Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2005
Partnership Category - 1st Place
The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, University of Southern Mississippi will receive a first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2005 in the Partnerships Category, for the “Alabama-Mississippi Rapid Assessment Team (AMRAT)”.
The Alabama-Mississippi Rapid Assessment Team is a continuing cooperative project to search for, and catalogue non-indigenous aquatic species in Mississippi and Alabama coastal waters. Coordinated and led by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, over 100 participants from more than 22 organizations worked together to complete surveys of the Alabama and Mississippi coasts in 2003 and 2004. Invasive species pose ecological, economic and human health threats. These assessments establish baselines of native and non-native species that can be used to address environmental management issues. AL and MS members of the Gulf and South Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species established AMRAT with the goal of conducting the surveys. The surveys conducted in September 2003 (Mobile Bay) and September 2004 (Mississippi Coast) were unqualified successes and highly acclaimed by participants, observers and reviewers.