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2006 News Releases


Greater Lafourche Port Commission receives Gulf Guardian Award for Maritime Forest Ridge project

Release Date: 12/05/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Greater Lafourche Port Commission of Galliano, Louisiana, will receive a 2nd place Gulf Guardian Award for 2006 in the Government Category for their “Maritime Forest Ridge project”. 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.

When industrial demand dictated that Port Fourchon’s slips be widened from 500 feet to 700 feet in 2001, port officials put together a plan to use the dredge spoil to rebuild a natural forest ridge that once existed just north of Port Fourchon, which had fallen victim to coastal erosion. The main goal of the project is to restore the historic Maritime Forest Ridge that had eroded and subsided below sea level since the 1950s. Vegetating the ridge with woody plant species has provided an excellent habitat for migratory birds. Thus far the project has created over 60 acres of salt marsh, and another 60-plus acres of maritime forest ridge at an elevation of 8 feet. To date, over 1000 hours and 200 volunteers have worked diligently planting along the ridge. By engaging the people of the estuary on a personal level, Port Fourchon is not only forging new community partnerships and fostering public support and sentiment for coastal restoration, it is putting a face on the efforts to save this landscape by allowing citizen volunteers to work shoulder-to shoulder with the biologists, geologists, engineers and scientist who are working on the immense problems coastal Louisiana faces.

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 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 For more information about the Maritime Forest Ridge project, call Ted M. Falgout, Executive Director of Port Fourchon at (985) 632-6701.