If you live in Baldwin or Mobile Counties and like to swim, boat, fish – commercially or recreationally- the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) would like your input. A community assessment of how people use our marine resources will be taking place from Monday, October 28 through December 3, 2013. You can provide your input online by taking the assessment.
Representatives from Alabama State Port Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ADCNR, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission, Geological Survey of Alabama, Mississippi – Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, U.S. Coast Guard, and Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve have joined together to improve communication between and cooperation among differing commercial and recreational interests concerning marine resources. Responses received will help to improve coordination of the many ways our coastal waters are used.
The MBNEP’s mission is to promote the wise stewardship of water quality and living resources of the Mobile Bay and Tensaw Delta. The MBNEP serves as a catalyst for activities of estuary stakeholders, helping to build community-based organizational capacity for sound resource management and leveraging commitment and investment to ensure the estuary’s sustainability. For more information about this program or others, please contact the MBNEP office at 251-431-6409.
Sea Grant Association President LaDon Swann, left, presents former Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner with a special recognition award for his dedication to the environment and coastal living.
(MOBILE, Ala.) - The Sea Grant Association, a nonprofit organization, honored former Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner on Oct. 22 for his exemplary public service to coastal communities and coastal issues in Alabama and the nation.
"We believe he exemplifies a leader who understands the importance a healthy natural environment has in a sustainable economy," said LaDon Swann, president of the Sea Grant Association and director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. "He's been important to our whole network of Sea Grant programs for a long time."
The SGA advocates for greater understanding, use and conservation of marine, coastal and Great Lakes resources.
Bonner left office in August to become the vice chancellor for government relations and economic development for The University of Alabama System.
"He's one of the most well-respected people I've ever encountered in Alabama and also in Congress," Swann said.
Swann also acknowledged Bonner's leadership during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and his significant role in the passage of the RESTORE Act, which will transfer 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines levied against those responsible for the oil spill to restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico states.
Bonner accepted the award during a lunchtime ceremony as part of the SGA meeting at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile.
"I am deeply honored and grateful for this award," he said. "I can't tell you how much this means to me, and I do appreciate it because I know that it speaks to the history that our relationship has and also the future that we have in my new role at The University of Alabama System."
The award is part of SGA's effort to recognize people for their efforts to make living on United States coasts better.
Bonner urged the room of 60, many who were visiting Alabama for the first time, to get out and see the beauty of the coast.
"I hope that while you're here, you have a chance to see what we sometimes take for granted, and that's the beauty of our ecosystem, of our environment," he said. "The beauty of Mobile Bay, the Tensaw Delta and the Gulf of Mexico. I'm sure your trip will not allow you to see all of the natural resources that we have got, but we have many."
In the wake of the federal government shutdown, Bonner gave some advice on how to keep it from happening again.
"I think one of the real takeaways, at least for me, is it doesn't have to be this way," he said. "The way to avoid it is to have people get involved and to be actively involved in the future of our country. If we are involved and we are committed to working to find solutions and not pointing fingers, then there is nothing that we can't do.
"And the great work that Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant has done through the time I've been involved with y'all, is living proof that good things can happen if people work together and not worry about who deserves credit and who deserves blame."
The Sea Grant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the Sea Grant program concept. The SGA's regular members are the academic institutions that participate in the National Sea Grant College Program. SGA provides the mechanism for these institutions to coordinate their activities, to set program priorities at both the regional and national level and to provide a unified voice for these institutions on issues of importance to the oceans and coasts. The SGA advocates for greater understanding, use and conservation of marine, coastal and Great Lakes resources.
The National Sea Grant College Program includes 33 university-based programs that address coastal issues throughout the United States. The program focuses on healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient coastal communities and economies, environmental literacy and workforce development, and sustainable fisheries and ecosystems.
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
WHAT: Clean-up event
WHEN: Saturday, November 23rd
WHERE: Tricentennial Park
TIME: Check in 8:00 a.m.
On November 23rd, 2013, hundreds of residents and community volunteers will join together to TAKE PRIDE IN TOULMINVILLE. This is the second of many neighborhood clean-ups that will take place throughout the Three Mile Creek Watershed from downtown to west Mobile. We invite you to join us in making a strong statement that litter demonstrates a lack of community pride and continues to hold our area back economically, socially and environmentally.
Take Pride in Toulminville is more than filling up trash bags. Together, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and its partners look to transform the Toulminville neighborhood, located in a densely urbanized and historically underserved, low income area, into a community that values natural resource protection and conservation. Our goal is to develop a sustainable community of wise stewards that catalyze economic and recreational opportunities throughout the Three Mile Creek watershed.
Take Pride in Toulminville is sure to be an exciting event that energizes the community and provides a call out to the community to collectively take care of our own backyard. Check in location will be by the Tricentennial Park.
For sponsorship opportunities or to volunteer, please call 251-380-7943. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you out there!
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) will meet on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. CST to vote on the Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy (Plan). The public is invited to attend the Council Meeting.
The Council posted meeting materials on its website.
