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Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2004

Civic/Nonprofit Organization Category - 3rd Place

Dec. 1, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program today presented the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation, with a third place Gulf Guardian Award for 2004 in the Civic and Nonprofit Organization Category for the Weeks Bay Project – a land acquisition project. The award ceremony was held aboard the Creole Queen Riverboat in New Orleans, La.

The main objective of the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation is to protect the natural resources in the Weeks Bay watershed through land donations and purchasing property. Since the Foundation’s formation in 1990, it has succeeded in protecting almost 1,000 acres of coastal property. The Foundation also provided technical assistance to the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as the Reserve acquired the 6,000 acres that form its boundary.

The Weeks Bay Project is similar to a land trust. The partnership between the state and the foundation has led to completing successful milestones in the Weeks Bay Reserve Management Plan. Properties identified in the plan were purchased by the foundation and transferred to the Reserve as land acquisition funds became available. These Reserve land acquisitions would have been impossible without the Foundation’s assistance.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004 are prime examples of collaborative environmental efforts leading to neighborhood solutions that transcend political boundaries,” said Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water in Washington, D.C. “I commend all of the winners for their innovative partnerships, common sense ideas, and hard work. Their efforts are making a difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.”

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 six categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, and partnership efforts.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners encapsulate the essence of the Gulf of Mexico Program and our efforts to attain environmental solutions in concert with economic growth.” “Environmental successes are exponential when you bring the resources of many to the table, as the 2004 winners have so successfully demonstrated.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at https://www.epa.gov/gmpo 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 Terry Hines Smith at 228-688-1159. For more information about the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation and the land acquisition project, call Walter Ernest at 251-990-5004 or email him at wbrf@bellsouth.net.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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