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Gulf Guardians recognized for protecting environment

Release Date: 12/13/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – December 13, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program presented awards today to recognize innovative efforts to improve the environmental and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico.

First established in 2000, the Gulf Guardian Awards honor businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf ecosystem healthy, beautiful and productive.

“The issues affecting the Gulf Coast are among the most dynamic and variable that the nation faces, and the collaborating partners who address these issues daily exhibit the diverse range of skills needed to advance environmental protection in the region,” EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. “I applaud this year’s winners of the Gulf Guardian Awards for their leadership and their ability to join together and achieve extraordinary goals.”

Awardees for the state of Louisiana included Parishes Against Coastal Erosion, which includes all Louisiana coastal Parishes, and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (Port Fourchon). Texas honorees included The Coastal Watershed Program, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, SCENIC GALVESTON Inc., Harte Research Institute-Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Mr. Richard Benoit of League City.

Winners were presented with their awards at the 3rd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration held in New Orleans, Louisiana. A first, second, and third place award was given in seven categories: binational, business, civic/nonprofit, government, individual, partnerships, and youth/education. The awards are sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Gulf of Mexico Program.

The Gulf of Mexico Program was formed in 1988 to provide a broad geographic focus on the major environmental issues in the Gulf. It is a non-regulatory inclusive partnership of representatives from various sectors, including state, federal, business, agricultural, environmental and citizens and community leaders from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. More information about the program and the winners of the 2006 Gulf Guardian Awards is available at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo/index.html.

For more information about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit www.epa.gov/region6.

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The 2006 Gulf Guardian Awardees are (by category):

Binational Category

1st Place – Gulf Base: Harte Research Institute/Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Texas
2nd Place – The Nature Conservancy; Pronatura Noreste A.C.; Laguna Madre Coordination of Laguna Madre y Delta del Rio Bravo Area Natural Protegida
3rd Place - REEF/Veracruz Marine Park partnership; Veracruz, Mexico and Key Largo, Florida

Business Category

1st Place - Neil C. Johnston, Hand Arendall Real Estate, Land Use & Timber Law Group; Hand Arendall Conservation Awareness Program; Mobile, Alabama
2nd Place - Manatee County Port Authority/Gulfstream Natural Gas System; Port Manatee Seagrass Mitigation and Environmental Enhancement; Palmetto, Florida
3rd Place - West Harrison Water and Sewer District and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. Inc.; DeLisle Community Wastewater Collection System; Pass Christian, Mississippi

Civic/Nonprofit Organization Category

1st Place - Save The Bays Association; Naples, Florida
2nd Place - Ducks Unlimited, Southern Regional Office; Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area – Ridgeland, Mississippi
3rd Place – SCENIC GALVESTON Inc.; Virginia Point Peninsula Preserve; Galveston, Texas

Government Category

1st Place - Parishes Against Coastal Erosion (PACE) Coordination for the Preservation of Coastal Louisiana; All Coastal Louisiana Parishes
2nd Place – Greater Lafourche Port Commission (Port Fourchon); Maritime Forest Ridge Project; Galliano, Louisiana
3rd Place - Deer Island Restoration Team:  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Biloxi Port Commission, Deer Island Beneficial Use/Marsh Creation; Harrison County, Mississippi

Individual Category

1st Place – Ms. Pam T. Henson; Director of Instructional Support/Baldwin Co. Board of Education; Loxley, Alabama
2nd Place - Mr. Richard Smith; Educator and Volunteer Coordinator, Creative Environmental Education; Bradenton, Florida
3rd Place – Mr. Richard Benoit; Volunteer and Retired Science Teacher; League City, Texas

Partnership Category

1st Place - Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal; Mississippi Renewal Forum; Coastal Mississippi
2nd Place – The Brays Bayou Wetland at Houston’s Mason Park, Houston, Texas, Coastal Watershed Program and Galveston Bay Estuary Program and 14 other partners
3rd Place – The Texas Red Tide Rangers, 2005 South Padre Island Red Tide Response; Austin, Texas

Youth Education Category

1st Place - St. John’s Episcopal Church; "Clearing the Way”; Ocean Springs, Mississippi
2nd Place - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Coastal Expo; Austin, Texas
3rd Place - SEA ICE Environmental Studies Center; Mobile, Alabama; Public School Environmental Education Center