EPA announces Gulf of Mexico Alliance as 2nd Place Gulf Guardian Winner
GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 26, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division announced the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) as a 2nd Place Gulf Guardian award winner for its Gulf Star Public-Private Partnership Program and Gulf TREE project to improve water quality, habitat and environmental education in the gulf.
“Protecting the Gulf of Mexico requires innovative approaches and proactive measures,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.”
“Plentiful marine resources, pristine beaches and economic vitality make the Gulf of Mexico a national treasure worthy of protection and preservation,” said Acting Gulf of Mexico Division Director Lakeshia Robertson. “The Gulf Guardian winners embody environmental stewardship. Their efforts are creating a healthy and resilient Gulf for residents and tourists alike.”
GOMA's Gulf Star program is a public-private partnership of agencies, businesses and non-profits, which supports priorities tied to healthy ecosystems that impact Gulf economies: water quality, coastal resilience, education, stewardship, healthy habitats, ecosystem monitoring, marine debris, and sustainable wildlife and fisheries populations. Funded by eight primary partners, more than $2 million has been awarded for regional projects in just the first two years of the program. This has resulted in 31 projects and more than 130 partner institutions implementing those projects. Gulf Star funding partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shell Oil Co., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., The Nature Conservancy, Freeport-McMoRan, BHP Billiton and Hess Corp.
Gulf TREE was created to provide guidance in tool selection for natural resource managers, community planners and others incorporating resilience into their projects, filling a critical need for stakeholders gulfwide. Gulf TREE is a unique online resource and features 110 tools on topics including identifying vulnerabilities, mapping, community planning, and outreach. It includes tool fact sheets, case studies and other valuable resources to inform coastal decision-makers. Partner collaboration and extensive stakeholder engagement were keys to project success. A 14-member project team guided the project and more than 200 participants from 108 organizations provided feedback.
The Gulf of Mexico Division initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. Awards were given in 2019 in five categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations and partnership.
The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.
For more information about the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Division go to: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico.