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Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh Project receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 12/05/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that Project Brays, The Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh Project at Mason Park in southeast Houston, Texas, will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2006 in the Partnership Category. The awards will be presented during the 3rd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration on December 13, 2006 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Brays Bayou Freshwater Tidal Marsh Project at Mason Park is a created freshwater/tidal marsh that provides habitat for native plants, wildlife and fish, while functioning as a pilot demonstration project to treat storm water emanating from an urban residential community. The project began in 2001, when the Texas Coastal Watershed Program of the Texas Cooperative Extension/Texas Sea Grant received funding from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program to initiate a pilot storm water management project. The marsh is located in the Coastal Zone adjacent to the tidal portion of Brays Bayou which is currently listed with many 303(d) listed impairments. The storm water wetland will be used to treat these impairments, capture sediments , and provide important native habitats for fish and wildlife. In addition to the water quality and habitat benefits the project has created public use and educational opportunities for Houston’s underserved Eastside community. There are 14 separate agencies and organizations that contributed to this highly successful Partnership Award winner.

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 seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"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."

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners exemplify the bond that engaged citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share for protecting the ecological engine that drives the economy of the Region and much of the Nation, the Gulf of Mexico, “America’s Sea.” The 2006 award winners illustrate the limitless results that can be attained when we effectively share and focus our resources and strengths to address complex environmental problems.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2006, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://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 the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo. For more information about Project Brays, call Marissa Sipocz with the Texas Coastal Watershed Program at (281)218-0570

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