By Guy Busby
DAPHNE – Don Bates pointed to a bucket of moldy plastic and Styrofoam sitting on the bridge over D’Olive Creek. The trash was collected during a test of a small-stream litter collection device in D’Olive Creek. “That was with no rain,” he said. “When it rains, these things will have a lot more than that.” The device, known as a “Litter Gitter,” is now deployed in the creek upstream from the Gator Alley boardwalk and will be used to intercept floating litter from storm water runoff. Bates, the owner of Osprey Initiative, which developed the Litter Gitter, said 10 of the devices are now in place in Three-Mile Creek and three in Dog River in Mobile County. Another trap is being used in Foley. He said initial tests indicate a 95-percent success rate in preventing the downstream loss of floating litter.
By Everett Johnson
Last month I reported on an organization that is doing an amazing work in Aransas County, helping restore the communities of Fulton and Rockport as they get back on their feet after a bad actor named Harvey drew a bullseye on the two coastal communities. The group is Keep Aransas County Beautiful (KACB) and their post-Harvey mission and accomplishments continue to be highly-commendable. Click here to read more
Hale Boggs Federal Building
500 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) is seeking public comment on the Council’s proposal to amend its FPL in order to approve implementation funding for the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), specifically for restoration of a portion of Twelve Mile Creek, Alabama. In 2015, the Council approved $358,000 in planning funds for this stream restoration project sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At that time, the Council budgeted $1,742,000 for potential implementation of the project. The Council is now proposing to approve this implementation funding to restore approximately 1,800 linear feet of stream, including vegetated banks. The project design scope was originally to restore 1,300 linear feet of stream. The design was subsequently enhanced and permitted to allow restoration of 1,800 linear feet of stream. Before voting on approving funding, the Council will open this FPL amendment for a seven-day public comment period beginning on Monday, July 29, 2019 and concluding at 11:59 pm on August 5, 2019. You may submit those comments using one of the two methods below:
By Email to email@example.com:
Email submission of comments ensures timely receipt and enables the Council to make them available to the public. All comments received, including names, email addresses, attachments and other supporting materials, will be part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. You should only submit information that you wish to make publicly available.
By U.S. Mail:
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
Attn: MBNEP Amendment Comments
500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117
New Orleans, LA 70130
The Council’s Standard Operating Procedures require a minimum of seven days of public notice prior to a Council vote. The Council believes that a seven-day comment period is appropriate in this case, given the scope of the project and the associated permit documentation. You may request an extension of this comment period if you need more time to review and consider this matter. To request an extension, please contact Keala J. Hughes at (504) 717-7235 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pursuant to the RESTORE Act, the Council is responsible for administering portions of Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement funds for the purpose of restoring the environment and economy of the Gulf coast. The Council administers two funding programs, one of which is the “Council-Selected Restoration Component” or “Bucket 2.” Under Bucket 2, the Council votes to approve Gulf ecosystem restoration projects and programs proposed by the Council members. Bucket 2 projects and programs approved for funding by the Council are included in what is called a “Funded Priorities List” or “FPL.”
The Twelve Mile Creek project was included in the Council’s Initial FPL in 2015, under the name “Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.” As noted above, in 2015 the Council approved planning funds for this project and identified it for potential implementation in the future. When the Council approves funding for a project or program in an FPL, the activity is included in “Category 1” of the FPL. When the Council identifies a project or program as a potential future priority but has not yet approved funding for it, the activity is included in “Category 2.” Thus, the previously-approved planning component of Twelve Mile Creek is in Category 1; the Twelve Mile Creek implementation component is currently in Category 2.
A Council vote is needed to approve funding for a Category 2 project and move it to Category 1. Prior to approving implementation funds for a Category 2 project and moving it to Category 1, the Council must comply with all applicable environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On May 13, 2019, the Corps of Engineers issued a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for the Twelve Mile Creek project. To comply with NEPA, the Council is proposing to adopt the Corps of Engineers NEPA Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project. The Corps of Engineers permit documentation for this project also addresses other applicable environmental laws.
