Nature Conservancy wins Gulf Guardian Award for coastal restoration partnership

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TNC State Director Mitch Reid addresses Lightning Point Ribbon Cutting (Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Division bestowed their highest honor to The Nature Conservancy in Alabama (TNC) for creating invaluable marsh and upland habitats.

Gulf Guardian Award — Partnerships

The organization won the prestigious Gulf Guardian Award in the partnership category this past April for its Lightning Point Restoration Project located in Bayou la Batre, Alabama.

The TNC-led project accomplished the following tasks:

  • Constructed one mile of overlapping segmented breakwaters and jetties 
  • 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

Bayou La Batre’s Community Front Porch

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Bayou La Batre’s Community Front Porch. (Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr) Office)

“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.”  

Taking Positive Steps

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(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

The EPA 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.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a vulnerable ecosystem that requires innovative approaches and proactive measures to protect this national resource,” said Marc Wyatt, Director, Gulf of Mexico Division. 

Earth Day

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Governor Kay Ivey and Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship looking out at the marshland. (Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

On Earth Day—April 22nd—Governor Kay Ivey held a ribbon cutting celebrating the Lightning Point Project partnership and achieving multiple restoration goals for the Bayou La Batre coastline, including shoreline protection, habitat creation and managed access.

“This project recognizes the work that The Nature Conservancy in Alabama’s coastal team and their partners have done to plan and implement one of the most complicated and successful coastal restoration projects that The Nature Conservancy has ever undertaken,” Mitch Reid, TNC’s State Director told The Bama Buzz. “I could not be more proud of the work that this team is doing to ensure that we have thriving coastal communities in the face of a changing world.”

Want to learn more about the Lightning Point Project? Visit the TNC Lightning Point Shoreline Restoration webpage.

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Pat Byington
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