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Clear Creek Environmental Foundation Hurricane Ike Clean-Up Receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 09/03/2009
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Clear Creek Environmental Foundation of Houston, Texas will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2009 in the Civic/Non Profit Category. The 2009 Gulf Guardians hold a special significance this year as they will be awarded on the 10th Anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico Program’s Gulf Guardian Awards Program! (2000-2009). The ceremony will be held on the evening of October 29, 2009, beginning at approximately 6 p.m in the Magnolia Ballroom at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Awards ceremony is being held in conjunction with the Oceans `09 International Conference.

Four months after Hurricane Ike hit in January 2009, hazardous debris and trash in Galveston Bay waters along the Seabrook, Texas waterfront remained. A grass roots environmental group, the Clear Creek Environmental Foundation (CCEF), mobilized resources and lent a much needed hand by organizing a massive clean-up effort to remove over 152 tons of trash and debris from Galveston Bay. CCEF valiantly led hurricane-stricken communities to join forces and do what state and federal officials had not yet been able to address in the wake of a devastating storm. Volunteers partnered to gather the resources, manpower, and technical expertise to clean up over 152 tons of debris from their bay front waters. CCEF was able to quickly and effectively mobilize the clean-up efforts using volunteer labor, boats, and supplies. The collected debris was pulled from the murky bay waters, loaded into barges, and taken to a collection area quickly coined “Seabrook Mountain” until it could be eventually removed by the city. All recyclable debris was taken to proper recycling areas. The effort not only benefitted public safety and bay health by removing polluting trash and debris and navigation hazards, it also buoyed community spirits by showing how a small group of citizens can make a difference and lead response efforts in times of national disasters. This heroic post-hurricane response follows concentrated volunteer environmental efforts led for 11 years by CCEF with the goal of preserving and enhancing the Clear Creek and Clear Lake environment to maintain its natural resources, fish and wildlife, and beauty for the present and future.

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. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.
"The Gulf Guardian Awards recognize the positive efforts to protect the important natural resources the Gulf of Mexico holds. The Gulf provides critical habitat for wildlife, recreation and commerce for humans, protection for inland communities, and so much more," said Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence Starfield of EPA Region 6. "By preserving this vital resource, this year's winners are gaining benefits for all Americans."

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.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “The Gulf Guardian Awards Program is in its 10th year of honoring citizens, governments and businesses throughout the 5 State Gulf Region for outstanding environmental achievements. Our 2009 award winners are truly an inspiration and exemplify the high quality of projects being done that generate as much excitement and pride as the award winners did in the beginning. With the addition of the Binational Gulf Guardian award in 2005, we now appropriately pay tribute to the bond we share in protecting this treasured resource with our southern neighbors and friends.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2009, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at