WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will receive approximately $344,000 in the form of a federal grant appropriated by Congress to conserve and improve working waterfronts and preserve fishing communities, within its 71,500 square mile watershed. Click here to view the full press release.
Did you know the Mobile Bay watershed is one of 28 estuaries designated as an estuary of national significance? The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program has successfully leveraged its EPA funding of $600,000 per year into $20,000,000 of investment in Alabama’s coastal restoration activities. This represents a return on investment of eight dollars for every dollar invested, a level of credibility in the community and across the State as a trusted agency of science based action, and key partner for the State of Alabama in planning for and implementing Deepwater Horizon related restoration activities. Thank you, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for recognizing “a healthy Mobile Bay is vital to the environmental and economic health of America,” and we appreciate the continued support of Congressmen Byrne and other local leaders.
A pilot program is exposing young adults to environmental resources hidden in some of Mobile's most urban communities. By Jason Johnson
It's been one year since we settled with BP and began implementing our programmatic plan to restore the Gulf. Since then, we've been busy planning, implementing restoration, and hearing from you about what restoration should look like.
The Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida Trustee Implementation Groups requested your projects ideas for restoration. Florida held a webinar on its restoration planning process. They will consider those comments when developing their plans. Mississippi held a public meeting to get feedback on its draft restoration plan. Louisiana and Alabama also held public meetings and considered public input when finalizing their first restoration plans.
The Trustee Council also held its first annual public meeting in September 2016. We gave an update on our work since the settlement and described restoration planning activities and opportunities for public engagement. We also developed and updated our standard operating procedures, which guide the long-term management, implementation, and administration of settlement.
Several of the Trustee Implementation Groups developed restoration plans following settlement:
- Louisiana's plan focuses on wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats; habitat projects on federally managed lands; and birds
- Mississippi's draft plan focuses on wetlands, coastal, nearshore and habitat; birds; and nutrient reduction
- Alabama's plan focuses on recreational use
Many restoration projects are already underway, including:
- Building barrier islands in Louisiana, which will help protect coastal ecosystems and communities in Barataria Basin from storms and benefit nesting birds
- Restoring dunes and beaches in Florida and Alabama
- Installing living shorelines in Alabama and Mississippi, which will reduce shoreline erosion
- Creating two artificial reefs in Texas, which will become home to fish, coral, and sea turtles
- Placing oyster cultch in Florida, which will enhance and improve the oyster populations
- Restoring sea turtle and oceanic fish populations
We know you are interested in the status of our restoration and planning efforts, as well as how funds are being spent. We are making this information available through the Data Integration Visualization Exploration and Reporting Portal, or "DIVER". This is a powerful restoration reporting tool that's easy to use. Through DIVER, you can view planning and implementation status, monitoring activities and data, and financial information for each project. This includes the 2016 Annual Financial Summary Report.
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On March 24, 2017, EPA Administrator Pruitt issued an agency-wide memorandum on implementation of Executive Order 13777, which announced members of the required Regulatory Reform Task Force, and directed EPA program offices to seek public input on existing regulations and report findings to the Task Force by May 15.
Comment period ended on May 15, 2017
How to Comment: You may submit comments in writing, using Email, Docket or mail. Submit comments to:
Mail: Office of Policy Regulatory Reform, Mail Code 1803A, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20460
EPA Offices are conducting outreach described below (updates to the list may be found at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform#Public)
- April 24: The Office of International and Tribal Affairs will host an outreach call with tribal representatives on April 24, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. EDT.
- April 24: The Office of Air and Radiation plans a public meeting via teleconference on April 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
- April 25: The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization plans a public meeting on April 25, 2017 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. EDT.
- April 26: The Office of Water is planning to meet with water associations, including ECOS, ACWA, ASDWA, and GWPC on April 26, 2017 from 1 - 3 p.m.
- May 2: The Office of Water is planning a virtual listening session for the public on May 2, 2017 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- May 4: The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention will meet with the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee on May 4, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EDT.
- May 9: The Office of Land and Emergency Management, will host a public meeting to obtain public feedback on May 9, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT in Arlington, VA.
For more information about the public participation in regulatory reform, please visit https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform#Public
Whether you catch fish for fun or for a living, swim for exercise or for leisure, kayak or powerboat, or just like to gaze at its beauty, as a community, coastal Alabama is intimately intertwined with its water resources. We depend on healthy water resources to sustain our environment, economy, and quality of life. Understanding the health of Mobile Bay’s estuarine waters is paramount to ensure the experiences and opportunities afforded to you remain intact and accessible for the next generation. One of the best ways to determine the condition of a waterbody is to conduct regular monitoring. However, when you consider the numerous waterways in coastal Alabama, along with budget constraints and other limitations placed on professionals and government agencies, routinely monitoring every river and stream seems daunting at best. The good news, however, is a productive and cost efficient way to collect comprehensive water quality data already exists, all it needs is you. In watersheds around Mobile Bay, citizens from all walks of life volunteer to become certified Alabama Water Watch (AWW) monitors and test sites monthly.
