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Kerry Michael St. P, Director, Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program 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 Kerry St. P, a native of Port Sulphur, Louisiana, and resident of Raceland, Louisiana will receive the first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2009 in the Individual 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.

The programs and accomplishments of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) bear the obvious influence and guidance of the Director, Kerry St. P in development and oversight of the BTNEP Management Conference, all areas of education and public outreach, management decisions, and guidance in coastal protection and restoration. Kerry St. P’s efforts extend beyond the BTNEP boundaries, well outside the landscape between the levees of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers, into others areas of the Mississippi River deltaic plain, the cheniers of southwestern Louisiana and the wetlands and coastal landscapes of surrounding Gulf states.
As Director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (1997 – present), he is the linchpin for citizen and stakeholder involvement in the management and future of the estuarine basin upon which all depend for homes, income, renewable and non renewable resources, and culture.

Kerry St. P’s true leadership came forth in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when he became the spokesperson for the lost homes, lost memories, lost lives, and lost marshes in the swath of the two hurricanes. He took it upon himself to begin an urgent, accelerated education of the citizens of Louisiana of their heritage and their vanishing wetlands. He was one of the first individuals to reach Grand Isle along with the media to describe and explain the impacts of the hurricanes on the communities, the barrier shorelines and the marshes. His efforts at informing the public, the U.S. and the world of the severe damages wrought on the landscape and human society were tireless.
Kerry St. P epitomizes citizen concern, stewardship and leadership for the Louisiana coastal landscape in which he grew up, makes his home, and his children’s homes.

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 http://www.epa.gov/gmpo 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 http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.