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Keala J. Hughes
Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations
Congressman Malinowski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect and Restore Water Quality and Ecological Integrity
(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman Tom Malinowski introduced the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (NEP). He was joined by original cosponsors Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tex.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), fellow members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment.
Among other provisions, the legislation:
- Increases funding for the NEP’s 28 estuaries of national significance, including the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, of which the 7th District is a part;
- Ensures that the management plans governing nationally significant estuaries consider the effects of recurring extreme weather events, and that they develop and implement appropriate adaptation strategies; and
- Expands eligibility for NEP grants to organizations working to address storm water runoff, coastal resiliency, and accelerated land loss issues.
“Estuaries support a diverse array of wildlife, protect inland areas from floods and storm surges, and act as economic drivers for communities around the country,” said Congressman Malinowski. “I'm proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to protect these important waters, and to preserve the natural beauty of our state.”
“Along the Texas Gulf Coast, we know the importance of protecting the water quality and wildlife in our estuaries. Galveston Bay is a great benefit—supporting our economy through the Port of Houston and providing a natural habitat that protects us and enriches our quality of life,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “I am proud to join with my colleagues today to introduce this legislation to make sure that Galveston Bay and estuaries like it have the resources available to support their diverse marine life, maintain water quality, and encourage economic opportunity.”
“Representative Malinowski is demonstrating vision and leadership through his efforts to affirm strong congressional support for the National Estuary Program. This locally-based, non-regulatory program has an unparalleled track record of engagement with fishers, businesses, citizen groups, and government at all levels to develop a range of effective, durable solutions” said Rich Innes of the Association of National Estuary Programs. “It is designed to safeguard and restore the estuaries and bays which define our communities, and provide us with jobs, inspiration, and safe places to recreate and raise our families”.
“Each of the 28 National Estuary Programs mobilizes a diverse set of partners to improve the nation’s waterways through locally-supported, science-based action” said Rob Pirani, Director of the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. “We appreciate the leadership taken by Congressman Malinowski and his colleagues to ensure that this vital federal program continues to serve communities in New Jersey and across the nation.”
The National Estuary Program, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, is comprised of a network of organizations working to improve the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries—areas where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with salt water inflows from the ocean. The NEP was created by Congress in 1987 through amendments to the Clean Water Act.
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS: The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program seeks a qualified environmental planning, engineering, natural resource planning, or other similar firm to prepare a Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for the Mobile Tensaw Delta complex of watersheds in Mobile and Baldwin counties, Alabama.
A Request for Qualifications process is being used to select a firm who can develop such a conceptual engineering master plan based on new and available data. A mandatory pre-submittal conference will be conducted at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 at the International Trade Center located at 250 N. Water Street, Mobile, AL 36602.
Statements must be received no later than 3:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 23rd, 2019. Inquiries should be directed to: Christian Miller, email@example.com 251-459-8871. The most recent RFQ from MBNEP's Website.
Trash Talking Thursday!
Check out today's Alabama Saltwater Fishing Report podcast crew and MBNEP's Jason Kudulis discuss the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo #TrashBlows Campaign.
Interview starts at 5:20
Contact: Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, Deputy Director
Organization: Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Date: July 18, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2019
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and the Town of Dauphin Island move the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo “Trash Blows” campaign into its second year
As you drive down to the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo this weekend, pay attention to the blue and white signs along Dauphin Island Parkway and heed their messages. The Town of Dauphin Island and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) will continue the “Trash Blows” campaign for the second year at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR) to raise awareness about truck bed and boat trash to keep our coastal waterways clean.
Anglers and visitors to the ADSFR will see six highly visible banners emblazoned with a cartoon of trash blowing from the back of a pickup truck and trailered boat with the words: “Trash Blows…Stow it!” They will also see campaign-sized signs along Dauphin Island Parkway reminding north and south-bound traffic to stow their trash where it won’t become a roadside eyesore.
Yellow mesh trash bags for use on boats are available with the purchase of ADSFR tickets at partner businesses and the Liar’s Contest. Tee-shirts and other prizes will be given to anyone who visits the MBNEP Trash Blows table in the tent and with a social media post (Facebook, Instagram) showing any litter cleanup activity with the hashtag #trashblows.
For the second consecutive year, the ADSFR will feature recycling receptacles along with trash bins. This year, Osprey Initiative will oversee recycling, sorting and appropriately directing materials to recycling processors with the help of Thompson Engineering’s Eco-Team. Osprey, who has gained local attention for the installation of portable Litter Gitter trash collection devices in Dog River and Three Mile Creek, will display and sell truck bed trash receptacles in the tent.
The mission of the MBNEP is to promote the wise stewardship of the quality and living resources of Alabama’s estuarine waters. MBNEP Director Roberta Swann is excited about the campaign, and as a Coden resident who lives on DIP, she felt last year’s first Trash Blows campaign at the ADSFR made a real impact on this audience of sportsmen and women. “As a wife and mom of hardcore fishermen, I understand the importance of protecting the waters that make the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo so much fun and so successful. It’s important that those who most appreciate a resource understand ways that they can work to sustain it. I think the Trash Blows campaign raised awareness last year, and I’m optimistic that we’ll finish the weekend having created a few more stewards.”
THREE MILE CREEK WATERSHED
Invasive Species Control Plan
Download Report (PDF, 8.9MB)
Three Mile Creek is a tributary of the Mobile River and drains approximately 30.1 sq. mi. through a mix of residential, commercial, industrial, and undeveloped sections of Mobile and Prichard, Alabama. The area includes habitat-rich wooded wetlands supporting a broad diversity of freshwater, estuarine, and marine species, along with highly urbanized areas.
Competition among species is a natural part of any ecosystem, but introduction of exotic species can disrupt intricate balances and relationships evolved over thousands of years among native species and their communities. These invasions often cause a loss of biological diversity within both the plant and animal communities (Vitousek 1990). To prevent this loss of biological diversity and improve water quality, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program requested development of an Invasive Species Control Plan for the Watershed.
The purpose of this Invasive Species Control Plan is to remove or control invasive plant and animal species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed, based upon available and survey data.
In order to provide a quantitative evaluation of invasive species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed, the Team used a plot-based sampling design to document invasive and native species and their locations within major waterway corridors. Spring and fall field surveys were completed to coincide with peak visibility of target species and to maximize positive identification through flowers or other diagnostic features.
The surveyed waterways included the entire run of the main channel of Three Mile Creek, extending from its headwaters downstream to approximately 1 km from the confluence with the Mobile River. A total of 368 sites were sample and equaled an area of 304,200 m2 (75.2 acres), or approximately 9.3% of the riparian area of the Three Mile Creek Watershed (810 acres).
From the survey, a total of 43 invasive plant species and two invasive animal species were quantified within the Three Mile Creek Watershed during the two sampling events. The five invasive plant species most frequently observed in the plots on a presence/absence basis were Chinese tallow tree, alligatorweed, Chinese privet, cogongrass, and Japanese climbing fern. The most prevalent invasive animal observed was the island apple snail.
From this data, watershed-wide and species-specific control applications were developed to control invasive species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed. The plan is broken into eight key areas for implementation and should be followed as listed below.
- Obtain access to large parcels within the Watershed for invasive control efforts
- Strategy 1. Manage and protect existing intact native communities
- Strategy 2. Target high or moderate density non-native invasive communities
- Strategy 3. Continue and expand island apple snail removals
- Use budgeting tool and species location maps to prioritize site selection
- Reestablish native plant communities in riparian areas
- Continue monitoring the Watershed to detect new invasive species while they are present in low numbers
- Conduct community outreach regarding invasive species detection and control
Download Full Report (PDF, 8.9MB)