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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Wins Third-Place Gulf Guardian Award

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Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (

DALLAS – (Nov. 30, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service won a third-place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Partnerships Category. The service is recognized for restoring coastal prairie wetland habitat.

Ben Scaggs, Director of Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem. Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.” 

The Sheldon Lake State Park Wetland Restoration partnership has restored over 375 acres of critical coastal prairie wetland habitat at Sheldon Lake State Park in the last 13 years. Investing over 10,500 hours since 2003, the volunteers have been a fundamental component of the restoration. Similarly, student involvement (representing over 3500 hours) has been equally critical for the project and the students themselves, increasing their stewardship role in “their” park. The long-term success of the restoration has been further validated with recent funding to complete the fifth phase of restoration with an additional 62 acres.

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. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts. This year’s ceremony will be held on November 30, 2017, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama. 

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. 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.

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