officials, non-profit groups and researchers who are actively involved in issues such as water quality, habitat management and developing resilient coastal communities in the two states.

"After reading through the list of all the projects that are in your program, I feel quite convinced that through your work, interest and dedication, the Alabama estuary system, from Tennessee to Mobile Bay, will be improved and preserved for many generations to come," Groom said. "I thank you for your intelligent science and your care-taking mission of protecting our nation's marine treasures."

Groom told stories of his father cutting a thin notch in a tree and inserting a penny to mark the tree's growth over the years, fishing and boating on Dog River and hunting in nutria rodeos organized to tame the invasive rodent. He also shared his thoughts on conservation issues he sees today from his Point Clear home.

After the main portion of his speech, Groom opened the floor for questions, even about his most famous book.

Groom doesn't mind talking about "Forrest Gump," but he would prefer it if people stopped telling him "life is like a box of chocolates," or giving him boxes of chocolate, or asking if he has a box of chocolate. That famous line from the Academy Award-winning movie was not in his book, but was added in by a Hollywood screenwriter.

"I would never write such a line as that," Groom said. "Ever since then I've been getting chocolates. For 20 years, everywhere I go there's a box of chocolates."

That line was just one example of the difficult task of adapting his book, which he said was about a 6-foot-5 idiot who could run 100 yards in 10 seconds flat, to a studio-acceptable film starring Tom Hanks. Groom compared some parts of the film-making process to "a one-armed man trying to nail together a chicken coop in a hurricane," but he said "somehow we muddled through it and got the movie made."

Groom was one of several keynote speakers at the symposium, organized by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and many other organizations. Also speaking at the conference was Justin Ehrenwerth, executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. That council will administer billions of dollars in Deepwater Horizon oil spill fine money over the next several years.

Experts from the Chesapeake Bay also spoke about the conservation programs and studies taking place in Virginia and Maryland, and noted science journalist Ari Daniel delivered a Tuesday night keynote address on his work in the Gulf of Mexico.

Roberta Swann, director of the Mobile Bay NEP, said the biennial conference is a productive gathering point for many separate groups working on similar issues to share information and compare projects. The symposium dates back to 1979, but adopted its current biennial schedule in 2006.

"I think this has been one of the best one yet," Swann said. "We have a lot of repeat customers and you can follow their science over time. There's also a lot of synergy taking place between the engineering firms, some of the resource managers and the scientists.

"Mostly the Bays and Bayous Symposium is about getting the best science on the ground and I think we achieved that."

 

http://www.al.com/news/beaches/index.ssf/2014/12/forrest_gump_author_offers_tha.html#incart_river

Posted on 12/04/14 at 03:37 PM Permalink

Alabama Current Connection: 2014 Fall Edition

This Fall issue of the NEP Newsletter covers "Connecting to Nature Makes Us More Caring", "The Importance of Access for Sustainable Tourism in Coastal Alabama", "Coastal Alabama Blueway to Launch in 2015", "Exchange Program Participant from Bangladesh Creating Community with Mobile Bay NEP" and much more.

To download the newsletter click here

You can read back issues of the newsletter by visiting our Library of Publications

Posted on 11/18/14 at 02:26 PM Permalink

NFWF Announces $9.6 Million for Gulf Restoration Projects in Alabama

Second Round of Grants from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund


WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 17, 2014 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $9.6 million for four Alabama projects that address high-priority conservation needs. The projects, developed in consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and federal resource agencies, are designed to remedy harm or reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


The moneys are the second obligation from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, created 18 months ago as part of the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice, BP and Transocean to resolve certain criminal charges against both companies in relation to the spill. Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, a total of $356 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over a five-year period for conservation projects in the state of Alabama.

Click here to view the full announcement

Posted on 11/18/14 at 12:27 PM Permalink

NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

Current Projects

On November 17, 2014, NFWF announced $9.6 million in funding for four projects in the state of Alabama. For details on Alabama's new projects in 2014 please click here.

To date, ​NFWF has awarded $22.1 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for seven restoration projects in the state of Alabama. These projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Alabama projects address high priority conservation needs. They represent important efforts to protect and enhance natural and living resources, as well as significant planning efforts to develop future projects for consideration under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.

Click on the project title for more information:

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment (2014-new)

Coastal Habitat Restoration Planning Initiative (2014-new)

Enhanced Fisheries Monitoring in Alabama’s Marine Waters (2014-new)

Alabama Marine Mammal Conservation  and Recovery Program (2014-new)

Restoration and Enhancement of Oyster Reefs (2013)

D’Olive Watershed Restoration (2013)

Fowl River Watershed Restoration – Phase I (2013)

Future Projects

NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, FWS and NOAA to identify priority conservation projects for consideration under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. Reveiw of the 2015 cycle proposals is expected to begin in the spring of 2015.

About the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund was established in early 2013 as a result of two plea agreements resolving the criminal cases against BP and Transocean after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF over a five-year period. The funds are to be used to support projects that remedy harm to natural resources (habitats, species) where there has been injury to, or destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of those resources resulting from the oil spill. Projects are expected to occur within reasonable proximity to where the impacts occurred, as appropriate.

