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DALLAS – (April 27, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Division announced Houston Advanced Research Center as the winner of the Gulf Guardian Award. The HARC established the project the Galveston Bay Report Card as a community-driven, scientific analysis of the health of Galveston Bay.

“The work of protecting and improving the Gulf of Mexico goes far beyond the coast, touching most of the Central U.S. through the Mississippi River basin,” said Regional Administrator Earthea Nance. “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners reflect the diverse ways people can help, and their passion for making a difference. Congratulations to the awardees and for all they do to protect this precious natural resource.”

“The Gulf of Mexico is a vulnerable ecosystem that requires innovative approaches and proactive measures to protect this national resource.  Over the past two years, the Gulf Guardian award winners have continued to think “outside of the box” during challenging circumstances due to COVID-19.  These Gulf Guardian Awards are an important way to recognize the valuable efforts of all their hard work to protect the environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Marc Wyatt, Director, Gulf of Mexico Division.

“Together with our friends at the Galveston Bay Foundation, we have created a resource that makes scientific understanding more accessible and provides communities with a connection to their environment,” said Research Scientist Erin Kinney. “Our mission now is to empower the Bay’s residents to become conservation leaders and instruments of change in their communities.”

The program is built on the annual analysis of 22 environmental indicators across six categories: habitat, water quality, human health risk, pollution events and sources, wildlife and coastal change. Results are used to guide the direction of environmental work and provide opportunities for the public to become environmental stewards of Galveston Bay and its watershed. The program serves as the model for watershed report cards, with outreach efforts directly connecting to 5,700 people each year and media outreach to hundreds of thousands more.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 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.

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.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Division visit our webpage.

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