DRAFT Fowl River Watershed Management Plan

Local Organizations Release Draft Plan to Improve and Protect Fowl River Watershed

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), in partnership with Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood, Inc. (GMC), has completed the draft of the Fowl River Watershed Management Plan.  Visit the Fowl River Watershed page on the MBNEP website (www.mobilebaynep.com) to view and download the plan and appendices.  The draft plan will be open for public comments through February 22, 2016. All comments should be directed to James Robinson at james.robinson@gmcnetwork.com.

In 2014, the MBNEP contracted with GMC to prepare a comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (WMP) for the Fowl River Watershed. The purpose of the plan is to guide watershed resource managers, policy makers, community organizations and citizens to protect the chemical, biological, and cultural integrity of the Fowl River Watershed. Specific goals are to protect and preserve the waters and habitats that support healthy populations of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and provide for recreation in and on the waters of this estuary of Mobile Bay.

Completion of a comprehensive watershed management plan involves collaborative efforts from numerous sources.  A Steering Committee comprising diverse stakeholders was created to guide the planning process. The Committee, working with MBNEP, then established working groups - coalitions of federal, state, and local agencies; county and local governments; business groups and commercial interests, property owners and developers; and civic and environmental groups.

Although Fowl River is overall a healthy watershed, the working groups identified nutrient loading, excessive stormwater runoff, and habitat loss as critical issues, as well as stormwater management and flood protection.  Improved management of new urban development and retrofits of existing developments using stormwater best management practices are recommended; ways to combat habitat loss are also a part of the plan.

Residents of the Fowl River Watershed and other local stakeholders were also engaged in a public outreach and education effort. They identified the following priority issues: habitat management, habitat protection, litter, erosion and sedimentation, ordinances, sustainable development, citizen participation and access, shorelines, stormwater management, habitat acquisition, islands, chemical management, signage, enforcement, boat wakes, and recreation. A working group developed management measures and goals to tackle these priorities in a systematic way.

Since 2010, the MBNEP has expanded its work promoting wise stewardship of the waters, species and resources of the watersheds within the Mobile Bay drainage basin. The Fowl River Watershed is the fourth watershed within the larger Mobile Bay watershed system to be evaluated in the past five years. Preparation of the Fowl River Watershed Management Plan was made possible by collaborative funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through MBNEP. 

Rick Frederick, Community Relations Manager

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (http://www.mobilebaynep.com)

(251)380-7941 rfrederick@mobilebaynep.com

January 13, 2016  

Posted on 01/11/16 at 02:41 PM Permalink

Mobile Bay NEP Awarded RESTORE Act Funds as part of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Settlement.

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) recently issued a final list of projects and programs (activities) to be funded pursuant to the RESTORE Act. This list of activities is called the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL), and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) was awarded 2 of these projects. This FPL will use currently available funds for planning and on-the-ground restoration activities in key watersheds across the Gulf.

PROJECT 1: The State of Alabama will distribute $4,342,500.00 in RESTORE funds to the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program for purposes of completing comprehensive Watershed Management Plans for 19 priority watersheds in coastal Alabama. The MBNEP adopted the Watershed Management Planning Protocol and prioritized 31 coastal and intertidal watersheds for the development of standardized comprehensive management plans designed to guide future conservation and restoration efforts. To date, four watershed management plans are complete with implementation projects underway; ten others have been awarded funds through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), and RESTORE funds are approved for nineteen additional priority watersheds. Two of the nineteen priority RESTORE-funded watersheds will be co-funded with NFWF GEBF so that watershed management plans can be completed.

Ecological Benefits/Outcomes and Metrics: The development of Watershed Management Plans is a foundational step in determining the critical ecological restoration needs for the watershed while incorporating best available science and community stakeholder input. Each plan will identify and describe future restoration projects, quantify the expected ecological benefits, identify funding sources, and provide metrics by which to gage success.