Alabama is fortunate to have AWW. Since 1992, AWW has worked to educate, train, and empower people statewide to monitor water quality. To date, they have more than 82,000 data records from 2,300 sites throughout Alabama. Their protocols are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and include a robust Quality Assurance Plan. Trained AWW water quality monitors are able to test for basic water chemistry and/or for bacteria depending on their certification. Alabama Water Watch training is always free! Water chemistry training takes about six hours and bacteria training about two hours.
Two longstanding watershed groups, Dog River Clearwater Revival in Mobile County and Wolf Bay Watershed Watch in Baldwin County, are a wonderful example of how volunteer water quality monitors can make a difference in their communities. Collectively, these two groups have monitored more than 100 different sites over the past twenty years. Both groups not only monitor, but they use their data to advocate for their respective watersheds. Wolf Bay’s volunteer monitoring data was instrumental in having the watershed declared an Outstanding Alabama Water in 2007 (Alabama’s highest designation). Dog River uses volunteer data to document water quality impacts from urban runoff and sewage overflows. Other watersheds with active citizen monitoring efforts include Weeks Bay, D’Olive, Little Lagoon, and recently established Fowl River.
Currently, water quality monitors are needed as part of the comprehensive watershed planning for 31 priority watersheds in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Driven by science, these plans will guide future restoration and management decisions for decades to come. Citizen science has an important role in watershed planning. Each plan calls for water quality monitoring to track the success or failure of implemented planning strategies, or to determine where additional focus is needed. The importance of volunteer monitoring and the benefit of your involvement cannot be overstated. If you or someone you know is interested in a fun and meaningful science-based volunteer activity, consider becoming a local water quality monitor. You do not have to live on the water to participate. What it boils down to is we need you. The success of any volunteer water quality monitoring program is dependent on the volunteers who willingly offer their time to better our collective understanding of water quality.
To learn more about how you can become a AWW volunteer or to register for a workshop, visit www.alabamawaterwatch.org. If you or a group is interested in volunteering as a water quality monitor for the comprehensive watershed plans, contact MBNEP.
Joint Public Notice
U.S Army Corps of Engineers-Mobile District, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Region 4, and Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Maintenance Dredging and Placement Activities Mobile Harbor Project, Mobile County, Alabama
Joint Public Notice
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Alabama Department of Environmental Management for Proposed Maintenance and Placement of Dredged Material for Fly Creek Navigation Project.
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) held a public meeting on Friday, December 16th, 2016. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in his role as chair of the Council announced the approval of the Comprehensive Plan Update. This plan was unanimously adopted by the Council, which includes the five Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) and six federal agencies (U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army). The Council also heard from some of its key restoration partners including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
“Today’s announcement builds the foundation for state and federal partners to fulfill their commitments to the 22 million Americans who live in Gulf coastal counties and parishes to revitalize their economies and the Gulf ecosystem they depend upon,” Vilsack said. “The Comprehensive Plan Update reflects unprecedented collaboration between federal, state, tribal and local partners and creates the framework for ongoing coordination, engagement and transparency as we continue to invest in strategies to restore this vital region.”
The Council has updated its Initial Comprehensive Plan to include recent developments in Gulf restoration such as the resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a source of future funding for the Council’s projects. The update also captures important public input and lessons learned from the process of developing and approving its initial Funded Priorities List (FPL), its first slate of restoration activities to be funded through the RESTORE Act, and positions the Council to make the most effective use of future funds as they become available beginning in 2017.
“The Council is pleased to present this Comprehensive Plan Update,” said Justin R. Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Council. “We thank the public for comments provided on the draft update. The Council has incorporated modifications to the update based on public input. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders as we move forward with comprehensive restoration across the coast.”
The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast
region. The Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component. The Council is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and members include the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior, and the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. Read more about the Comprehensive Plan, the RESTORE Act and the Council at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.
As part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Phase IV Early Restoration Plan (ERP), the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-State Lands Division (SLD) plans to conduct an Osprey restoration project in coastal Alabama. The project would include the placement of five (5) osprey nesting platforms at select locations in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and implementation of a five (5) year post-construction monitoring program.
Interested firms submitting a response to this Request for Proposals (RFP) should acquire a copy of the Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama ERP Fact Sheet along with a copy of this RFP from http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/default.aspx