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It's Time Graphic
July 3, 2002

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that Jayne Buttross will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2002 in the Individual Category for her efforts with the Mississippi Coastal Impact Assistance Program, or CIAP, Process. The award will be presented to Ms. Buttross at the Clean Gulf Conference scheduled for Nov. 5-7, in Galveston, Texas.

Three years ago the Gulf of Mexico Program developed the Gulf Guardian awards as a method of recognizing and honoring 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.

The Gulf Guardian Awards take on special significance in 2002 as we celebrate 30 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. The efforts of those being recognized as Gulf Guardians are key to our success as we address water issues. These award winners accepted the challenge and have joined us as we restore and protect our nation's waters for future generations."

In October 2001, Congress created the Coastal Impact Assistance Program which allocated Mississippi $24,316,417 to spend on the coastal ecology and to share between the state and the three coastal counties. In March 2001, the Governor designated the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality as the lead agency to develop Mississippi's CIAP plan for submission to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The person leading this process was Jayne Buttross, Advisor to the Executive Director at MDEQ. Through her efforts and guidance, the State of Mississippi adopted an open and collaborative planning process that allowed three coastal counties, a myriad of state and federal agencies, local non-governmental organizations, and business, to work together to structure a package of projects to improve the health of the coastal ecology by conservation, protection, enhancement or restoration, and create systemic changes in how the coastal ecology is viewed and managed. More than 150 projects totaling $67 million were submitted for review. The final submission package to the Department of Commerce included 81 collaborative projects. From the $24.3 million allocated to Mississippi, a total value of $47,483.061 in collaborative projects is being funded.

"We started with the premise that everyone who should be involved loves our state and our Gulf, said Jayne Buttross. It was exciting to watch diverse groups and governments prove that premise and come together for the sake of a healthier coastal ecology. I am incredibly grateful to be the one honored for the hard work of so many that resulted in a great CIAP plan."

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Jim Giattina said, The Gulf Guardian Award exemplifies what the Gulf of Mexico Program is all about ‑‑ innovative solutions that come about when we pool resources and look for creative ways to positively impact our quality of life and economic well-being. We are all one Gulf community and have only one Gulf of Mexico. Projects like these are helping to protect our local coastal waters, which significantly contributes to the Gulf's beauty and value, said Giattina.

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2002, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at https://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button on the left.

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 Ms. Buttross, call Linda Vaught, MDEQ Communications Director at 601-961-5053.

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

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