Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan Completion


Herndon Graddick
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
hgraddick@mobilebaynep.com (251) 422-3947

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program announces publication of Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program announced this week completion and publication of its Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan (WMP).  The Plan will serve as a roadmap for citizens, policy makers, stakeholder organizations, and other groups who care about Wolf Bay to make informed decisions about potential actions having a direct effect on the health and productivity of their local waters.  It includes extensive input from the public, business, and environmental communities, as well as from local and state governments.

Because Wolf Bay is designated an Outstanding Alabama Water by the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, the vision of the Wolf Bay WMP was to identify specific and achievable measures to restore, protect, conserve, and preserve features of the Watershed to help maintain its special status. As with other MBNEP-developed watershed management plans, the Wolf Bay WMP describes the current conditions of the Watershed and identifies areas of concern as well as potential actions to improve conditions of Wolf Bay and prevent degradation in the future.

The Plan is the culmination of work by the MBNEP and the team of Volkert, Inc. and Allen Engineering and Science, who were awarded the contract for plan development in 2018. Located in southwestern Baldwin County, the Greater Wolf Bay Watershed includes three sub-watersheds: the Sandy/Wolf Creek, Miflin Creek, and Graham Bayou watersheds, encompassing approximately 36,296 acres, an area almost as large as Washington, DC. 

The mission of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is to promote the wise stewardship of Alabama’s estuaries and coast by using the best available science to measure status and trends, to restore benefits of healthy ecosystems, to build local capacity for environmental management and community resilience, and to grow the number of citizen stewards across our region.

To download a copy of the plan, please click here. Hard copies can be accessed at Foley City Hall, Graham Creek Preserve, and Elberta Town Hall. 
Christian Miller, Watershed Mngt Coordinator. MBNEP cmiller@mobilebaynep.com
Paige Felts, Project Manager, Volkert, Inc. paige.felts@volkert.com

Posted on 11/18/20 at 02:25 PM Permalink

Notice for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Dauphin Island Watershed Management Planning

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program seeks a qualified environmental or natural resource planning, engineering, or another similar firm to prepare a Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (WMP) for the Dauphin Island (HUC  031700090202) Watershed in Mobile County, Alabama. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process will be used to select a firm who can develop such a conceptual engineering master plan based on new and available data. Statements of Qualifications (Statements) must be sent to the attention of Christian Miller and received no later than 3:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 15th, 2020. Click here to read and download the full proposal

Posted on 10/01/20 at 12:34 PM Permalink

MBNEP Announces Hire of Henry Perkins as Community Relations Manager; Watershed Management Coordinat

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) announced today the hiring of Henry Perkins as Community Relations Manager, as well as the expansion of duties for longtime Watershed Management Coordinator Christian Miller. 

In his role as Community Relations Manager, Perkins will oversee the Business Resources Committee, where he will manage the MBNEP’s vital relationships with the business community as well as launch programs to foster sound economic development that also builds environmental resilience.  Among the first initiatives on his agenda will be work toward the creation of a revolving loan fund to support our local fishing and oyster industries.

Perkins is a lifelong Mobilian with a passion for helping others build relationships. He previously worked for the Downtown Mobile Alliance, bringing thousands together in celebration of the city and connecting dozens of entrepreneurs with the resources they needed to get their businesses off the ground.  He also gets his hands dirty in his spare time, working with Mobile Urban Growers to establish community gardens all around Mobile.

Perkins is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he studied Community Organization, and of the University of South Alabama, where he was awarded a Master’s in Business Administration.

The MBNEP also announced today that longtime key Program staffer, Christian Miller will be expanding his role at the organization to include management of ecosystem restoration projects.  Miller, originally hired in 2008, is currently also responsible for overseeing of the development of the signature Comprehensive Watershed Management Plans that lead much of the group’s work, as well as provide guidance to millions of dollars in grants each year for projects in Alabama’s coastal watersheds.

The MBNEP is the well-established regional leader in watershed management planning and in ecosystem restoration initiatives.  The mission of the MBNEP is to promote wise stewardship of Alabama’s estuaries and coast. It is non-regulatory, focused on strategic impacts, by bringing together citizens; local, state, and federal government agencies; businesses and industries; conservation and environmental organizations; and academic institutions to meet the challenges resulting from human impacts on the environment.

Posted on 09/25/20 at 03:32 PM Permalink

Another Big Milestone Reached in the Restoration of Baldwin County’s D’Olive Watershed

Posted on 09/07/20 at 02:35 PM Permalink

The MBNEP Commences Development of the a Watershed Management Plan for the Eastern Shore

Posted on 08/31/20 at 02:47 PM Permalink

2020 Bays and Bayous Symposium Call for Abstracts Deadline Extended

The 2020 Bays and Bayous Symposium Steering Committee is announcing that it has made the decision to make the symposium virtual. The decision came among COVID-19 concerns, including social distancing and employer travel restrictions.

The symposium will be held in an online format Dec. 1-3 and will not take place at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, as initially planned.

