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Magnolia Springs Restoration Project Receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 09/08/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the
Baldwin County Commission’s Magnolia Springs Restoration Project of Bay Minette, Alabama, will receive a first 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 10
th 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 Magnolia Springs Restoration Project restored a cultural, ecological, and sociological landmark in Baldwin County, Alabama. The objective of this project was to stabilize an existing site from degradation from on-site erosion and storm water infiltration and restore the wetland, riparian, and stream habitat to its natural state. Prior to this project, previous flood events had severely damaged the site to the point that local officials deemed it necessary to conduct a full-scale construction project in order to stabilize the existing landscape. That work was done without regard for environmental degradation during a time when wetland issues were not at the forefront of Baldwin County priorities. The project involved installing retaining walls, a cobblestone paved stream bank, and concrete walkways. Essentially all native vegetation was replaced with sod and maintained in turf-like fashion. The project was funded by an EPA 5 Star Restoration Grant, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and the Baldwin County Commission. Additional partners were the Town of Magnolia Springs, the Magnolia Springs Garden Club and Volkert & Associates, Inc

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.

A. Stanley Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator of U.S. EPA Region 4 said, "The Gulf of Mexico is a priceless treasure. As a unique habitat, a place which gives pleasure to countless Americans, and a source of some of our most valuable resources, it has no equal. These Gulf Guardians who labor to protect and enhance this magnificent sea deserve our highest praise and thanks."

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.