Daphne, AL: Mobile Mayor, Sandy Stimpson, Daphne Mayor, Dane Haygood and Baldwin County republican nominees for county commissioner, Billie Jo Underwood, Jeb Ball, and Joe Davis along with key staff members from both Mobile, Daphne and Baldwin County to tour ongoing and completed stormwater management and stream restoration projects in and around Daphne, Thursday, July 26th.
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), Executive Director, Roberta Swann hosted the tour to demonstrate how MBNEP has successfully worked on behalf of multiple stakeholders, the City of Daphne, the City of Spanish Fort, and Baldwin County to implement stormwater management and stream restoration projects in the D'Olive watershed. The goal is to foster collaborations with all the various stakeholders and local governmental bodies to implement similar projects in the future.
Since the release of the D’Olive Watershed Management Plan in 2010, MBNEP has helped Daphne leverage funding resulting in an excess of $12 Million of restoration projects in the watershed. Restoration began in response to concerns about the excessive sedimentation of Lake Forest Lake and D’Olive Bay. Extensive monitoring was performed to determine the origins of the sediment pollution resulting in a list of multiple areas that were in emergency need of restoration.
At the top of the list of problem areas was a head-cut on an unnamed tributary of Joe’s Branch that was dangerously close to damaging Highway 31 in Spanish Fort. Through funding from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), a step-pool stormwater conveyance was built as a balance between creating a stormwater facility that could handle excessive flow with the desire to restore ecological function.
Since the Joe’s Branch restoration MBNEP has worked with Daphne and Spanish Fort to improve eight other areas in the watershed that were significant contributors to sediment pollution. These projects included funding from the NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund a result of the BP Oil Spill.
As RESTORE and other funding becomes available, MBNEP hopes to highlight the successes in Daphne as a model for other stormwater problem areas in Mobile and Baldwin Counties as highlighted in the additional watershed management plans that MBNEP has published over the last 5 years.
Addressing these stormwater issues requires collaboration between multiple governments, stakeholder groups, partners, agencies, and funding sources. As an independent intermediary, MBNEP has a track-record of bringing these various parties to the table, come to a consensus and make progress on issues related to stormwater and pollution.