News Releases from Region 04
Mobile Baykeeper Receives Second Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Youth Environmental Education Category
ATLANTA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recognized Mobile Baykeeper with a second place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Youth Environmental Education Category at an awards ceremony held at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.
“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,” said Ben Scaggs, Gulf of Mexico Program Director. “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 Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is an education and monitoring program designed to broaden the understanding of watersheds, water quality, and how citizens impact the two. Mobile Baykeeper personnel educate high school students on watersheds and enlist students to receive training to monitor specific, local waterways. Staff train participants to monitor water quality, assess shoreline/stream bank conditions, and track changes over time. Through participation in SWAMP, students have the opportunity to investigate a water quality or pollution problem and develop a solution that can make a difference for their quality of life, local economy and natural resources.
Alabama is home to more than 130,000 miles of diverse and beautiful waterways that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. The health and productivity of the waterways and ultimately the Gulf are threatened by a number of pollutants. SWAMP works to protect these waterways, Baykeeper staff review trends and assist in identifying water quality issues facing the watershed.
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.
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.
More information about the Gulf of Mexico Program: www.epa.gov/gmpo
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