PROJECT 2: The Mobile Bay Estuary Program (MBNEP) will receive $358,000.00 in RESTORE funds for project planning activity to include engineering and design of a stream restoration plan for restoring Twelve Mile Creek, one of six main tributaries within the Three Mile Creek Watershed, and for development of an invasive species control program focused on aquatic vegetation in Three Mile Creek; preparation of necessary environmental compliance and regulatory clearances documentation; quality assurance; and pre-restoration monitoring. The Planning activity of the MBNEP RESTORE project will ensure that the implementation phase, if funded, can proceed in a timely and fully compliant manner, and will include adequate baseline monitoring data to measure results following implementation.

The Council has listed the implementation of this project as a priority for potential future funding. If funding is approved for implementation of this activity, The MBNEP would receive an additional $1,742,800.00 to implement the plans and will be responsible for ensuring timely initiation and completion of the project elements, including compliance, monitoring and reporting requirements. This project will lay the foundation for improving dissolved oxygen concentrations within the creek, thus restoring a healthy aquatic ecosystem and fishery and contribute to the opportunity to transform Three Mile Creek, a community liability, into a waterway destination.

You can download and view the initial FPL here

Posted on 12/17/15 at 09:53 AM Permalink

Available Post-Doc Position at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab: Marine Ecology Lab


Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Marine Ecology Lab (with Dr. Kenneth Heck)

Dauphin Island, AL



The Marine Ecology Lab at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is seeking a Post-Doctoral Research Associate to assist with a National Academy of Sciences funded synthesis project to evaluate and compare the performance of the various restoration technologies used for the many existing Alabama living shorelines.  The selected individual will be joining a diverse team of researchers in ecology, social sciences, economics, and NGO managers to create a summary/synthesis document to be used to strengthen, and direct, future restoration efforts within Alabama and across the Gulf of Mexico.

The position is available in January 2016.  The initial appointment is for 1 year with the potential for an additional year.  



Applicant should possess a PhD in marine science, marine ecology or a related field. The preferred candidate would have experience with shellfish restoration and living shorelines and should be able to manage, analyze and synthesize large datasets (physical, biological, social and economic) with multivariate approaches and time series analyses. Skills with GIS are not required but preferred.



Applicants should send a letter of intent, current resume and contact information (name, phone number, email address) of three individuals qualified to comment on scientific and work qualifications to Dottie Byron (dbyron@disl.org). Position will remain open until filled.



Please contact:

Dr. Kenneth Heck, Jr.

Email: kheck@disl.org 

Posted on 11/20/15 at 01:40 PM Permalink

Mobile City Council Endorses Three Mile Creek Watershed Management Plan

The Mobile City Council officially recognized and endorsed the Three Mile Creek (TMC) Watershed Management Plan during today’s council meeting.  The resolution is sponsored by the MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corporation’s Leadership Academy to promote community resilience and engagement.  According to Executive Director Michael Pierce, “The MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corporation is delighted the Mobile City Council is adopting the Three Mile Creek Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan.  Three Mile Creek is a wonderful natural resource that must be properly maintained.  In doing so, the creek could aid in the reduction of flooding, climate change impacts and improve water quality.  Additionally, increased access to Three Mile Creek will undoubtedly lead to greater recreational and perhaps entrepreneurial opportunities for our citizens”.

The majority of TMC’s 30 square mile watershed lies within the Mobile city limits and includes portions of five City Council Districts, all three Mobile County Commission Districts, and portions of three City Council Districts of the City of Prichard.

The watershed management plan, completed in the September of 2013, has guided the implementation of several priority projects to improve water quality, as well as jump start the initial segment of a 12 mile walking/biking/canoeing trail.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program secured funding and oversaw development of the plan.  Funding partners include: Mobile County, State of Alabama, Mobile Area Water and Sewer System, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Until the mid-twentieth century, this creek was Mobile’s source of drinking water and is physically, spiritually, and historically ingrained into the fabric of the Mobile community.  Suffering from the negative effects of stormwater runoff and decaying infrastructure, TMC and its surrounding watershed present an extraordinary opportunity to the cities of Mobile and Prichard to transform a community liability into a community amenity and water-way destination.

