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DRAFT State Management Plan for Aquatic Nuisance Species in Alabama

 

DRAFT State Management Plan for Aquatic Nuisance Species in Alabama.pdf

Mon Louis Shoreline Stabilization Project

Mon Louis Island Habitat Creation/Shoreline Stabilization Project – Information for Bidders

At the Pre-Bid Meeting held at 0900 on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at the residence of Greg and Dottie Lawley, the following details were shared with potential bidders:

Bidders should provide two separate bids:

  1. Assuming that the quality and volume of ASPA sand are sufficient for project needs, bid should only include the cost of transporting 1,650 cubic yards of sand from the ASPA disposal site to the project site, and
  2. Provide a bid that includes independent procurement and transport of washed sand of sufficient grain size to the project site.

 

MBNEP has received funding through grants from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation Community-based Restoration Program and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Programs to undertake this project.  Project measures include installation of two 0.155-acre submerged rock reef structures to support oysters and other fishery resources and placement of clean sand fill behind four 40-foot rock headland breakwaters to stabilize chronic erosion.

 More information and the bid package in .pdf format is available by clicking the following link: Mon Louis Island Bid Package.pdf

Davis-Bacon Heavy Construction Wages in .pdf format click here.

 

! Estuary Fun For Kids !

Check Out this Website!

Meeting Minutes and Presentations

Executive Committee (EC)
Government Networks Committee (GNC)
Project Implementation Committee (PIC)
Community Action Committee (CAC)
Business Resources Committee (BRC)
Science Advisory Committee (SAC)

 

Joe’s Branch Restoration

Restoration has Begun!

In the Joe’s Branch watershed, on the property of Westminster Village adjacent and parallel to Highway 131, a head cut stream is eroding at an accelerating rate, an ominous condition as ALDOT prepares to undertake improvements to the highway.  Identified as a high priority stabilization area in the D’Olive Creek, Tiawasee Creek and Joe’s Branch Watershed  Management Plan, MBNEP has submitted a funding request to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management on behalf of its partners in Spanish Fort ,Daphne, ALDOT and Westminster Village to undertake restoration of the stream using a cutting-edge technology called Regenerative Step Pool Storm Conveyance.  This methodology involves filling the gully to flush with a mixture of sand and saw dust and installing a series of rock step pools down the length of the impacted stream to slow velocity and promote infiltration of the stormwater runoff underlying the stream degradation.  The proposed scope of work includes restoration of downstream wetlands impacted by sediments that resulted from the degradation of the stream banks.  It also includes utilization of upstream best management practices to decrease stormwater runoff within the Joe’s Branch Subwatershed. 

 

Archive

The Selection Committee who evaluated the eleven proposals individually and through open discussion included the following individuals:

Julie Batchelor Baldwin County Planning Department
Roberta Swann Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Marlon Cook Geological Survey of Alabama
Dr. Dennis DeVries Auburn University
Patric Harper U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Phillip Hinesley Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-Coastal Section
Patti Hurley Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Jennifer Jacobsen U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Heather Krantz Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Henry Lawson Lake Forest Property Owners Association
Mike McMillan City of Spanish Fort
Ashley Campbell City of Daphne (Non-Voting Position)

Clean Up the Bottom

 

 

On foot and in boats, hundreds of area residents and community volunteers joined together on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8 a. m. to CLEAN UP THE BOTTOM, the neighborhood adjacent to One and Three Mile Creeks near downtown Mobile.

And it was more than about filling up trash bags. Together, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, the City of Mobile, the MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corporation and Mobile Housing Board have aligned their interests. It was about making the connection that economic development and success in communities do not happen without a healthy environment. 

With the Three Mile Creek Watershed targeted for a major watershed management planning effort, this was the first of many neighborhood clean-ups envisioned to take place from downtown to West Mobile.  Event tee shirts with artwork by local artist A. C. Smith were provided to area residents, groups such as the Pacesetters and All Throttle Motorcycle Clubs, Faith Academy, Mobile Police Explorers, Progressive Black Firefighters Association of Mobile, Outward Bound, Alabama School of Math and Science who made a strong statement that trash is more than just a water quality problem.  It represents a lack of community pride that continues to hold our area back economically, socially and environmentally.  

Their support and attendance on this day underscored the positive action taking place and demonstrated that true civic pride is found by each of us taking ownership and responsibility for our community and its environment, not waiting for someone else to take care of our backyards for us.  

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and other partners BP, Bridgestone Tires, The City of Mobile, Coca-Cola, Keep Mobile Beautiful, Mobile Gas, Waste Management and the Southeastern Wildlife Conservation Group provided support for this event, bagging and removing trash from roadsides, dead-ends, and shorelines throughout the Bottom.  One thousand abandoned tires were removed, filling a 48-foot tractor trailer to capacity.  The event represented an evolution within the City of Mobile and a celebration of its cultural identity and unique and valued estuarine environment.

Models and Tools

info

Publications

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Links Pertaining to Climate Change

info

Estuary Issues

Content Here

DWH Oil Spill Related

This page contains a variety of informative links and reports detailing what MBNEP and our partners are doing to improve and protect water quality, living resources, habitats, and human uses in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Most Recent

Transocean Plea Agreement

BP Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster

The RESTORE Act and Additional Information

The RESTORE Act

A Guide to the RESTORE Act By Jyotika I. Virmani

The RESTORE Act Flow Chart and Bill Comparison

NRDA Related Links and Reports

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy

EPA Links and Reports

Coastal Recovery Commision Links and Reports

Other Great Links and Reports

Implementation Reviews

Land Use and Land Cover Changes

Mobile Bay is a critical ecologic and economic region in the Gulf of Mexico and to the entire country. Mobile Bay was designated as an estuary of “national significance” in 1996. This estuary receives the fourth largest freshwater inflow in the United States. It provides vital nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish species. It has exceptional aquatic and terrestrial bio‐diversity; however, its estuary health is influenced by changing LULC patterns, such as urbanization. Mobile and Baldwin counties have experienced a population growth of 1.1% and 20.5%, respectfully, from 2000‐2006.

Land‐use and land‐cover change can negatively impact Gulf coast water quality and ecological resources. The conversion of forest to urban cover types impacts the carbon cycle and increases the freshwater and sediment in coastal waters. Increased freshwater runoff decreases salinity and increases the turbidity of coastal waters, thus impacting the growth potential of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), which is critical nursing ground for many Gulf fish species. A survey of Mobile Bay SAV showed widespread decreases since the 1940s. Prior to our project, coastal environmental managers in Baldwin and Mobile counties needed more understanding of the historical LULC, and therefore to properly assess the impacts of increasing urbanization. In particular, more information on the location and extent of changing urbanization LULC patterns was needed to aid LULC planning and to assess predictions of future LULC patterns.

These videos courtesy of NASA Stennis Space Center, displays land‐use and land‐cover (LULC) changes in the coastal counties of Mobile and Baldwin, AL between 1974 and 2008.

Land Use and Land Cover Changes (1974-2008)

 

Funded by

NASA (Grant # NNX10AC57G)

 

 

 

Percent Impervious Surface Analysis (1974-2008)

 

 

Hydrodynamic Modeling of Mobile Bay by South Coast Engineers

A state-of-the-art numerical hydrodynamic model was used to evaluate the impact of a proposed headland pocket beach system on the tidal flows. This analysis was critically important because of the most productive oyster reefs in the state immediately offshore. The model results indicated that the proposed structures will not significantly influence the tidal flows at the oyster reefs. South Coast Engineers has designed the coastal engineering aspects of the proposed headland pocket beach system at this location to preserve the only sandy shoreline along the western side of Mobile Bay with public access. 

