October 5, 2018 - Today, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (Council) released its Draft State Expenditure Plan (SEP) for a 45-day public comment period. In a public meeting on March 7, 2018, the Council voted on projects to include in its “Bucket 3” plan. The Council recently adopted the Draft SEP which, once finalized, will be submitted to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for review and approval. The projects proposed in this plan are all located within the Gulf Coast Region and are consistent with the eligible criteria as stated in the RESTORE Act.
The Bayou La Batre/Mississippi Sound Draft Watershed Management Plan has been released for public comment. The comment period will end on October 15, 2018. All comments should be emailed to Christian Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Five-Year Update to Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Alabama’s Estuaries and Coast
Over 150 key stakeholders and decision makers to attend workshop guiding sound environmental management along the Alabama coast
Mobile, AL: The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and Executive Committee Co-Chair Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, will welcome federal, state, and local agencies, academia, industry, elected officials, and non-profits to a workshop to finalize a five-year update to Respect the Connect: A Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan 2013-2018. U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne will provide closing comments.
The-invitation only meeting will take place on Thursday, August 30, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, Al. The purpose of the gathering is to ensure that strategies for measuring estuary status and trends, restoring and protecting critical ecosystems, building community capacity, and expanding citizen stewardship resonate with the community, and are both achievable and science-based.
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will facilitate this consensus-building and collaborative decision-making process to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of Alabama’s estuarine systems. The workshop will consist of six sessions with roundtable discussions related to Access, Fish and Wildlife, Beaches and Shorelines, Heritage and Culture, Community Resilience, and Water Quality.
Dauphin Island Documentary Revealed as Official Selection of Sidewalk Film Festival
The Flight of the Frigate Bird to be screened with other Environmental Documentary Short Films
Birmingham, AL: The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) is pleased to announce the inclusion of The Flight of the Frigate Bird – An Omen of Rising Seas documentary as an official selection in the Environmental Shorts category at The Sidewalk Film Festival to be held later this month in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dauphin Island attracts visitors from across the country to experience the laid-back atmosphere, world-class birding, miles of open white beaches, and stunning sunsets. As large storms and rising seas threaten the future of the Island, The Flight of The Frigate Bird tells the stories of generations of Islanders who have adapted to the ever-changing landscape of barrier island life. Based on their experience, they knew to preserve the dunes, forests, and marshes because of the protection they provided from hurricanes and storm-surge. They also avoided building directly on the beach because of how vulnerable those areas were to storms and erosion.
As development boomed after a bridge was built to the Island in the 1950s, many of the tenants of islanders who had lived on the barrier island for generations were ignored Now the community is faced with daunting decisions about how to best adapt to an eroding shoreline, rising seas, and larger storms while protecting the whole tourism industry and the tax-base it provides.
Narrated by Shelby Lynne, the film features interviews with area residents, public officials, and scientists about the history of the Island, it’s current challenges and future.
Founded in 1995, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is a non-regulatory program tasked with promoting the wise stewardship of the water quality characteristics and living resource base of the Mobile Bay estuarine system by bringing together citizens; local, state, and federal government agencies; businesses and industries; conservation and environmental organizations; and academic institutions to meet the environmental challenges that face the unique and imperiled resources that characterize our coastal estuaries. MBNEP engages these groups in determining how to best treat the Bay, the associated coastal waters, and their surrounding watersheds to ensure their protection and conservation into the future.
Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter, Shelby Lynne, narrates the film. While currently living in Palm Springs, California, Lynne grew up near Dauphin Island and was quick to agree to be part of the project which features her single, “Alabama oh Alabama.”
In her Directorial debut Roberta Swann serves as the executive director of MBNEP but was also executive director on the mixed live action/animated kids films A Redfish Tale and A Redfish Tale 2: “Fish Slap.” The film was produced by videographer Ben Brenner of Cobia Digital who has worked on variety of short films and promotional pieces but is a newcomer to the documentary format.
The Sidewalk Film Festival is celebrating its 20th year in Downtown Birmingham and has been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the top 25 Festivals in the World and by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Festivals for the Rest of Us. Over 200 films are shown during the week-long event and is the premier festival for showcasing Alabama film-makers
The film will be screened at the First Church Birmingham on August 26th at 6:45pm for Sidewalk’s Environmental Shorts session sponsored by Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Tickets can be purchased at sidwalkfest.com
story reported by Fox10 News
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.