 Participants in the MLK Leadership Academy address the Mobile City Council

Posted on 11/20/15 at 09:17 AM Permalink

Fowl River Watershed Plan Open House

Draft recommendations for the Fowl River Watershed plan will be unvield at two upcoming meetings. The public is invited to come and learn about plans for protecting the Fowl River Watershed and share their feedback. 

Click here for more information


Date Monday, November 2 Tuesday, Novemebr 3
Time 5:30 P.M. 5:30 P.M.
Location St. Rose of Lima Theodore High School
Address 2951 Durette Ave. 
Coden, AL
6201 Swedetown Rd.
Theodore, AL
Posted on 10/23/15 at 02:37 PM Permalink

Upcoming Rain Barrel Workshop in Robertsdale

For Immediate Release

October 12, 2015

Contact: Christian Miller

NPS Extension Specialist

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium

251.438.5690 (office)

Residents can make rain barrels at Robertsdale workshop

(Mobile, Ala.) - Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, in partnership with the Coastal Alabama Clean Water Partnership, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Baldwin County, and the cities of Daphne, Spanish Fort, and Fairhope will hold a rain barrel workshop from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, October 17th, at the Baldwin County Central Annex located at 22251 Palmer St in Robertsdale, AL.

Workshop participants will learn about important water quality and conservation issues and practical measures they can take to reduce their impact on coastal Alabama’s water resources. During the workshop, they will construct a rain barrel that will allow them to harvest rainwater for gardens, landscaping or other uses. They also will learn how to install the rain barrels at their homes.

To attend the workshop, interested individuals must pre-register with the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center office. The registration fee for the workshop is $40 and includes all materials required to construct a rain barrel.

For more information or to register, contact Christian Miller, extension specialist with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Auburn Marine Center, at 251-438-5690 or Christian@auburn.edu.

Posted on 10/12/15 at 01:27 PM Permalink

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Healthy Gulf Seafood

Posted on 10/06/15 at 01:13 PM Permalink

Here is what Alabama will get in the BP oil spill settlement-al.com

By Jeremy Gray | jgray@al.com 
on October 05, 2015 at 11:44 AM, updated October 05, 2015 at 1:26 PM

The Justice Department and five states have finalized a settlement worth more than $20 billion arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials announced Monday.

For Alabama, that means a portion of a $1 billion payout from BP, Attorney General Luther Strange announced today.

That includes $950 million to the Alabama General Fund -- $50 million each year from 2016 until 2018 and $53.33 million each year from 2019 until 2033.

Another $50 million will be paid by BP in 2016 to the Alabama Gulf State Park. Project

A separate order dictates BP will make a one-time payment of legal fees for attorneys who represented the five Gulf States and their governors.  Under the order, the Strange's Office will receive $10 million directly from BP.

"I am also pleased that today's settlement of civil penalties and natural resource damages will send approximately $1 billion to Alabama's coastal counties, which will allow our friends on the Gulf to continue restoring both their environment and their economy," Strange wrote in a press release. 

The deal resolves all civil claims against BP and ends five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134 million-gallon spill.

It requires the company to commit to a widespread cleanup project in the Gulf Coast area aimed at restoring wildlife, habitat, water quality and recreation.

"BP is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries that it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a Justice Department news conference.

"The steep penalty should inspire BP and its peers to take every measure necessary to ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again," Lynch said.

The settlement filed in federal court finalizes an agreement first announced in July. The next step is a 60-day public comment period.

Among other requirements, BP will be forced to pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and nearly $5 billion to five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

It also requires the company to pay $8.1 billion in natural resource damages, with funds going toward Gulf restoration projects such as support for coastal wetland and fish and birds.