The basic simulation shown in each video is for a representative month (the first 8 days not shown in videos due to numerical spinup requirements) with typical tides and typical river inflows. The primary boundary conditions driving the estimates of tides and velocities shown are the tidal elevation at the circular arc shown in the Gulf of Mexico in the “Bay” level zoom and the river flows entering the bay from the north. It should be noted that there is a “neap” tide condition near day #20 of each simulation which is visible in the videos.

Velocities

Elevations

 
 

 

Related Online Resources

Turn your home into a Stormwater Pollution Solution  An EPA homeowner’s guide to healthy household habits for clean water.

Guide to Reducing Polluted Runoff in Coastal Alabama  An educational and practical guide to understanding and taking action to deal with this problem where we live.

AL Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control, and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas This is a great Alabama-specific resource for Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Especially for Kids Produced by the City of Oceanside (CA) Clean Water Program. Great information and great presentation!

Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center (SMRC) For stormwater practitioners, local government officials, and others that need technical assistance with stormwater issues.

Stormwater Authority.org A place to research best management practices and Alabama’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater management program.

-Back to Stormwater Information.

More Long Term Approaches

Keep stormwater on your property by employing these residential practices:

Use Rain Gutters to Channel Water to Porous Areas or Use Rain Barrels

 

Create Rain Gardens and Infiltration Swales

 

Use Alternatives to Impervious Surfaces

Whenever possible

use bricks, gravel, turf block (A), mulch, pervious concrete (B),

       Figure (A)                              Figure (B)

or other porous materials for sidewalks, driveways or patios. These (frequently cheaper!) materials allow rainwater to seep into the ground, helping to filter pollutants and reducing the amount of run-off from your yard.

Use wheel tracks, (C) in place of full width paved drives.

         Figure (C)

-Back to Stormwater Information.

Be a Green Homeowner!

Stormwater Runoff Management at Home

Residents on the Alabama coast are the first line of defense in protecting our coastal resources from the problems associated with polluted runoff.

Day-to-Day

In our day-to-day activities we can all help by following these guidelines:

-See More Long-Term Approaches to see what you can do to help prevent stormwater run-off.

-Back to Stormwater Information.

Growth’s Impacts to Water Quality

Increased Runoff

The amount of water that accumulates and the speed with which it travels cause flooding and erosion of stream and river banks, pouring sediment into our waters and damaging vegetation and wildlife habitats.

Increased Pollutant Load

Rapid development in Baldwin and Mobile Counties has resulted in increases in population and even greater increases in the area covered by impervious surfaces. This combination increases the amount and variety of pollutants carried into our streams, rivers, and bays, including: 

-Back to Stormwater Information.

Stormwater Information

Stormwater Runoff is a Big Problem

As subdivisions pop up along our rapidly developing coast, stormwater runoff becomes a big problem in our communities. What were once natural landscapes with porous surfaces that trapped rainwater, allowing it to seep, or infiltrate, into the ground, become covered with buildings, rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, streets, and parking lots.

Did you know that impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops cause a typical city block to produce more than five times as much runoff as a woodland area of the same size?

These hard, relatively smooth, impervious surfaces prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground and replenishing groundwater supplies. Instead, most of it remains above the land surface, where it collects and runs downhill over the smooth surfaces rapidly and in unnaturally large amounts towards streams, rivers, and the Bay.

Stormwater runoff causes flooding and erosion and carries pollutants like dirt, clay, oil, chemicals, pet waste, and fertilizers into our streams, rivers, and bays without any kind of treatment or purification.

Help Create a Clean Water Future for Alabama!

All of the things that make Coastal Alabama special – seafood-rich waters, beautiful natural habitats and a way of life built on Alabama’s waterways – depend on clean, pollution-free water in our creeks, streams, rivers and bays.

Create a Clean Water Future is a public service campaign to help Alabama residents learn more about stormwater runoff and its impacts; increase demand for stormwater management programs; and provide tools that empower individuals and communities to reduce polluted runoff in our waterways. By joining the Create a Clean Water Future campaign, you are helping protect the Alabama all of us want to pass on to future generations. Visit www.cleanwaterfuture.com for more information.

Maps

 

 

    Entire Bay Comparison              Southern bay Comparison            Mobile Bay Seagrass  

              (02-09)                                         (02-09)                              Population Area                            

    

-Back to Seagrasses page

Educational Materials

SAVing the Gulf: SAV Gardening, Education, Restoration, Protection (2006)

Seagrass Education Handbook from http://www.seagrasswatch.org

Seagrass Habitat Document from http://gulfsci.usgs.gov/

  

 

-Back to Seagrasses page

Publications

-Back to Seagrasses page

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation


Seagrass beds, also known as submerged aquatic vegetation or SAV, are considered a foundation of coastal and estuarine ecosystems in the Northern Gulf Region. These highly productive marine plant communities provide valuable habitat and perform important ecosystem services in the waters that they populate. 

Seagrasses contribute significant value by providing several critical ecosystem services in the Northern Gulf Region. While there is no single estimate of the value of seagrasses in the region, several attributes demonstrate the importance of this habitat to both the aquatic ecosystem and to the local economy.  Seagrass beds support important recreational and commercial fisheries critical to the economic and social well-being of the region.  Finfish and shellfish use the beds as nursery habitat for rearing juveniles and foraging habitat for adults.  They improve water quality by adding oxygen to the water column and filtering nutrients and contaminants from it.  They stabilize sediments and reduce coastal erosion by baffling energy from waves and currents.   

Mobile Bay, designated a National Estuary by the Environmental Protection Agency, receives the waters of the Mobile Basin, the sixth largest watershed in the United States. Decreases in seagrass acreage have been reported in coastal Alabama, but, as of now, there has been no investigation into the specific causes that underlie these losses. The large declines in SAV coverage in Mobile Bay estuarine waters have been generally attributed to tropical weather activity, dredging, prop scarring, and turbidity in coastal waters related to land development practices that increase suspended sediments.

Rapid development of coastal communities for residential and commercial purposes can cause harmful habitat changes to SAV communities. Beyond increasing nutrient loading, increased development is often accompanied by shoreline armoring that effectively diminishes critical shallow-water habitat. Examples include the construction of seawalls, breakwaters, revetments, groins, and jetties.  Each of these structures, aimed at protecting coastal property, refracts energy away from the shore, and can cause erosion and increase currents that disrupt SAV settlement.

Development converts natural landscape to increased impervious surface which increases the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff, especially in a region that receives over five feet of rain per year on average.  One result is streambank erosion, an upland problem that delivers plumes of sediment into coastal waters.  This is one more source of light-blocking turbidity which, along with nutrient-stimulated algal blooms and refracted wave energy from shoreline armoring, blocks the sunlight necessary to sustain SAV.

