Application for Pre-Qualification for Construction Services for
D'Olive Watershed Restoration Project
Applications Due August 15, 2014, at 5:00 pm CDT
The NEP has released an application for pre-qualifications for construction services for the D'Olive Watershed Restoration Project. Applications are due by August 15, 2014, at 5:00 pm CDT. You can view the application in our Library of Documents.
The draft Three Mile Creek Watershed Management Plan has been released for public comment. The comment period will end on July 30, 2014. You can view the plan along with all appendices in our Library of Documents under the Watershed Management Plans section.
The 2014 Bays & Bayous Call for Abstracts is now open until August 29, 2014. You can view the full Abstract brochure by clicking here. If you have not already registered you can do so at http://ambbs.mobilebaynep.com
Request For Proposals 2014 Special Competition for the Resilient Communities and Economies Focus Area
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
Funding Source: The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC)
Funding Opportunity Title: FY 2015 Special Resilient Communities and Economies Research Funding
Announcement Type: Notice of request for proposals
Release Date: July 3, 2014
Deadlines: Proposals are due by 4 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Submissions after the deadline will not be reviewed or considered for funding. Working title of proposals are due July 31,2014.
Funding Opportunity Description: This notice advises the public that the MASGC is accepting one- or two-year proposals to participate in innovative research to address resilient communities and economies along the five counties adjacent to the Alabama and Mississippi coast. Federal funding requests cannot exceed $65,000 per year. A non-federal match of 1 dollar for every 2 dollars of federal funding is required. Project initiation is scheduled for December 1, 2014. Project applicants must reside in Alabama or Mississippi and project implementation must occur in Alabama and/or Mississippi. Projects that seek funding to sustain long-term data sets are a low priority.
You can view the full proposal by clicking here.
This premiere publication of the Alabama Forestry Commission is provided at no charge to the forest landowners of Alabama. A glossy, full-color, 32-page magazine, it is published three times each year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Filled with information and technical assistance, it is designed to assist landowners in making informed decisions about the management practices they apply to their land. Encompassing both hardwood and softwood, urban and rural, topics include forest health, drought, pests and diseases; invasive species; prescribed burning and wildfire protection; water resources and environmental issues; wildlife; as well as available state and federal grants and programs. Articles and photographs are contributed by AFC employees and other forestry or natural resources professionals. The current circulation is over 14,000.
You can view the Spring 2014 edition by clicking here.
Council approves changes to litter ordinance
By: DALE LIESCH
By a 6-1 vote, the Mobile City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance adding teeth and making other changes to the existing litter law.
Councilman John Williams was the lone dissenter. He admitted the city had a litter problem, but cited concerns for business owners and others over a provision to erect fences around all the dumpsters in the city.
“Mandating enclosures on dumpsters will put a burden on businesses to install those enclosures in places they weren’t planned,” he said.
The provision would be costly and could change parking and traffic flow for local businesses, Williams said.
Diane Irby, executive director of planning and development, told councilors in a pre-conference meeting Tuesday morning the enclosures would help prevent trash from escaping overflowing dumpsters. She said the provision, which calls for a fence no taller than 8 feet be erected around the dumpster, was part of litter ordinances they reviewed from other cities.
The provision is already attached to any new commercial or multiple family developments in the city.
Another concern for Williams was the impact the provision would have on the commercial garbage collection industry. He had concerns over the noise and safety of truck drivers opening gates in the “middle of the night.”
“If it were me, it would say — just as our current ordinance says — that new development and redevelopment have the enclosures and we grandfather the other businesses in.”
Under the ordinance, a police officer or enforcement officer can cite or give a corrective notice to a resident, business owner or individual for a violation of the article.
If a notice is issued, the offender will have a specified amount of time to correct the issue, but the issuance of a corrective notice is not required prior to the issuance of a citation.
Violation of the ordinance is punishable by a fine of between $250 and $500. Violators could also face up to six months in jail or may be sentenced to community service.
Other changes to the litter ordinance includes the addition of mandatory cigarette receptacles at the entrances to commercial buildings, employee smoking areas and common pedestrian transition points. The provision, however, doesn’t apply to the downtown development district. The receptacles have sand to help snuff out cigarette butts, Irby said, and will hopefully keep smokers from throwing butts on the ground.
There is also a new provision to ensure businesses have a sufficient number of garbage cans, Irby said.
In other business, the council decided in a 6-1 vote to enter into a contract worth $18,500 with S. Vitale Pyrotechnic Industries for the city’s annual Independence Day fireworks display.