The meeting will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 601 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Chair of the Council, will preside over the meeting and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be in attendance as a Council member and host of the meeting. Council representatives from the other Gulf States and participating federal agencies will be in attendance.
Preregister for the Council meeting: Pre-registration ends at midnight CST on August 25, 2013. On-site registration will be available on August 28, 2013, beginning two hours prior to the meeting start time.
In addition to voting on the Plan, the Council will hear from some of its key restoration partners, including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Trustees, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) RESTORE Science Program about their Gulf restoration efforts.
MBNEP is distributing a Request for Proposals for Engineering Services related to design of a project to stabilize the shoreline and restore wetlands on the northern tip of Mon Louis Island which forms the south side of the mouth of East Fowl River. Please distribute this RFP to any of your engineering colleagues.
The Three Mile Creek project is in full swing here at Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. We have listened to your requests for a way to easily stay informed of what is going on with the project. So we created a landing page that should provide you with the information you are looking for. If you see anything missing please let us know. We want to make staying informed easy for you.
We want to know what you like, what you don't like, and what you would like to see for the future of Three Mile Creek watershed.
This issue of the NEP Newsletter covers "Poarch Band of Creek Indians: Intrinsically Connected to Our Coast", "The History of Public Access to Alabama Waters", "Estuary Reflections: Full Speed Ahead... Charting the Course to Protecting Our Coastal Way of Life", "Three Mile Creek: A Glorious History" and much more.
You can read back issues of the newsletter by visiting our Library of Publications
Mobile Bay is the second largest estuary in the U.S. and the primary depositional basin for the sixth largest river system in the U.S. The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta at the head of Mobile Bay is the largest inland delta complex in the U.S. and encompasses a variety freshwater and estuarine habitat critical to the environmental sustainability of Mobile Bay. Clastic sediment transport within the drainage basin is the primary source of sediment for delta growth at its boundary in northern Mobile Bay. Although a significant quantity of sediment enters the Bay from the delta, less than 30% of sediment eroded from the watershed reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The general configuration of the Bay, relatively low velocity discharge from the river, and quiescent wave and current conditions within much of the Bay result in significant quantities of fine-grained sediment deposited in the Bay.
Historical shoreline and bathymetry surveys, as well as detailed channel dredging and placement records, were the primary sources of data compiled for evaluating sediment transport quantities and patterns within Mobile Bay toward development of an operational sediment budget. Channel dredging records indicate that maintenance dredging in the Mobile Bay ship channel has been very consistent since about 1913, regardless of channel depth and width changes, at annualized dredging volumes of about 4.15 mcy. The amount of sediment entering the Bay from adjacent watersheds is about 2.87 mcy/yr or 64% of annual maintenance dredging.
Sedimentation in Mobile Bay for the period 1917/18 to 1984/2011 revealed a pattern of net deposition, except for channel areas. Approximately 2.08 mcy of sediment was deposited in the Bay on an annual basis for the period of record. Sediment input from watersheds surrounding the Bay contributed about 2.87 mcy of sediment to the Bay, indicating that approximately 0.79 mcy of sediment were exported annually from the Bay during this period. Of this quantity, about 0.63 mcy/yr were transported to the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound by tidal currents. These quantities indicate that net deposition in the Bay accounts for approximately 72% of sediment input from watersheds and 28% is transported from the Bay through Pass aux Herons and Mobile Pass through natural transport processes and offshore disposal of dredged sediment. Channel maintenance dredging quantities between 1917/18 and 1984/2011 exceeded sediment input from Bay watersheds by about 1.6 mcy/yr, suggesting that about 36% of maintenance dredging material placed in the Bay was transported back to the channel.
Net sediment movement within the Bay indicates that in-bay disposal of sediment is most similar to natural long-term depositional processes. Design of dredged material placement techniques that focus on thin-layer disposal farther from the margins of the channels would be beneficial to channel dredging operations and benthic ecology. Dredged material placement farther from the channel may prevent excess maintenance dredging resulting from transport of sediment from channel margin disposal mounds into the channel. Furthermore, thin-layer disposal provides for faster recovery for bay-bottom benthic communities and has a less permanent impact on benthic ecology.
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (NEP) has revised the 2002 Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) and is releasing the draft plan for public input and comment. Comments will be received through February 28, 2013.
The 2013 CCMP is a community road map for coastal environmental management and restoration, and a plan to arm citizens with the latest scientific knowledge related to our estuary to heighten their sense of ownership and ability to make a personal difference.
The original CCMP was completed and approved in April 2002. It included objectives of improving water quality, living resources, human uses, habitat management and education and citizen involvement. In total, the 2002 CCMP contained 29 specific objectives with 101 implementable steps on the “path to success.” As of September 30, 2012, of the 101 actions identified in the plan, 11 have been completed, 88 have been implemented on some level, and three are being reconsidered.
The new plan is based on scientific assessments of where the greatest stresses are on the services provided by our coast’s critical habitats and on what the community values most about coastal Alabama.
The NEP was created in 1995 with a mission to promote the wise stewardship of the water quality and living resources of the nationally significant Mobile Bay estuary. It is one of 28 federally authorized programs coordinated by the EPA.