MBNEP has partnered with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Lands Division, to monitor SAV coverage in the Mobile Bay estuary.  SAV coverage in Mobile Bay and adjacent waters was first mapped in 2002.  In 2005, that distribution was compared to historical aerial photography to determine that SAV acreage was, in fact, diminishing.  SAV coverage was again mapped in 2008 and 2009, over a single-year duration, revealing a net loss of an additional 1,300 acres.

Successful restoration of SAV is generally dependent upon improving water quality and reducing turbidity.  Regulations controlling nutrient loading in southwest Florida have resulted in decreased concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in coastal waters, decreased algal blooms, increased water clarity, and increases in SAV coverage.  

Coastal Alabama Community Attitudes Assesment

View the full document here.

WHAT ALABAMIANS VALUE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND 

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PROTECT IT

Coastal Connections:  Estuary Reflection

Fall Issue, 2011

 

Last summer, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program hired Research Strategies, Inc. to undertake a Coastal Alabama Community Attitudes Assessment to provide insight into what stakeholders consider the most pressing environmental challenges.   Five hundred and fifty respondents answered a series of questions related to environmental values, quality of life factors, economic contributions and impacts, and major issues of concern.  This assessment will be used to craft a series of community meetings over the coming months, as we seek input to guide the next iteration of the Mobile Bay Estuary Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan.

 

Questions were posed to randomly selected individuals aged18-74 who were heads of households and had lived in their residence for at least two years within residential zip codes of Mobile and Baldwin Counties.  The average age of respondents was 53.48 years with average household annual income of $53,000and average households of 2.44 individuals.  Forty five percent were employed full time, 29%were retired and eight percent were unemployed.  The random sampling methodology used indicated that 46% of the respondents live within 6 blocks or less from a seashore, bay, bayou other waterway.

 

Of those interviewed lifestyle indicators show that Mobile County residents have a higher tendency for recreational fishing, while Baldwin County residents enjoy boating and water sports.  However, Baldwin County residents regard “tourism” and “recreational fishing” as the leading economic generators impacting their quality of life.  In Mobile County, “recreational and commercial fishing” are the two strongest economic generators contributing to their quality of life.

 

When asked which was more important - the environment or economic growth - 61% recognized the need for balance between environmental protection and economic growth, versus 26% who though the environment was more important and 13.27 % who thought that economic growth should come first.  Breaking this data down, Baldwin County residents favored environmental protection 12% more than Mobile County residents, and, as might be expected, those living within six blocks of a water body gave higher priority to the environment by 13%.

 

Most of Mobile and Baldwin County residents have mixed feelings about Sea Level Rise.  Over 60% believe to some degree that Sea Level Rise is real versus approximately 40% who did not.  Mobile County residents and residents living within six blocks of a waterway have a slightly stronger belief that sea level is rising.

 

Can you say es-cho-aree?  Of Baldwin County residents interviewed, 49% understood what an estuary was.  Only 37% of Mobile County residents demonstrated a correct understanding.  However, a review of the qualitative answers provided indicates that many interviewed had some understanding of what estuaries provide, including answers such as, “where fish hatch their eggs,” “where small fish and crabs grow up to be adults,” “where we raise little fish,” and “where water systems converge.”

 

On a scale of one to five, with five being most important, respondents scored the economic importance of Mobile Bay to the State of Alabama at 4.62, with residents from Baldwin County residents rating its importance 7.79% higher than those from Mobile County.  When asked how they viewed the overall health of the bay, (one = poor to five = excellent), Baldwin County residents scored it lower (2.99) than Mobile County respondents (3.18).  However, both indicated that the Bay’s health at about average.

 

Interestingly, when asked about the overall quality of life in their specific county, Mobile County residents rated their quality of life 5.67% better than Baldwin County residents, with a combined average of 4.22.  Residents living within six blocks of a waterway indicated slightly higher quality of life (4.40).

 

Resoundingly, the feature having the most positive impact on quality of life in and around Mobile Bay is “fishing or fisheries habitats” (50%) with those living within six blocks of a waterway rating that slightly higher (52%).  “Beaches and waterfront” (23%) rated second and was valued 12.84% higher by those living greater than six blocks from a waterway.

 

An overwhelming 34% rated “pollutants from industry” as the number one environmental problem having impacting Mobile Bay and its estuaries, followed by “trash” and “septic failures and sanitary sewer overflows.”  However, when asked to compare their answer to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill regarding which would have a more long-term effect on the environmental quality of Mobile Bay, 57% rated the oil spill as having a greater long-term effect.  In retrospect, it appears that the answer to this question may have been skewed by the events unfolding last summer, as these interviews were taking place.  Within the different problem categories, Baldwin County respondents rated “flooding and erosion” (15%) and “septic failures and sanitary sewer overflows” (22. %) as more serious problems than Mobile County respondents (10% and 13% respectively).

 

In a related question, 33% of respondents believe that among  infrastructure projects “coastal building and industrial development” had the greatest impact on the quality of our estuarine system.

  

 

This research was undertaken in part to gauge how the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program could target activities to address community environmental concerns in the coming years.  Although respondents felt that Industry was the biggest environmental polluter, they felt that the two most important issues to address are ”trash, pesticides, urban residue” and “water clarity.”  Interestingly, these issues all relate in part to how stormwater runoff is (or isn’t) managed and reflects the stress that stormwater is putting not only on area aesthetic values but also on ecosystem health.  Note that the third most important issue is public outreach and education,- a key directive for the Program in terms of moving towards a “tipping point” for changing behaviors. 

 

 

Overall, the Community Attitudes Assessment provided a valuable community perspective of what the perceived environmental issues are at this point in time.  The data found in this report will be used to frame a new Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan that integrates environmental protections into planning for community growth so that what the community values most about our coastal environment is conserved into perpetuity.  Our goal in developing the priorities for this next plan is that each objective resonates with the community, is achievable and realistic, is based in science, and, above all, contributes to the long-term viability of the coastal ecosystems that underlie our quality of life.

Orange Beach

Orange Beach Highway 161 Wetland Restoration

PURPOSE

The objective of  this project is to alter the contours of the east Highway 161 Right-of-Way to create a serpentine wetland system out of the current system of uplands/wetlands occurring along this section of five-lane highway right-of-way. The area to be physically altered is approximately one (1) acre, but the anticipated effect on the recieving waters of Cotton Bayou would be greatly improved water quality inputs (removal of heavy metals, nutrients, etc.) through greater scrubbing, biological treatment, on and offline treatment, aeration, increased retention/detention times, and controlled release rates. Additionally, ample oppoutunities for public outreach and education along this project area are significant, as the project area encompasses a well-established pedestrian and biking trail. The project area is highly visible from the well-travelled Highway 161 corridor, which during the summer season, is travelled by approximately 15,000 vehicle trips, daily.

Canal Road Overlay District

PURPOSE

The purpose of this project is to develop an overlay district for Canal Road that will implement coastal planning through the promotion of low impact development. Canal Road is a major arterial corridor providing east/west connectivity and access to Foley Beach Express, Gulf Shores, and numerous businesses. During the City's explosive growth of the last decade, traffic along the two-lane road has increased prompting the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to begin plans to increase the roads capacity through the construction of a five-lane undivided roadway. Although the proposed five-lane undivided highway will meet traffic needs, it will fall short of implementing sound coastal planning. This project seeks to create an overlay district that improves traffic efficiency while still protecting the coastal environment, utilizing low impact design, incorporating "green features", and making it pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Foley

Wolf Creek Restoration

PURPOSE

This project is designed to improve watershed functions through a holistic watershed restoration project that includes stream and floodplain restoration and stormwater management in a degraded stream system. Wolf Creek exhibits urban land use impacts characterized by elevated nutrients, sedimentation increased hydrologic flashiness, altered morphology and a shift to less species richness and tolerant biotic assemblages. Historical and current land uses have impacted the stream integrity of Wolf Creek. The channel was straightened decreasing sinuosity and is deeply incised with little to no access to the historical flood plain contributing to poor habitat diversity. This project will implement a natural stream channel design and floodplain restoration project from construction to completion.

