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Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2004

Partnership Category - 1st Place

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 1, 2004

PROJECT GREENSHORES WINS 1ST PLACE GULF GUARDIAN AWARD

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program today presented the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Pensacola, Fla., with a first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2004 in the Partnership Category for Project Greenshores. The award ceremony was held aboard the Creole Queen Riverboat in New Orleans, La.

Project GreenShores is a community-supported oyster, saltmarsh and seagrass habitat restoration project developed by the Florida DEP, ERSO, Inc. and local partners to replace estuarine habitat destroyed decades ago. Located along Bayfront Parkway in Pensacola, it is highly visible to the public. Originally planned as a small shoreline habitat demonstration project, Greenshores attracted the attention of many partners and volunteers and grew to a substantial restoration project. Site I, completed in the fall of 2003, provides 15 acres of restored habitat. Site II, an additional 25 acres, is in the planning and fundraising stages.

The primary objective of Project Greenshores is to create a highly visible, accessible, habitat-rich, educational shoreline restoration project to serve as a restoration model for other disturbed estuarine shorelines. Project Greenshores was constructed by installing more than 20,000 tons of limestone rock and clean broken concrete in mounds to create a protective reef approximately 2,000 feet long by about 75 feet wide, resulting in an approximately 3.4-acre oyster reef habitat. Nearly 16 tons of live oysters were moved from the shoreline to the rock mounds, which resulted in large numbers of new oyster spat and barnacles on the rocks. Next, 35,000 cubic yards of clean sand was pumped between the rock and shoreline to create five individual intertidal areas to approximate the original water depths. About 35,000 Spartina alterniflora, smooth cordgrass plants, were planted on the intertidal areas. Ruppia maritima, widgeon grass, is being planted between these areas to create a 12-acre saltmarsh and seagrass habitat. An unexpected benefit has been an increase in the numbers and diversity of birds, and the project was recently designated as part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004 are prime examples of collaborative environmental efforts leading to neighborhood solutions that transcend political boundaries,” said Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water in Washington, D.C. “I commend all of the winners for their innovative partnerships, common sense ideas, and hard work. Their efforts are making a difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in six categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, and partnership efforts.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners encapsulate the essence of the Gulf of Mexico Program and our efforts to attain environmental solutions in concert with economic growth.” “Environmental successes are exponential when you bring the resources of many to the table, as the 2004 winners have so successfully demonstrated.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call Terry Hines Smith at 228-688-1159. For more information about Project Greenshores, call Sally Cooey or Dick Francher at 850-595-8300.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
228-688-3726
FAX: 228-688-2709


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