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Naval Support Activity Panama City Receives First Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Partnership Category

Release Date: 06/07/2013
Contact Information: William McBride, 404-562-8378 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main), mcbride.william@epa.gov

Stennis Space Center, MS – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced Naval Support Activity Panama City
will receive a First Place 2013 Gulf Guardian Award in the Partnership Category for the Panama City Living Shoreline Restoration Project. The awards ceremony will be held on June 26, 2013, at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt beginning at 6PM.

Naval Support Activity Panama City (NSA PC) discovered an innovative remedy to address years of erosion from natural and man-made causes along the NSA PC St. Andrew Bay shoreline. Utilizing a living shoreline versus armored coastline of rip-rap or concrete sea walls, the NSA PC Environmental Office (EO) took the initiative to help protect one of the few remaining pristine bays with significant sea grass beds remaining in NW Florida. In doing so, juvenile habitats and foraging grounds for local fish and other estuarine species of St. Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are enhanced and protected from contaminants.

NSA PC partnered with the local community hosting 28 events from October 2010 to July 2011 that involved two Earth Day shoreline cleanup events, oyster reef installation and grass plantings. Volunteers ranged from high school students in advanced science classes, volunteers from local environmental organizations, Navy and Air Force military and civilian personnel, plus 100 students from eight universities that volunteered as an alternative Spring Break. Over 600 volunteers donated an astounding total of 2840 hours in support of the project. The project installed a living shoreline along 2,800 feet of NSA PC’s shoreline.

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. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“This year’s Gulf Guardian Award recipients are to be commended for providing environmental leadership to protect and restore one of our nation’s most treasured natural resources, the Gulf of Mexico. These Award recipients are true environmental stewards and protectors of this vital ecosystem,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator A. Stanley Meiburg.

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

Ben Scaggs, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Given all the incredible challenges that the Gulf has faced over the last several years and the work that has continued with strength and vigor despite what sometime seem like overwhelming obstacles, it is difficult to adequately and succinctly express the community value of the awards and the role they play in reminding us of what yet needs to be done while giving us all the energy and optimism to stay the course.”

For more information please contact Jonnie Smallman, Phone: (850) 235-5739; or Email: jonnie.smallman@navy.mil

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.

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