Daphne

Daphne Low Impact Development Program

PURPOSE

The purpose of this project is to develop a program which will initiate and encourage the use of low impact development practices, green infrastructure (LID/GI) and incentives for the City of Daphne. These practices will be used to supplement the City Subdivision Regulations and to provide alternatives to traditional stormwater management practices.

The City of Daphne has long been concerned about stormwater management, especially in regards to the impaired drainage basins of D'Olive Creek, the Unnamed Tributary of D'Olive Creek, Yancey Branch, and Joe's Branch. In 2010 the City collaborated with other local municipalities and local government agencies in developing a Watershed Management Plan for D'Olive Watershed. Several critical coastal issues were identified in the Plan: one was the need to "reduce outgoing sediment loads into D'Olive Bay and Mobile Bay estuary." Also identified in the Plan was a way to accomplish that goal- "to develop smart growth concepts for new development and re-developments using LID/Gi techniques."  We anticipate that program implementation will reduce outgoing sediment loads, improve water quality, reduce runoff volume, and mitigate future impacts of development in the watershed. Lasting and sustainable benefits of this project will be a restored coastal habitat and significantly reduced pollutant loading of the bay. An additional benefit will be the availability of a model ordinance for low impact development and green infrastructure regulations and incentives that could be used by other municipalities within Mobile Bay and Baldwin County.

City of Daphne Low Impact Development Policies

Fairhope

Volanta Watershed Planning and Stormwater Improvements

PURPOSE

The purpose of this project is to study the Volanta Gulley Watershed in the City of Fairhope and develop and implement low impact stormwater management projects and practices throughout. Fairhope's increase in population over the past decade, combined with an average rainfall of over sixty-five inches per year, results inincreased nonpoint source pollution in the nearby creeks and streams which empty into Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The solution is to create stormwater management projects and practices that allieviate this problem.

Volanta Gully Watershed Management Plan
Volanta Gully Watershed Phase I Drainage Restoration Projects
Fairhope Gullies Article

Fairhope’s Gullies are natural resources of historical and biological significance to the community.

They suffer from exotic invasive plants, increased storm water flow, and erosion.  

Accomplishments

Starting in 2004, MBNEP began to catalog actions that had been taken by the various members of the management conference to implement the CCMP.  This catalog evolved into an online database organized by objective area:  Water Quality, Living Resources, Habitat Management, Human Uses, and Education and Public Involvement.  Please note:  This database is a work in progress, and has not been updated since 2006.  We will continue to develop this and encourage other management conference members to assist in providing information activities to build this inventory of community environmental accomplishments. 

 

Visit 2002-2012 CCMP Database

Workplans

Each year, the MBNEP prepares a Work Plan that includes activities that will be undertaken in the following 12 months to implement the CCMP.  Links to the current and past work plans can be found below. 

 

 

Getting to a New CCMP (2013-2018)

Draft CCMP for Comment

Take Survey to Prioritize CCMP Actions

Developing 2013 - 2018 Strategies (Happening Now!)

Overview

The Many Ingredients of the CCMP Pie (.pdf see more)

Situation Assessment for Six Things People Value about living in Coastal Alabama

  1. Access
    2001 Access Points
  2. Beaches
    Shoreline Change Rates.pdf (1996-2008)
  3. Fish
    A Survey of Alabama's Coastal Rivers and Streams for Fish of Conservation Concern
  4. Heritage and Culture
    Alabama Coastal Connection Corridor Management Plan
  5. Resilience (Environmental Health)
    A Community Resilience Index
  6. Water Quality
    Stormwater Perspectives Report
    Stormwater Perspectives Input

The Landscape

Assessing Areas for Restoration and Conservation

Citizen Input

Citizen Input Comments from Community Meetings Coastal Alabama Community Attitudes Assesment GIS Based Value Assesment

The Science

Assessing Impacts of 13 Stressors on Our Coastal Environment

(Values highlighted in yellow or blue indicate stress)

Lessons learned from the last CCMP

A Review of 2002 CCMP Implementation Recomendations for Consideration in the Next CCMP

Reference

The Alabama Water Agenda (pdf 2011 see more)

Eight Mile Creek Watershed

Check out the Eight-Mile Creek Watershed final plan by clicking here.

 

Watershed management planning fosters the coordinated implementation of programs to control point source discharges, reduce polluted runoff, and protect drinking water, as well as identify sensitive natural resources. The Eightmile Creek Watershed Plan moves toward this goal by recommending educational strategies and supporting existing programs that serve to reduce non-point source pollution.

It is the goal of this Plan to make recommendations necessary to bring all water quality parameters within State water quality standards for Fish & Wildlife as identified in Chapter 335-6-10 of the Alabama Code. The overall goal of these efforts is to identify and implement strategies that will lead to the necessary load reductions as determined by ADEM in the TMDL (72% reduction in pathogens for Eightmile Creek, and a pathogen reduction of 78% for the Gum Tree Branch).  This Plan seeks to implement environmentally protective and economically realistic best management practices (BMPs), where practical and technologically feasible, in order to meet or exceed water quality standards. BMP types and numbers prescribed in this plan are recommendations based on current land use practices, land cover, and watershed activities. Voluntary, incentive-based approaches will be used to implement BMPs throughout the watershed. Providing opportunities for local stakeholder input and participation will continue to be a critical BMP implementation component. 

This plan was developed to address EPA’s nine key elements for watershed management plans. Compliance with these requirements within this document is noted below. These requirements include:

1. (a) An identification of the causes and sources or groups of similar sources that will need to be controlled to achieve load reductions estimated in the watershed based protection plan.

1. (b) Sources that need to be controlled should be identified at the significant subcategory level with estimates of the extent to which they are present in the watershed.  

2. Estimate of load reductions expected for the management measures described. 

3. A description of the nonpoint source management measures that will need to be implemented to achieve load reductions, and a description of the critical areas in which those measures will be needed to be implemented. 

4. An estimate of the amounts of technical and financial assistance needed, associated costs, and/or the sources and authorities that will be relied upon, to implement the plan. 

5. An information and education component used to enhance public understanding of the project and encourage their early and continued participation in selecting, designing, and implementing the nonpoint source management measures that will be implemented. 

6. A schedule for implementing the NPS management measures identified in the plan that is reasonable and expeditious. 

7. A description of interim measurable milestones for determining whether nonpoint source management measures or other control actions are being implemented. 

8. A set of criteria that can be used to determine whether pollutant loading reductions are being achieved over time and substantial progress is being made towards attaining water quality standards and, if not, the criteria for determining whether the watershed management plan needs to be revised.

9. A monitoring component to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation efforts over time, measured against the criteria established under item (8).

Local Restoration Projects

Communities throughout Mobile and Baldwin Counties continue to struggle with the impacts of increasing amounts of impervious surface.  Two major challenges are the management of stormwater and  sediments.  MBNEP will provide funding to local municipalities, counties, and grassroots groups to undertake ecosystem restoration projects with priority given to stormwater and sediment management projects.  A third priority will include wetland function or coverage improvements.  This third priority is in response to two current stressors to our ecosystem:  the Deepwater Horizon Incident and climate change.  Funding recipients will be encouraged to engage community residents in the restoration project to foster environmental stewardship and enhance community sustainability with the aim of restoring vital ecosystem components and increasing broader-scale functionality and health. 

In 2010, MBNEP initiated the Local Restoration Partnership Program, providing grants to local public government entities  to undertake projects that address wetlands restoration, stormwater Runoff, or sediment management measures.  Five projects were funded in the first round:

City of Chickasaw, $20,000.00 to support wetlands restoration at Brooks Park. 

 

City of Daphne,$15,000 to initiate the use of low impact development and green infrastructure practices and incentives for the City and to recommend policy and subdivision regulations changes.

 

City of Fairhope, $50,000 to prepare a Volanta Gulley Watershed Management Plan and at least two related stormwater management projects.

 

City of Foley, $82,500 to restore Wolf Creek to its natural channel design, reversing impacts to this section of Wolf Creek caused by stormwater runoff.

 

City of Orange Beach, $27,500.00 to enhance wetlands along Highway 161 to water quality in Cotton Bayou, and $30,000 to develop a Canal Road Overlay District to minimize paved surfaces and promote infiltration, while expanding bicycling and walkability. 

Three Mile Creek

Watershed Planning in Progress

Kick Off Meeting of Steering, Technical, and Engagement Committees

Three Mile Creek Pre-Submittal Conference

Three Mile Creek is a small, tidally-influenced stream that flows through the City of Mobile, originating in headwaters near the University of South Alabama and flowing 14 miles east to its confluence with the Mobile River.  Its total drainage area of 29 square miles, including portions of five of the City’s seven Council Districts and all three Mobile County Commission Districts, is largely urbanized, but its lower reaches flow through habitat-rich wooded wetlands.  It drops an average of 26 feet per mile over its upper six miles, slowed by engineered sets of weirs, but flattens over its lower eight miles.  Three Mile Creek is designated only for Agricultural and Industrial use by ADEM, yet it is still listed as impaired on the State 303(d) list for “pathogens,” bacteria related to human and animal waste.  Urban development and decaying sewer infrastructure have led to increased incidences of sanitary sewer overflows throughout this narrow watershed.  Mid-twentieth century channelization and resulting hydrological modification, trash delivered off city streets by stormwater, and increasing presence of invasive species have also contributed to degradation.

This creek and its surrounding watershed present an extraordinary opportunity to turn what is now a community liability, due to its degraded condition, into a community amenity similar to “river walks” in other cities.  By restoring the hydrology and water quality of this historic cultural and environmental resource, property values within its watershed would be enhanced, Three Mile Creek would become a unique urban ecotourism destination, and area economic development prospects would be improved.  The watershed planning process is currently getting under way.

Consultant Selection

Consultant Team Selection Committee

Pre-Submittal Conference Sign-in

Three Mile Creek RFQ Frequently Asked Questions

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONSLast updated 11/07/2012.

Click on the images below to dowload the "Three Mile Creek Vision" and "Three Mile Creek Planning Packet" powerpoint presentations.

Three Mile Creek Vision Three Mile Creek Planning

Three Mile Creek Vision

Three Mile Creek Planning Packet

For more Clean Up The Bottom information click here.

What We Do

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is a voluntary, non-regulatory program bringing together citizens, government agencies, business/industry, conservation and environmental organizations, and academic institutions to promote a community and culturally-based approach to watershed management: working together to address the environmental issues outlined in the CCMP.

The Program works with scientists, public agencies, and experts to assess water quality, living resource abundance, the rate of habitat loss and conservation, and the ability of communities to grow while maintaining environmental health.

These assessments have aided in developing:

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program acts as a catalyst for action by “putting the pieces together”, that is, bringing a diverse array of stakeholders to the table to address many ongoing environmental issues including but not limited to:

Management Conference

The Mobile Bay NEP Management Conference consists of four consituent committees: Community Action Committee, Community Resources Committee, Government Networks Committee, and Project Implementation Committee; a Science Advisory Committee of experts from the various scientific disciplines who provide insights and a sound basis to be used by the other committees in their decision making processes; a Finance Committee that advises on raising the non-federal matching dollars to implement activities of the CCMP; and an Executive Committee – made up of representatives from each of the four main committees, EPA, the Science Advisory Committee, the Finance Committee  and three at-large members – that develops policies on issues and funding, reviews/approves work plans and budgets, evaluates the performance of the Director, and sets financial goals for non-federal share. 

A key principle of the Management Conference is to coordinate and cooperate with other ongoing resource management activities to avoid unnecessary duplication.  In this regard, the program office plays a major role in coordinating estuary projects and outreach activities, thus providing a more far–reaching benefit than that of simply CCMP project management. 

Executive Committee (active):  The purpose of this committee is to provide general guidance, direction and support for the program.  The Committee develops policies on issues and funding; Reviews/Approves work plans; sets financial goals for non-federal share obligation required to match EPA funds received (Finance Committee); and provides a platform for vetting emerging environmental issues from a variety of perspectives. 

Government Networks Committee (active):    The purpose of this committee is to bring State Agency Heads and regional government administrators together with local officials of the target area to more effectively communicate local needs/understand agency functions.  

Business Resources Committee (active):  The purpose of this committee is to bring together a balance of interested community leaders from industry, business, environmental services, and the non-profit sector to identify ways of balancing different sector needs and identifying commonalities among sectors; and to identify coastal issues that impact their interests.

Project Implementation Committee (active):  The purpose of this committee is to bring together resource management agencies and organizations to undertake environmental restoration and education projects.  In the past year, the “PIC” began to hold joint meetings with the Coastal Alabama Clean Water Partnership to align efforts.

Community Action Committee (active):  The purpose of this committee is to bring together grassroots organizations for networking, information sharing, issues development, and cooperative training purposes that support the development of grassroots capacity for undertaking environmental activities on a place based scale.  

Science Advisory Committee (active):  The purpose of this committee is to provide guidance on priority setting by the program based on scientific understanding of the issues and to recommend necessary monitoring and research activities to inform the development of status and trends of the estuarine environment.

Finance Committee (active):   The purpose of this committee is to develop local ownership, responsibility, and partnerships for investing in the long term conservation and protection of coastal Alabama's estuarine resources by establishing an investment program that mixes State, local, and private sources to exceed the non-federal share requirements of the EPA grant as well as other external funding awards. 

The Watershed

The Mobile Bay Watershed - Map

A watershed is defined as the area of land that drains to one particular stream or water body.  Each stream has its own watershed. Topography is the key element determining this area of land. The boundary of a watershed is defined by the highest elevations that surround the stream. A drop of water that falls outside of that boundary will drain to a different watershed.

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross city, county, state, and national boundaries. Large watersheds are made up of many smaller sub-watersheds.  In the continental U. S., there are 2,110 watersheds large enough to be “coded” by the U. S. Geological Survey; and if Hawaii Alaska, and Puerto Rico are included, there are 2,267. 

