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EXPERIMENTAL BEACH LANDSCAPE WINS GULF GUARDIAN AWARD

It's Time Graphic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2002

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss.
The Gulf Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Center for Sustainable Design at Mississippi State University will receive a third place Gulf Guardian Award for 2002 in the Partnership Category for an experimental beach landscape. The award will be presented to representatives of the Center at the Clean Gulf Conference scheduled for Nov. 5-7, in Galveston, Texas.

Three years ago the Gulf of Mexico Program developed the Gulf Guardian awards as a method of recognizing and honoring 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.

The Gulf Guardian Awards take on special significance in 2002 as we celebrate 30 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. The efforts of those being recognized as Gulf Guardians are key to our success as we address water issues. These award winners accepted the challenge and have joined us as we restore and protect our nation's waters for future generations."

This project would never have developed without the vision and tenacity of the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, said Pete Melby, Co-director of the Center for Sustainable Design. The Chamber is concerned about the environment and quality experiences for Biloxi residents and visitors. Members of the Chamber were able to see how this beach improvement would enhance wildlife, enhance the visual quality of the beach, and enhance people's enjoyment of the beach landscape," he added.

The Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce along with the Landscape Architecture and Biological Engineering Departments through the Center for Sustainable Design at Mississippi State worked together to transform a five-acre manmade beach devoid of plant materials into an attractive and functional natural beach landscape. The naturally evolving site now has a 90-foot long colony of emergent smooth cord grass along the water's edge, as well as 2,600 feet of sea oat plantings that are creating dunes modeled after dune formations on Horn Island. In addition to being more attractive, the naturalistic site attracts hordes of butterflies and birds. The plantings eliminated sand movement off the site onto Highway 90 and into the Mississippi Sound, which also eliminated the need to remove sand from the highway and medians. This should also delay or eliminate the need for beach re-nourishment every eight years, thus saving taxpayer dollars.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Jim Giattina said, The Gulf Guardian Award exemplifies what the Gulf of Mexico Program is all about ‑‑ innovative solutions that come about when we pool resources and look for creative ways to positively impact our quality of life and economic well-being. We are all one Gulf community and have only one Gulf of Mexico. Projects like these are helping to protect our local coastal waters, which significantly contributes to the Gulf's beauty and value," said Giattina.

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2002, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button on the left.

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

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 the partnership effort behind the Experimental Beach Landscape, call Pete Melby at 662-325-3012.

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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