MOBILE, Ala. (April 27, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division announced the Nature Conservancy of Alabama as a 1st place 2022 Gulf Guardian winner in the Partnership category for its Lightning Point Restoration Project located in Bayou la Batre, Alabama. The partnership recipients consist of the City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mobile County, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“EPA is very excited to recognize the Gulf Guardian Partnership winners for this year,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The Gulf of Mexico is a precious resource and protecting it requires innovation and creative approaches, which these projects all embody.”
“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.
“This was an amazing project – not just because of its massive size and public focus, but because of the organizations and people who helped make it happen,” said Mary Kate Brown, Coastal Projects Manager at The Nature Conservancy in Alabama. “We were able to significantly enhance coastal habitat for Bayou La Batre’s community front porch with unmeasurable support from the City of Bayou La Batre, Mobile County, AL Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama Power, PEP-Mobile, and countless other partners. Our contractors, Moffatt & Nichol and CrowderGulf, were instrumental in bringing the restoration design of Bayou La Batre’s community waterfront to life and created a renewed interest in coastal environments across the Gulf of Mexico.”
For the Lighting Point Restoration Project, the Nature Conservancy constructed one mile of overlapping segmented breakwaters and jetties and utilized more than 240,000 cubic yards of dredged material to create 40 acres of marsh and upland habitats and 10,000 linear feet of tidal creeks. This project resulted in creating diverse habitats to support a wide range of fish, shellfish, and birds, while protecting this locally important waterfront area of this iconic town for fishing community culture.
The Gulf of Mexico Division 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. Awards were given in 2019 in five categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, and partnership.
The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.