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Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2004

Government Category - 1st Place

Dec. 1, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program today presented Mighty Tidy, a project co-sponsored by the Port of Houston Authority, witha first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2004 in the Government Category. The award ceremony was held aboard the Creole Queen Riverboat in New Orleans, La.

In June 2003, the Port of Houston Authority, the Harris County Supplemental Environmental Program, the Harris County Flood Control District, and the nonprofit group Buffalo Bayou Partnership, launched the largest stormwater pollution cleanup program in Harris County, Texas history. By providing substantial initial and continuing operations funding and in-kind services for the skimmer boat Mighty Tidy, there is now a massive and continuing cleanup of floatable pollution from the watersheds serving more than 400 square miles that empty into the Port of Houston and flow south to the significant national estuary of Galveston Bay and then into the Gulf.

This project is helping restore Buffalo Bayou to an ecologically functional system. Fish and other wildlife no longer suffer the effects from eating debris or getting caught up in and then dying in floating trash flushed from Houston area streets. Beyond the dramatic visual improvement of three major bayous and the port, the water quality is improving without the toxicity created during the breakdown of floating debris.

More than 1,000 cubic yards of floatable litter have been collected to date — almost double the expected amount – from habitat along Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay stretching to the Gulf. An unexpected result has been the overwhelmingly positive visibility achieved through a kick off event with more than 250 attendees, a “Name the Skimmer” contest at area schools for the winning Mighty Tidy name, and an unforgettably pink vessel resulting in regular, very positive media and public attention on the issue of floatable pollution.

"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 Might Tidy, please call Winifred Riser with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership at 713-752-0314 or Argentina James at the Port of Houston Authority at 713-670-2568.

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

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