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Texas Parks and Wildlife Department receives Gulf Guardian Award for Coastal Expo

Release Date: 12/05/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department of Austin, Texas, will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2006 in the Youth and Education Category for their “Coastal Expo”. The awards will be presented during the 3rd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration on December 13, 2006 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, beginning at 6 p.m.

Recognizing that most of Texas forms the watershed for the Texas coast and that Texans all over the state, not just living along the coast, play a critical role in protecting coastal ecosystem; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department decided to pilot an educational outreach event in 1999 called Coastal Expo. These events are held in major urban areas across Texas and in communities along the coast. Coastal Expo promotes awareness and understanding of the functions and values of coastal ecosystems, primarily targeting minority and urban populations. Since 1999, TPWD has conducted 44 Coastal Expos across Texas reaching over 100,000 people. The mission of Coastal Expo is to increase the public’s awareness of Texas coastal ecosystems, why they are important and how people can protect them. Coastal Expo raises awareness and builds appreciation, which is the first step in becoming a responsible environmental steward.

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. 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 seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The issues affecting the Gulf Coast are among the most dynamic and variable that the nation faces, and the collaborating partners who address these issues daily exhibit the diverse range of skills needed to advance environmental protection in the region," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "I applaud this year's winners of the Gulf Guardian Awards for their leadership and their ability to join together and achieve extraordinary goals."

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners exemplify the bond that engaged citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share for protecting the ecological engine that drives the economy of the Region and much of the Nation, the Gulf of Mexico, “America’s Sea.” The 2006 award winners illustrate the limitless results that can be attained when we effectively share and focus our resources and strengths to address complex environmental problems.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2006, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

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.

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 For more information about “Coastal Expo” contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department at (512) 912-7037.