1st Place Gulf Guardian Winners
1st Place Business/Industry
St. Louis, MO
The Monsanto Mississippi River Project engaged four NGOs (Audubon Society, Delta Wildlife, Iowa Soybean Association, and The Nature Conservancy) to advance conservation efforts that are reducing sediment and nutrients flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. The partnership effort was used to leverage conservation investments throughout the project area which are producing significant and quantifiable improvements in water quality, while creating and improving habitat for many species of fish and wildlife. With this project, Monsanto has set the bar for agribusiness conservation investments in the Mississippi River Basin.
1st Place Youth Environmental Education
Baton Rouge, LA
G is for Gulf is a children’s book dedicated to sharing facts and educating youth about the incredible ecosystem that is the Gulf of Mexico. The book takes the young reader through the ABC’s of the Gulf, with well researched facts and colorful illustrations. It was written, edited, illustrated and guided through the publishing process by kids ages 9 through 16. Targeting the elementary school age reader, there is a starfish hidden on every page to engage even the youngest readers as they explore this wonderful part of our world and the animals we share it with.
Published in October of 2012, the book project was launched during the summer of 2011 by the non-profit organization kidslovethegulf.org. This group was founded by a brother and sister team in 2010 by Rory (then 11 years old) and Maeve (then 7 years old) out of a heartfelt response to the BP oil spill. By sharing interesting facts and information about the Gulf, the book supports Rory & Maeve’s message to their generation: the Gulf is a valuable yet fragile resource that they must respect and take care of. The inspirational message that “even a kid can make a difference” empowers the younger generation to take charge of conservation in order to preserve this essential marine and coastal habitat.
1st Place Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity
Isle de Jean Charles
New Orleans, LA
Isle de Jean Charles, “Saving a Vanishing Culture” has successfully created over 1,500 linear feet of protective “Recycled Shoreline” called Floating Islands. This protects the ONLY road linking two historic Louisiana Native American tribal communities to the main land. It also helps sustain and enhance coastal protection, fisheries and habitat in a region that is devastated by hurricanes, flooding and coastal erosion.
1st Place Civic/Non-Profit
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW)
For more than 40 years, CROW has been caring for and rehabilitating sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, including many threatened and endangered species, through a conservation medicine approach to care. In addition, CROW provides education to young people and adults that increases awareness of appropriate human/wildlife interaction and emphasizes the need for conservation of Southwest Florida's coastal wildlife habitats.
Since its establishment in 1968, CROW has treated and released more than 60,000 wildlife patients. CROW sees thousands of patients each year representing more than 200 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. Many of these animals are threatened or endangered including wood storks, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, least terns, gopher tortoises and loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley and green sea turtles. CROW is the only gulf coast facility between Sarasota and the Florida Keys licensed to care for sea turtles. CROW takes a conservation medicine approach to wildlife rehabilitation with the ultimate goal being the reintroduction of wildlife into their natural habitats and a reduction of wildlife casualties from human interaction through public education.
1st Place Individual
Dr. Dawn Lavoie
Dr. Dawn Lavoie was the Gulf Coast Science Coordinator for the USGS for 7 years before retiring at the end of 2012. She also served on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team. In her tenure, she led several projects related to monitoring, science, and restoration support for barrier islands around the Gulf of Mexico. She was also staffed to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and helped write the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, as well as co-lead the Science Coordination Team which published the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Science Assessment and Needs.
Dawn is especially deserving of this award because in her passion for loving the Gulf of Mexico, she always spoke out for what was “right!” This was evident when Dr. Lavoie spoke out to save the Chandeleur Islands (part of Breton National Wildlife Refuge) when the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Berm was being proposed. Her work and research assured that the berm would not ultimately damage the island and precious Refuge over the long term.
1st Place Bi-National
Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem
Mexico and the United States
The efforts of Mexico through SEAMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Center to develop a UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Large Marine Ecosystem for the Gulf of Mexico came to fruition in 2009. Since then, concepts of the connectivity among all the ecosystems as part of the whole Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the theory of a system with no physical or ecological boundaries, despite national ownership of shores and exclusive economic zones, have been the forefront in the development of strategies and implementation to the benefit of societies and resources of all nations.
The Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (GoMx LME) began as a concept for the Gulf of Mexico many years ago as part of the LME program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Dr. Ken Sherman. The goal of the LME is to set the foundations ecosystem-based management approaches to rehabilitate marine and coastal ecosystems, recover depleted fish stocks, and reduce nutrient overloading. The program was officially designated as part of the GEF UNIDO (Global Environment Facility, United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Large Marine Ecosystem framework in early 2009. Today, the program is a strong, viable and truly interactive partnership of the U.S. and Mexico.
1st Place Partnerships
Naval Support Activity Panama City
Panama City Beach, FL
Naval Support Activity Panama City (NSA PC) discovered an innovative remedy to address years of erosion from natural and man-made causes along the NSA PC St. Andrew Bay shoreline. Utilizing a living shoreline versus armored coastline of rip-rap or concrete sea walls, the NSA PC Environmental Office (EO) took the initiative to help protect one of the few remaining pristine bays with significant sea grass beds remaining in NW Florida. In doing so, juvenile habitats and foraging grounds for local fish and other estuarine species of St. Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are enhanced and protected from contaminants.
NSA PC partnered with the local community hosting 28 events from October 2010 to July 2011 that involved two Earth Day shoreline cleanup events, oyster reef installation and grass plantings. Volunteers ranged from high school students in advanced science classes, volunteers from local environmental organizations, Navy and Air Force military and civilian personnel, plus 100 students from eight universities that volunteered as an alternative Spring Break. Over 600 volunteers donated an astounding total of 2840 hours in support of the project. The project installed a living shoreline along 2,800 feet of NSA PC’s shoreline.