The spill followed the April 2010 explosion on an offshore rig that killed 11 workers. BP earlier settled with people and businesses harmed by the spill, a deal that's so far resulted in $5.84 billion in payouts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Posted on 10/05/15 at 02:27 PM Permalink

Oyster unveiling at the GulfQuest Maritime Museum


Photo Gallery

By Jeff Dute

The 26th overall and 13th placed in downtown Mobile, the new installment of The Oyster Trail was unveiled at the GulfQuest Maritime Museum on Sept. 17.

Co-sponsored by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and Thompson Engineering/Watermark Design, “Estuary Gifts” was painted by native Mobilian James Foster.

On its face, Foster has painted extraordinarily vivid scenes depicting the varied topography and biology of the lower reaches of the Mobile Bay watershed that make it possible for it to support some of the most unique plants, animals and birds on the planet. A focal point of the shell’s inside scene panes is a three-dimensional pearl that Foster fashioned to scale where it rests inside a freshly opened Mobile Bay oyster.

On the outer shell, Foster’s painting of the entire watershed provides a surprisingly stark reminder of “how much stuff comes this way” through two-thirds of Alabama’s extensive waterways large and small plus parts of Mississippi and Georgia. Foster, who has a full-time job, said it took a couple of months of part-time work from initial consultations with MBNEP Director Roberta Swann to complete the intricate scenes.

During the unveiling, Thompson/Watermark’s President John Baker said The Oyster Trail, along with the GulfQuest Maritime Museum provide greater opportunity to educate locals and visitors to Mobile alike about the importance of the environment and the importance of Mobile Bay to our economy.

“The health of Mobile Bay and surrounding watersheds is directly tied to the health of our communities and the quality of life we enjoy,” Baker said. “While I’m certainly not  a marine biologist and I’m not trying to play one today, the oyster is an indicator species of the overall health of the bay. If we have poor water quality conditions in the bay, the oysters are the first to know it. As much as I like to eat “Blue point” oysters from the East Coast or Apalachicola Bay oysters from the Big Bend area of Florida, I much prefer to enjoy Mobile By area oysters and seafood.”

Left to right, Artist James Foster, PJ Waters Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program, Marie Dyson Oyster Trail, John Baker President Thompson Watermark, Roberta Swann Director Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Tony Zodrow GulfQuest Maritime Museum Stand next to the latest edition to the Oyster Trail.

Baker added that the only way to ensure high water quality standards is to “promote sustainable, resilient and environmentally thoughtful design standards and practices throughout the built environment.”

The Oyster Trail is a fun, educational and public- art treasure hunt throughout coastal Alabama.  Look for the large fiberglass oysters that have been painted, decorated and bedazzled by artists throughout the area and which can be found along the street, within parks in lobbies and other places.

Each oyster has a fact plaque that includes important information about the oyster’s ecological and economic benefit to Mobile Bay. Visitors to the trail are guided by a Trail Map which provides locations of the oysters.

Trail Maps can be found in hotels, shops, visitor centers, etc. or can be downloaded. Completed scavenger-hunt forms can be returned to win Oyster Trail prizes.

Through sponsor donations, The Oyster Trail not only teaches people about the importance of healthy oyster populations as it relates to water quality but the money is also used to fund the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program. This volunteer-based program coordinated the Auburn University Shellfish on Dauphin Island focuses on education, restoration/enhancement and oyster research by “bringing the reef to the people.” 

Gardeners receive oyster spat in early July and grow them in baskets hung from their wharves until late November when they average about 2.5 inches. Their oyster offspring are collected and planted on reefs that have been degraded by storms, sedimentation and other causes. Volunteer gardeners have grown nearly 600,000 advanced stocker oysters for planting in and around Mobile Bay over the past 15 years, said Program Coordinator P.J. Waters.

“Without the supporters, sponsors and artists who participate in The Oyster Trail, the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program would not exist,” Waters said.

Director Roberta Swann said the MBNEP’s support of The Oyster Trail has been steadfast since its inception because it has on-the-water as well as educational benefits.