The Mobile Bay watershed covers approximately 65% of the state of Alabama and portions of Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. Serving as a drainage system for 43,662 square miles, the Mobile Bay watershed is the sixth largest in the nation by area and at 62,000 cubic feet per second on average it has the fourth largest freshwater inflow on the North American continent. 

The Coast

Geology. Coastal Alabama has four physiographic subdivisions.  The southern pine hills comprise the portions of eastern and western coastal Alabama with elevated or rolling topography. The alluvial plain, deltaic plain, and coastal lowlands are relatively flat.  Coastal lowlands are adjacent to Mississippi Sound, and extend along margins of Mobile, Bon Secour, and Perdido Bays. Alluvial and deltaic plains extend northward along the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers. The coastal boundaries of these relatively shallow bays are defined by various barrier islands and spits. The Mississippi-Alabama shelf is a triangular area seaward of the barrier islands that extends from the Mississippi River Delta to the De Soto Canyon.

Coastal and offshore Alabama overlie sediments that range from pre-Jurassic to Holocene. These rock units are possibly more than 7,620 m (25,000 ft) thick at the coast and decrease southward by 1.9 to 9.4 m/km (10-50 ft/mi). The topography and sedimentation of the coastal and continental shelf result from tidal and current movements, as well as river discharge and delta formation and destruction.

The prominent structural geological features along coastal Alabama include the peripheral faults, Mobile graben, the Citronelle domal anticline, and the Wiggins uplift.  Tectonic hazards are not a problem in coastal Alabama because there are no known active faults.

Oil and gas production is well established in coastal Alabama with developed fields at Citronelle, Chunchula, Hatter's Pond, and South Carlton. There is a high potential for future gas and oil production.

Coastal Alabama has a dynamic hydrologic system with the focal point of the system being the Mobile River and Mobile Bay into which it flows. Average yearly (freshwater) discharge from this system into the Gulf of Mexico is 50 billion cubic meters(12 mi3). Flooding is perhaps the worst natural hazard affecting coastal Alabama and may result from storm surges and heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes and other tropical storms. Flood discharge has a pronounced effect on inland and estuarine water salinity and coastal sedimentation.

Ecology.  According to NatureServe, Alabama boasts the fifth highest species diversity among the fifty states and the highest of any state west of the Mississippi River.  However, Alabama ranks second, following only Hawaii, in the number of species that are presumed or possibly extinct and fourth in the percentage of a state’s plants and animals that are at risk of extinction due to rarity or other factors.

Ecosystems may be classified according to the physical environment or dominant type of species present.  Different habitats are commonly considered ecosystems, but many or most could more accurately be considered components of larger ecosystems.  In coastal Alabama, local scientists and resource managers have identified habitats critical to sustain the species diversity along the coast, including: beaches and dunes, oyster reefs, SAV, intertidal marshes and flats, freshwater wetlands, maritime forests, pine savannahs, and long leaf pine forests.

Beaches and dunes drive the economic engine that fuels the economies of the coastal region and the State.  They also provide habitat for many shorebirds and other sensitive species and some level of protection for inland buildings.  The main threat to the dune habitat is coastal development, but foot traffic and loose pets are also significant stressors.

SAV (Submerged Aquatic Vegetation) is commonly considered the “hallmark of a healthy estuary,” due to roles as nursery habitat and refuge for fish and shellfish, nutrient absorption, oxygen provision, and sediment stabilization.  Distribution of SAV has declined dramatically in coastal Alabama over the last 60 years.  Only 31% of acreage documented in 1940, 1955, and 1966 in the MBNEP study area appeared in 2002 imagery.  While some local increases were noted in 2008 and 2009, an additional 1,300 acres were lost over that six- to seven-year period.  Stressors include sedimentation from stream bank erosion and dredging, nutrient over-enrichment, scarring from boat propellers and even pressures related to selective fishery harvest.

Wetlands, whether freshwater or salt marsh, provide a host of valuable ecosystem services, including providing complex habitats that support a diversity of species, filtration of nutrients and pollutants, shoreline and sediment stabilization, and protection of upland areas from flooding and storm energy.  Gulf coast wetland loss (and especially that of the state of Louisiana) has been far more dramatic than in other American coastal watersheds.  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that over half of Gulf wetlands were lost between 1780 and 1980, and almost 400,000 acres of freshwater wetlands disappeared from Gulf watersheds between 1998 and 2004.  Over the last four decades, Alabama has experienced wetlands loss at four times the national average.  While significant loss is attributed to hurricanes, storms, saltwater intrusion, and sea level rise, human activities such as construction and development, installation of oil and gas infrastructure, and logging have also contributed to this problem.

Locally, the decline of oyster reef habitat has been related to climate influences.  Persistent drought conditions and increased seawater flow through the Katrina-generated cut in Dauphin Island have increased the salinity of existing oyster habitat, providing conditions favorable for oyster drills, which have decimated the oyster fishery.  Like SAV and salt marshes, oyster reefs provide exceptionally complex habitat that provides food and refuge for a diversity of species.  Since each oyster is capable of filtering over a gallon of water an hour, they contribute to improving water quality, especially when populations are healthy.

Like previously mentioned aquatic habitats, maritime forests, pine savannahs, and long leaf pine forests support the diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, and other upland wildlife species which contribute to our state’s exceptional biodiversity and our outdoor-centered quality of life.  Development pressures and fire suppression are examples of the human-related stressors that have fragmented and eliminated much of these productive habitats.  Long leaf pine forests covered 90 million acres of the American southeast when Europeans settled the land.  Less than five percent still exists, supporting species diversity that rivals the most productive of earth’s ecosystems, including threatened and endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, gopher tortoise, and many rare plants.

The Estuary

Estuary (ĕs’chū-ĕr’ē) – a partially enclosed coastal body of water, having an open connection with the ocean, where freshwater from inland is mixed with saltwater from the sea. Estuaries represent some of the most sensitive and ecologically important habitats on earth. They provide sanctuary for many species of waterfowl, store nutrients for larval and juvenile marine life, and serve as breeding grounds for many desirable species of marine life. Since estuaries commonly provide excellent harbors, most of the large ports in the United States (New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Mobile, Galveston, Seattle, and San Francisco) are located in estuaries. However, the development of high-density population centers causes deleterious effects that can destroy the very properties of the estuary that made development of the region possible. Human impact on estuaries includes reclamation of tidal land by filling; pollution from sewage, solid waste, industrial effluent; increased sedimentation in the estuary; and alteration of the salinity of estuarine waters by withdrawal or increased influx of freshwater.

More simply stated, an estuary is where freshwater from rivers mixes with salt water from the sea.

Alabama’s estuaries are considered environmentally and economically important because of their exceptional biological diversity and productivity. These estuaries, where the fresh water from several rivers meets the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico, support both fresh and saltwater species and serve as nursery habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish.