Bess Rich voted against the expenditure, concerned about spending money on a nonessential service. She asked about the possibility of a public and private partnership to secure the funding.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s Chief of Staff Colby Cooper told Rich that by law, government officials aren’t allowed to solicit money for it, but added that next year the administration would look into partnering with Events Mobile.
He said Events Mobile secured the money for the annual MoonPie Over Mobile fireworks display and they would look at adding the July 4th display next year.
Councilman Joel Daves said while he’s not against finding an alternative source for funding the display, he doesn’t support taking the event out of next year’s budget, because it’s too important to the country.
Councilman C.J. Small said the event was important because it also gives less fortunate residents a chance to see a fireworks display on this side of the bay.
In other business, Finance Director Paul Wesch, told the council they city’s revenue through sales and use taxes and license fees had surpassed what was budgeted by just over $2 million.
Wesch said sales and use taxes were $1.65 million above the budgeted amount, as of April. He told the finance committee Wednesday afternoon the increase was due to an increase in retail sales. License and permits was also $861,000 ahead of budget.
“With four months to go (in the fiscal year) it seems we can sustain some decreases and be OK,” he said.
In addition to an increase in revenue, the budgets of the various operating departments are under budget, Wesch said. The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department budget is $867,000 under budget, but that’s partially due to about $400,000 in staff pay being charged to the firemedic budget, he said.
The Mobile Police Department is also under budget, he said, largely due to not having a cadet class this year and some attrition, Wesch said.
The municipal garage is under budget, due partially to budgeted positions that haven’t been filled yet. Wesch said the department has requested equipment and specialists they think will help defray costs associated with farming out work.
For instance, Wesch said, the department is requesting a frame straightener at a cost of $81,000. The municipal garage has already farmed out $50,000 worth of frame straightening work this year, he said.
In a discussion of the fiscal year 2015 budget, Wesch told Rich that the administration was looking at employee raises, but that no decision had been made yet. He said the finance department should get budget proposals back from other departments Friday.
You can view the article online by clicking here.
New stormwater ordinance ‘adds teeth’ to enforcement
By: DALE LIESCH
The city introduced its new stormwater management ordinance to the City Council’s Public Service Committee Tuesday.
The ordinance, which is the centerpiece of a settlement between Mobile and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, will be introduced to the full council for a vote July 8.
The city worked with Payne Environmental Services to develop an ordinance adding teeth to enforcement and making it easier for inspectors to evaluate construction sites to deal with concerns over runoff.
“The intent of the ordinance is to allow the city to do the inspections it needs to do,” said Randy Payne, owner of Payne Environmental Services. “We can’t determine if they meet our requirements unless we can inspect them.”
The ordinance splits construction sites seeking land disturbance permits into two groups, those of less than an acre, or Tier 2, or those of more than one acre, or Tier 1.
Under the new requirements, Tier 1 sites must secure a bond with the city in order to secure a permit. Then, the site is inspected and if it complies with the requirements, the bond is released.
Once construction is finished on a Tier 1 site, the property owner must maintain the requirements, report and keep records.
New requirements for commercial, industrial and high-risk facilities include: Implementation and maintenance of best management practices to reduce pollution in stormwater. They must also copy the city on any future permit submittals to ADEM.
As part of the best management practices listed in the ordinance, catch basins and drains should be inspected and maintained regularly, litter should be removed daily, dumpster areas should be kept clean and leaves should be swept or vacuumed, not put down drains.
Sand, motor oil, leaves, garbage and pool water are examples of illicit discharges; while power washing, firefighting, car washing and landscape watering are exceptions.
The ordinance also opens up other forms of punishment for violators, said Assistant City Attorney Florence Kessler. In addition to municipal criminal court, the city will also have the option to take civil action against violators.
You can view the article online by clicking here.
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program has released its Respect the Connect: Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan for 2013-2018. The plan will be available for public comment until July 31, 2014. You can view and download the CCMP from our Library.
In June 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (NEP), Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), and a number of other partners completed the Alabama and Mobile Bay Basin Integrated Assessment of Watershed Health, a statewide and basin-wide report on the status and vulnerability of watershed health. The assessment, supported by EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Program, integrates the best available data from state and federal agencies to characterize relative landscape condition, watershed health, and watershed vulnerability to climate change, land use change, and water use. Recognizing the health of Mobile Bay is governed in part by the health of the waters it drains, the assessment team conducted an analysis of hydrologic connectivity between headwaters within Mobile Bay basin to the estuary itself. The watershed health, vulnerability, and connectivity assessment results are intended to help guide Alabama’s and Mobile Bay NEP’s efforts to protect their healthy watersheds and to enhance the condition of Mobile Bay so that the public can continue to enjoy the many benefits and services their waters provide.