“Not only does this Oyster Trail generate money to continue the gardening program, it provides educational facts about the value of oysters in our estuary,” Swann said. “Not only can an adult oyster filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, oyster reefs provide habitat for other fish and shell fish. They can reduce wave energy in close proximity to the shore and most important, are at the very foundation of coastal Alabama heritage and culture. 

“To secure a future of oysters in Alabama is vital to securing a healthy estuary and frankly, a tasty treat.”

To learn more about or become a Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program volunteer, go to http://www.oystertrail.com. To learn more about the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s efforts in watersheds across the area, go to http://www.mobilebaynep.com. ;

Jeff Dute is a communications consultant for Mobile Bay NEP

Posted on 09/17/15 at 03:08 PM Permalink

Three Mile Creek to see a hiking, biking trail and canoe, kayak launches, FOX 10 News Special Report

Posted: Sep 10, 2015 1:29 PM CDTUpdated: Sep 10, 2015 2:10 PM CDT
By Candace Murphy, FOX10 News Reporter


Tucked away in the heart of downtown Mobile there’s wildlife all around. 

“We’re seeing Mullet jump. A lot of birds, we saw an alligator today. So right here, five minutes from downtown Mobile, is a great opportunity for people to get out, get on the water and see the wonderful wildlife we have in this area,” said Rick Fredrick with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.  

The Mobile Bay NEP wants to clean up Three Mile Creek so more people can enjoy it but there are challenges. FOX10 News discovered the water quality needs improvement.   “Trash and litter of course is the obvious thing. Of course there’s a lot of pathogens in the water meaning fertilizer, pet waste, we have run off from oils from your car so trying to eliminate a lot of the storm water run off affecting the water quality in the creek,” Fredrick explained.

In addition to improving the water quality, the City of Mobile plans to build hiking and biking trails stretching from The University of South Alabama to The Mobile River.“They’re all in the design phase right now so engineering firms are putting the design together and they’re going to begin construction soon. In 2016 we’ll see a lot of that come to fruition and be able to see the beginning of the trails and the canoe and kayak launches,” Fredrick explained.

The City of Mobile sent out the below letter unveiling the first design phase of Three Mile Creek Trail:

The City of Mobile unveiled its first design phase of the Three Mile Creek walking and biking trail during two community meetings this week. More than 80 stakeholders were able to weigh in and give feedback on the plan.

The project includes the installation of a 1.7-mile concrete trail, energy-efficient LED lighting, a fitness course, a boat launch, park benches, trash receptacles, water fountains and educational signage. The City of Mobile contracted Dorsey and Dorsey Engineering to complete the design and engineering for the plan. The trail system will begin at the southwest corner of the crossing of Three Mile Creek with MLK Avenue at the current site of the Roger Williams Homes and extend to West Ridge.

The trail will provide educational opportunities for the public to learn more about environmental protection, pollution, litter and natural resources. Commuters will be given an alternate form of transportation and residents will benefit from an accessible and free outlet for exercise.

The long term goal is to build a twelve-mile greenway system that would connect neighborhoods and parks. The recreational path would stretch from the University of South Alabama to the Mobile River.

“The creation of this first phase demonstrates our commitment to the revival of Three Mile Creek,” said Mayor Stimpson. “Our vision is to transform Three Mile Creek from a degraded, underutilized waterway to a community asset that educates citizens on our natural resources, encourages fitness and ultimately connects our community in a tangible and meaningful way.”

Funding for this project is provided through Community Development Block Grants, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, The City of Mobile, the Mobile County Health Department, Sybil Smith Charitable Trust and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

“We just want Mobile to get behind this. Be positive. It’s a daunting task, a big project but as you can see today, what it can be and the vision and we’re starting to see a lot of the projects being implemented and people can start to see this can become a reality,” Fredrick said.  

All content © 2015, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserve

Read more: http://www.fox10tv.com/story/30002433/three-mile-creek-to-see-a-hiking-biking-trail-and-canoe-kayak-launches#ixzz3lMn4245P

Posted on 09/10/15 at 02:41 PM Permalink