The Mobile Bay Estuary includes waters within Baldwin and Mobile Counties and Mobile Bay.  This estuary is greatly affected by upstream waters that flow into it from the expansive Mobile Bay Watershed.  Other coastal estuaries in and near Alabama include Mississippi Sound westward to the Alabama-Mississippi State Line, Perdido Bay, and their tributaries.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program service area includes all of Mobile and Baldwin Counties, as well as Alabama State marine waters in the north central Gulf of Mexico, extending three miles south of Dauphin Island and the Fort Morgan Peninsula . (As displayed to the right)

The Bay

Mobile Bay’s average depth is only about 10 feet, which is among the most-shallow for a bay of its size. It is approximately 32 miles “tall” (north to south), 23 miles across at its widest point, and about 10 miles across at the City of Mobile. A combination of wind and tide delivers salty Gulf waters from the south into the Bay that mix with varying amounts of freshwater from the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. Due to the shallow nature of the bay, dynamic climatic conditions, and man-made hydrologic modifications, salinity conditions in the Bay are remarkably variable.

Several factors contribute to the dynamic salinity conditions that characterize Mobile Bay.  Summer thunderstorms and winter cold fronts produce heavy downpours that contribute to an average of about 66 inches of rainfall annually – the highest average nationally for a city the size of Mobile – along with a relatively high frequency of tropical cyclone landfalls. Consequently river flows are naturally highly variable.  The Bay is influenced by a single daily or “diurnal” tidal cycle with tide changes that average a little less than a foot and a half and maximum changes exceeding two and a half feet. The resulting hydrology is dynamic, complex, and necessary to support the diversity of plant and animals found in and around the Bay.

The Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA), established in 1928 as a State governmental agency, operates the deepwater port facilities in Mobile Bay. The port complex includes facilities for handling general cargo, such as containers, forest products, and metals, as well as liquid bulk and dry bulk cargo, such as chemicals, coal, iron ore, and steel. The port complex features more than four million square feet of warehouse space and open yards and almost 40 berths for ships.  A 75-mile rail line links Port of Mobile facilities and provides connections to major freight railroads.  In 2009 the port of Mobile ranked 14th(out of 68 ports) in the U. S. in total foreign trade and 12thin total domestic trade.

A little bit of History....Apparently, Spanish explorers sailed in the area of Mobile Bay as early as 1500, as the Bay was marked on early Spanish maps as Bahia del Espiritu Sancto (the Bay of the Holy Spirit).  Just 27 years after Christopher Columbus first introduced America to the western world, Admiral Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, became the first European to sail into the waters of Mobile Bay in 1519.  It would be another twenty years before another European would actually take a step in today’s Alabama.

Between 1539 and 1541, the well-known explorer and marauder Hernando de Soto explored the area and encountered and destroyed a fortified Mobile Indian town of Mauvila, from which modern Mobile derives its name.  This battle with Chief Tuskaloosa and his warriors took place somewhere north of present-day Mobile.  While Tuskaloosa himself was neither killed nor captured, virtually all of the inhabitants of Mauvila were killed.  The first white colonists in Alabama landed on the shores of Mobile Bay in 1559 under the leadership of Tristán de Luna y Arellano following a hurricane that destroyed most of their ships and much of their Pensacola Bay colony.

A Canadian born Frenchman, Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur dIberville would be the first European to leave a considerable mark on the history of Mobile. In the late 1600s the French government was laying plans to settle and therefore claim the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Spanish, upon learning of plans for a permanent French settlement on the Gulf, quickly scrambled to occupy Pensacola Bay in 1698, denying the French port facilities there.  After Iberville’s first reconnaissance for a Mississippi settlement in 1699, he returned to the Gulf and began the establishment of warehouses and port facilities on Mobile Bay’s Dauphin Island because of the presence of a deep water harbor (Pelican Bay) and the strategic importance of slowing the Spanish and English march across the eastern frontier towards the Mississippi River.  They named the island, “Massacre Island” because of the presence of some sixty skeletons that were found when they landed there.  By 1701, Dauphin Island had become an important military post of the growing French colony of Louisiana, and Iberville’s brother, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur d’Bienville, succeeded him as Governor of Louisiana (the first of three such tenures).  

Upon Iberville’s recommendation, Bienville established the first “Mobile settlement” and the capital of French Louisiana in 1702 at a site upstream from Mobile Bay along the Tensaw River at 27-Mile Bluff. The settlement was built in proximity to Mobile Indian villages , and the fort that was its center was called Fort Louis de la Louisiane de Mobile (for their Grand Monarch and employer, King Louis the XIV).  One purpose of locating that original settlement 26 miles upriver was to encourage settlement along the river.  Topography was also a consideration, since there were no bluffs considered adequate at the river’s mouth. Within two years, in 1704, Fort Louis was the center of the French plans in the region.  There were 80 houses in the town and a population of 259.  This location allowed better access to the interior but unfortunately was susceptible to unpredictable and frequent flooding.

The town was relocated to the mouth of the Mobile River in 1711.  There were several reasons for the move, including frequent flooding, outbreaks of disease, difficultiesproviding adequate defenses for the port at Dauphin Island, and to facilitate better communication and commerce with ocean vessels.  A new fort, called Fort Conde after the King’s cousin, was established, and the town that grew around it evolved into present day MobileTwo books were recommended by Research Historian Charles Torrey of the Museum of Mobile for detailed histories of colonial Mobile.  Old Mobile, Fort Louis de la Louisiane 1702-1711 (1977) by Jay Higgenbotham, and Colonial Mobile (1898) by Peter Joseph Hamilton,a historical study of the Alabama-Tombigbee basin from the discovery of Mobile bay in 1519 until the demolition of Fort Charlotte in 1821, are among the best references to the colonial history of the Mobile Bay area.  The French occupied Mobile until the Treaty of Paris in 1763 ceded the Louisiana territory (including Mobile) to England.  The English re-named French Fort Conde, Fort Charlotte.

In 1780 during the Revolutionary War, Spain, an ally of the fledgling Continental government, attacked the British garrison at Fort Charlotte commanded by Captain Elias Durford.  Under attack by troops led by General Bernardo de Galvez, Captain Durford destroyed the entire city of Mobile so that the houses and shops of the town could not provide cover for the attacking Spanish troops.  On March 13, 1780, the British surrendered Fort Charlotte to de Galvez, ending England's claim to the modern state of Alabama.  Mobile became part of the colony of Spanish West Florida and for over 30 years was controlled from Pensacola until 1813 when it was captured by American forces.

During the War of 1812, American General James Wilkinson took a force of troops from New Orleans to capture Mobile from the Spanish.  Following Spanish surrender in April of 1813 the Mobile area was added to the existing Mississippi Territory of the United States.  In March, 1817, Mississippi joined the union as a state, splitting the Mississippi Territory in half, and leaving Mobile, for the next two years, as part of the new Alabama Territory.  After two years as a territory, the U.S. State of Alabama was formed, and Mobile became a voting region of the United States in 1819.

Mobile experienced a boom surrounding the export of cotton in the years leading up the Civil War, and following secession in 1861 it was heavily fortified by the Confederates.  Union naval forces, under the command of Admiral David Farragut, blockaded the Bay, leading to the construction and operation of blockade runners who maintained a trickle of commerce into and out of the city.  In August, 1864, after fighting past Forts Gaines and Morgan, which guarded the mouth of the Bay, Farragut defeated a small force of wooden Confederate gunboats and the ironclad CSS Tennessee in the Battle of Mobile Bay, where Farragut is purported to have said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”  On May 25, 1865, weeks after dissolution of the Confederacy, an ammunition depot explosion killed 300 persons and destroyed a significant portion of the city of Mobile.

