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Nueces River Authority Education and Outreach Program for the Coastal Bend 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 Nueces River Authority of Corpus Christi, Texas will receive a third place Gulf Guardian Award for 2009 in the Education 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.

Since September 2006, the Nueces River Authority has been bringing innovative education to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast including the coastal areas of the Nueces River and adjoining coastal basins. The program is supported by the Clean Rivers Program and local contracts. They partner with the Center for Coastal Studies at TAMUCC, Texas Agrilife Extension, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuary Program, Texas State Aquarium – Sea Lab and others. Over the past three years they have attended 52 events in Nueces, Jim Wells, Refugio, and Bee Counties. Since September 2006, the Nueces River Authority (NRA) Education and Outreach Program for the Coastal Bend has delivered education to over 2800 people at 52 events in Nueces, Bee, Jim Wells, and Refugio Counties. Using original hands-on teaching tools, they take the lesson to the people, demonstrating the importance of clean waterways for drinking water, recreation, land, and animal health. The presentations use the Nueces Basin Watershed Model, the Wetland on Wheels, and a Rainfall Runoff Model – all hands-on, interactive tools. . The presentations touch on questions of the TEKS standardized tests (water cycle, weathering, non-renewable resources, habitats, adaptations, conservation, use of natural resources, limitations of models, sources of water in a watershed, and the relationships between ground and surface water) to help support the school curriculum.

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 U.S. 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