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Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) Receives Third Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Civic/Non-Profit Organization 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 Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW)
will receive a Third Place 2013 Gulf Guardian Award in the Civic/Non-Profit Organization Category for its Sarasota Bay Scallop Restoration Project. The awards ceremony will be held on June 26, 2013, at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt beginning at 6PM.

Sarasota Bay Watch’s created a community-based partnership of engaged citizens, organizations and local businesses, along with regional scientific and research groups, to undertake a long-term project to restore scallops to Sarasota Bay. SBW has raised $37,000 to date and, working together with Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, released over 24 million scallop larvae into the bay. The project is community-led, locally providing the majority of the funding and volunteers, while research partners study the science of the restoration process. Community awareness and engagement levels have increased dramatically.

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, Larry Stults, Phone: (941) 961-3837; or Email: larrystults@aol.com

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.

Connect with EPA Region 4 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion4

And on Twitter: @USEPASoutheast