Consistent with the terms of the plea agreements, funding priorities include, but are not limited to, projects that contribute significantly to the following natural resource outcomes:

  • Restore and maintain the ecological functions of landscape-scale coastal habitats, including barrier islands, beaches and coastal marshes, and ensure their viability and resilience against existing and future threats;
  • Restore and maintain the ecological integrity of priority coastal bays and estuaries; and
  • Replenish and protect living resources including oysters, red snapper and other reef fish, Gulf Coast bird populations, sea turtles and marine mammals.
  • This list was prepared in collaboration with state and federal resource agencies.  For a list of potential actions that might be considered to advance these outcomes, please click here.

Learn more about NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.

The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Alabama

Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, $356 million of the total amount to be deposited into the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will be for project expenditures in the state of Alabama ​(funded over a five-year period).

Alabama is working to develop and implement to restoration efforts that maximizes the benefit of current and future funding with the overall goal of achieving long-lasting and sustainable environmental benefit for the state and region. Learn more at www.AlabamaCoastalRestoration.org

Posted on 11/17/14 at 12:29 PM Permalink

Exchange Program Participant from Bangladesh Creating Community Solutions During Fellowship

Maharam Dakua is currently in Mobile, Alabama as part of the U.S. State Department’s Community Solutions Program.  For four-months, Maharam, an emerging international leader in civil engineering, is working with American counterparts at Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, collaborating on projects here that will provide skills and ideas for creating lasting change in his home community.

Maharam will be joining an Auburn University team hired by MBNEP to work in the Toulminville area of the Three-Mile Creek Watershed. The project is aimed at developing a model to help Mobile County and city planners make science based decisions related to capital improvement budgets for infrastructure maintenance. His primary role will be to learn about community concerns related to flooding and water pollution and to engage the residents in learning about best practices for managing and reducing water volumes and other sources of pollution.  While in the U.S., he will also learn to use computer models as a tool for projecting impacts of stormwater runoff and sea level rise, information that will be helpful in designing infrastructure maintenance programs.

Maharam worked on water resource management and sanitation in both urban and rural areas of Bangladesh as Project Coordinator for his organization. He has conducted research and managed sustainable water distribution projects with limited resources, especially for low-income people. He also worked as a facilitator in training programs on rainwater harvesting and water safety plans for academicians, sector professionals and students in Bangladesh.

Started in 2010, the Community Solutions Program is a professional development program for global community leaders working in the fields of transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues.  During their fellowships, the emerging leaders spend up to 400 hours learning leadership and organizational skills through training courses and more than 600 hours at their U.S. host organizations. The fellows also design community development projects that they implement upon returning to their home countries.

The State Department partners with IREX to identify and place engaged leaders who are committed to the ideal that individual efforts can fight poverty and discrimination, correct inequalities, cultivate peace, and develop new approaches to environmental issues.  “Maharam arrived with his sleeves rolled up- ready to learn, get into the field, and make a difference.  He immediately became a part of the MBNEP team and we look forward to working with him to continue the excitement surrounding the restoration of  Three Mile Creek,“ commented Roberta Swann, Director.

Posted on 10/09/14 at 04:49 PM Permalink

Final CCMP now available online or in print

The final CCMP has been released and is now available online or in print. You can download the complete CCMP and Appendices by clicking here or you can purchase a printed copy for $30.00. If you would like to purchase a printed copy please mail request and payment to:

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

RE: CCMP

118 N. Royal St., Suite 601

Mobile, AL 36602.

Posted on 09/29/14 at 02:44 PM Permalink

EPA Encourages Homeowners to Care for Their Septic Systems During SepticSmart Week

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold its second annual SepticSmart Week September 22-26. SepticSmart Week outreach activities encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. Nearly one-quarter of all American households depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater.
Failure to maintain septic system can lead to back-ups and overflows that pollute local waterways, create dead zones, raise water treatment costs and endanger human health. Pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal bacteria can enter ground and surface waters from septic systems. Such pollutants affect drinking water, lakes, rivers and estuaries. The algal blooms they may generate can produce toxins harmful to human, animals and marine life.
Data collected by states attribute septic systems and other onsite wastewater treatment methods to water quality impairments in 22,909 miles of rivers and streams; 199,995 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds; and 72,320 acres of wetlands. By properly maintaining their septic systems, homeowners can help reduce these numbers.
“When homeowners protect their septic systems, it’s good for their health, their neighbors’ health, and their pocketbooks,” said Ken Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator in EPA’s Office of Water. “Not only is EPA directly educating homeowners on septic maintenance, but we are also coordinating with states and municipalities to do the same.”
During SepticSmart Week, EPA will provide homeowners with tips for septic maintenance, including:
•          Protect It and Inspect It:
•          Think at the Sink:
•          Don’t Overload the Commode:
•          Don’t Strain Your Drain:
•          Shield Your Field:

EPA’s SepticSmart program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents. 
For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/septicsmart

Posted on 09/22/14 at 03:18 PM Permalink

The 27th Annual Coastal Cleanup was a great success

Thank you to the 241 volunteers who helped clean roughly three miles of shoreline on and along Mobile's Western Shore. The day was beautiful for the 27th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup where people of all ages gathered at McNally Park off Dauphin Island Parkway. Early estimates show these clean water heroes removed 1,286 pounds of litter from in and around Mobile Bay and nearby Perch Creek, a tributary to Dog River. Thanks again to these 241 volunteers! With you, we will "Create a Clean Water Future" for Mobile! 

Posted on 09/22/14 at 01:06 PM Permalink