Other historical landmarks:

Mon Louis Island

Latest

2012-13 Habitat Creation/Shoreline Stabilization at Mon Louis Island

April 12, 2012 Community Meeting

Maps/Useful information

Reports

Community Meeting Materials

May 26, 2011 Community Meeting
February 17, 2011 Community Meeting
July 29, 2010 Community Meeting

Who We Are

Recognizing the importance of the Mobile Bay Estuary and the threats posed to its health by local growth and development, a team of investigators, led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, developed a nomination package for Mobile Bay’s inclusion in the National Estuary Program. Alabama Governor Fob James, Jr. then submitted the nomination package for consideration by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March, 1995. In September of the same year, EPA Administrator Carol Browner, having concurred with the justification provided within the nomination package, convened a Management Conference, and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) was created.

Administered through and funded by the EPA under provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1987, the initial task for the MBNEP was the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) as a blueprint for conserving the estuary. Through the efforts of literally hundreds of participants and thousands of hours of volunteer time, our CCMP received final approval on April 22, 2002. Since that time, MBNEP has worked diligently to implement this plan and respond to emerging environmental challenges. All of the 28 NEPs recognized across the country under the CWA are similarly guided by their own CCMPs.

The mission of the MBNEP is to promote wise stewardship of the water quality characteristics and living resource base of the Mobile Bay estuarine system. We are a non-regulatory program, so we implement the CCMP 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. We engage these groups in determining how to best treat the Bay, our associated coastal waters, and their surrounding watersheds to ensure their protection and conservation for our lifetimes and beyond.

D’Olive Watershed

D’Olive Creek, Tiawassee Creek and Joe’s Branch Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan

Click here to download the final draft Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan.

Click here to download the Appendices to the Plan.

Most Recent

Joe's Branch Restoration Underway

Relevant Links and Publications

Daphne Environmental Programs Manager Ashley Campbell provides some perspective as she sits on a portion of collapsed stream bank at the head cut tributary to Joe’s Branch on Westminster Village property. 

 

Current Initiatives

Click the links below to learn more about the programs and projects we are currently working on to restore the long-term health of the estuary.

 

D'Olive Watershed:  About the D’Olive Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan- In 2007, a study was undertaken by the Geological Survey of Alabama in partnership with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Lands Division to assess the impact of land use changes in the D’Olive Creek, Tiawassee Creek, and Joe’s Branch watershed. This study determined more than two- to over 200-fold greater annual sediment loads in most of these streams when compared to natural geologic erosion rates (without human impact or alteration). In 2009, a contract was awarded to Thompson Engineering to draft a Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for the D’Olive, Tiawassee, and Joe’s Branch watershed with a coalition of local stakeholders, the D’Olive Watershed Working Group, serving as an advisory board. When complete, the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan will identify corrective measures necessary to reduce negative water quality impacts in this highly developed watershed.

 

Mon Louis Island  With shoreline property owners investing thousands of dollars to protect and restore a shoreline impacted by erosion not only from hurricanes like Ivan and Katrina but also from the daily impacts of ship wakes, MBNEP has secured funding to implement the first living shorelines project along multiple private properties.  The goal is to employ living shorelines technologies, including installation of wave-attenuating reef structures, to create and enhance habitat while protecting intertidal areas from the impacts of wave energy.  Other goals include shaping policy to favor environmentally friendly shoreline stabilization methods as alternatives to shoreline armoring.

 

Three Mile Creek (TMC)  Mid-twentieth century, flood control-related construction of a bypass channel on TMC between current MLK Avenue and Conception Street Road in the City of Mobile diverted flow from the meandering, historic stream segment, subsequently rendering a 1,800-ft section non-navigable and stagnant by siltation.  A 2008 U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 1135 Environmental Assessment recommended restoring flow into that stream segment by excavating sediment and removing woody debris.  After discussions with local contractors and regulatory agency personnel, both the costs and the negative environmental impacts to the surrounding woody wetlands associated with conventional bucket excavation presented obstacles to implementation.  However, spray dredging and thin layer disposal, technologies increasingly utilized to enhance subsiding marsh areas, provide a solution to this problem.  Sediment dredged from the creek bottom to restore natural conditions and dimensions can be sprayed in a thin layer over surrounding woody wetlands, mimicking the effects of regular deltaic flooding and enhancing existing plant communities without disrupting hydrology.

 

Eight Mile Creek  With a Watershed Management Plan for Eight Mile Creek recently completed, MBNEP and partners that include the City of Prichard, Auburn University, and Prichard Environmental Restoration Keepers (PERK) are restoring a degraded stream that borders Jackson Reading Park in Whistler.  Auburn University is providing engineering design and landscape guidance; the City of Prichard is providing equipment and labor for invasive species removal, excavation, and grading; and PERK is leading community involvement and cleanup efforts.

 

Local Restoration Partnerships  In 2010, MBNEP initiated the Local Restoration Partnership Program, providing grants to local public government entities  to undertake projects that address wetlands restoration, stormwater Runoff, or sediment management measures.  

 

Our Staff

Content Dynamically Generated - Not Handled by Structure.  Edit Child Pages.

Our Partners

Content Dynamically Generated - Not Handled by Structure.  Edit Child Pages.

Our History

Recognizing the importance of the Mobile Bay Estuary and the threats posed to its health by local growth and development, a team of investigators, led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, developed a nomination package for Mobile Bay’s inclusion in the National Estuary Program. Alabama Governor Fob James, Jr. then submitted the nomination package for consideration by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March, 1995. In September of the same year, EPA Administrator Carol Browner, having concurred with the justification provided within the nomination package, convened a Management Conference, and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) was created.

Administered through and funded by the EPA under provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1987, the initial task for the MBNEP was the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) as a blueprint for conserving the estuary. Through the efforts of literally hundreds of participants and thousands of hours of volunteer time, our CCMP received final approval on April 22, 2002. Since that time, MBNEP has worked diligently to implement this plan and respond to emerging environmental challenges. All of the 28 NEPs recognized across the country under the CWA are similarly guided by their own CCMPs.

The mission of the MBNEP is to promote wise stewardship of the water quality characteristics and living resource base of the Mobile Bay estuarine system. We are a non-regulatory program, so we implement the CCMP 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. We engage these groups in determining how to best treat the Bay, our associated coastal waters, and their surrounding watersheds to ensure their protection and conservation for our lifetimes and beyond.

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved and become a better steward of our coastal assets.   

Get Educated- Attend workshops, seminars, symposiums and conferences that address coastal environmental issues.

Get Involved- Become aware of what your local government is doing to promote responsible development practices, manage storm-water runoff, and conserve fragile habitats. Offer your services on environmental boards or committees.

Get Vocal- Comment responsibly on environmental impact statements, draft and final restoration plans, community development plans and other documents that impact the environment.

Get Motivated- Join in the many volunteer efforts to clean up, monitor, and replant areas of the estuary. Seek opportunities to serve your community.

Get to know US- Become familiar with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and support it financially, as advocates, and as volunteers.

Donate to the Coastal Estuary Restoration Fund!

Make sure to designate your donation to the Coastal Estuary Restoration Fund.

Mobile Bay Watershed

What is a Watershed?
A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place. John Wesley Powell, scientist geographer, put it best when he said that a watershed is:

"That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,267 watersheds.