The call for abstracts is currently open, and tracks include disasters and disruptions, healthy coastal ecosystems, living marine resources, resilient communities and economies, and water quality and quantity. 

Oral presentations will be submitted as 12-minute pre-recorded talks. 

The typical poster presentations will be replaced with pre-recorded three-minute, three-slide lightning talks. More presentation details will be released after abstracts are accepted.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is Friday, Sept. 11.

You can keep up with any symposium changes through the event website at http://baysandbayous.org.

Posted on 08/28/20 at 10:36 AM Permalink

MBNEP at work: Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan Draft Opens for Public Comment

Posted on 08/27/20 at 02:39 PM Permalink

Notice for Request for Statements of Qualification (RFQ) Lower Fish River Restoration Phase I - (AL)

08/24/2020 - Request for Qualifications Amendment. Please note that a clarification has been made under Section 3, Description of the Team, Item 3.4: 3.4 Resumes for each key individual on the team and identification of that person’s role. List any education, registrations that may be relevant. *Resumes will not count toward the fifteen (15) page limit.* This update is also acknowledged under the Submission Requirements on Page 7. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) (Owner) requests firms’ qualifications for professional engineering services for an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Agreement. Request for Qualifications allows MBNEP to pre-qualify vendors for specific professional services. In order to assist with new projects, MBNEP will assess the selected firms based on qualification as necessary for a given project. This RFQ process will be used to select up to three contractors or contractor teams who can successfully perform these services on an agreed-upon schedule. 

MBNEP is seeking qualified engineers, land surveyors, geoscience, or other similar professionals through this competitive, qualification-based selection process to develop engineering and design documents and secure permits to stabilize an unnamed tributary (locally known as Spring Branch) to Fish River in the community of Marlow and up to five additional stream segments in the Lower Fish River Watershed (LFRW) yet to be determined. The project will employ inquiry, monitoring, engineering analyses, and design necessary to obtain permits and oversee construction of projects to stem deterioration and loss of natural function threatening downstream intertidal fisheries habitat. Interested firms should respond with a letter of interest, and Statements of Qualification as outlined in the Consultant Selection Procedure, Section A. Statements will be received until 4:00 p.m. CDT on Wednsday, September 09, 2020. To read and download the full proposal click here. 

Posted on 08/12/20 at 01:55 PM Permalink

Mobile Airport Authority Master Plan Webinar August 4, 2020

Posted on 07/31/20 at 11:04 AM Permalink

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo: A Century of Heritage and Culture

Founded in 1929 in the waning days of the roaring 20s, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has a rich cultural history dating back almost a century. The event was the inspiration of a group of friends, Mobile businessmen, who saw the potential for Mobile to be the home of a premier fishing event on the Gulf Coast. Born of a big idea, for two decades the friends ran the event, planting seeds for what would become the largest saltwater fishing event in the world.

It would be shortly after the end of WWII, in 1948, when the Junior Chamber of Commerce (known to everyone as the Mobile Jaycees) would pick up the ball and transform the ADSFR into what it is today.  In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records certified ADSFR as not only the largest, but the oldest fishing tournament in the world. The Rodeo, now, isn’t just the largest and oldest.  It has earned a host of other superlatives: Most anglers (at more than 3,000); the highest number of participating boats; the most awards; and the greatest number of prizes for the most fish species. The combined value of its prizes annually surpasses one million dollars. 

ADSFR, 1949. From: The Press Register

Also each year, one participant, whose ticket is drawn randomly, wins a Contender sport fishing boat, motor, and trailer. Remarkably, the incredibly lucky 2009 winner of the Contender, Joe Dear, who, like everyone, sat out the Rodeo-less 2010 due to the oil spill, won a second Contender when his ticket was drawn AGAIN in 2011. 

And it isn’t just lucky fishermen bringing in the big bucks. In an average year, the thousands of competitors bring even more spectators, some 75,000, and, with all of them, tourist dollars that help sustain the Town of Dauphin Island and southern Alabama tourist economies. The Rodeo generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue to the State every year.

Part of the draw to the Rodeo is the abundance of fish in the Gulf, but it’s also the unparalleled variety of species. Competitors’ catches are harvested from the Rodeo’s 45,000 square mile fishing grounds, called the Fertile Crescent, or what The New Yorker magazine dubbed, affectionately, “the fishery piñata of the Gulf of Mexico.” Appropriately, the Rodeo recognizes the diversity of this unique resource. Whereas many fishing tournaments give prizes for a handful of fish categories, the ADSFR awards winners for upwards of 30 different species.

With so much prize money at stake, it stands to reason that the history of the Rodeo has included a legacy of tall tales and crafty anglers trying to get a leg up on the next boat. In fact, on every Thursday night preceding the Friday start of the Rodeo, there is the Liars’ Contest, where anglers spin yarns, seeking the honor of having told the best fishing lie.

That’s why Rodeo judges have to have a sharp eye. One of the most entertaining true Rodeo stories involves a competitor who flew with his catch up from Costa Rica! It was then that the ADSFR created a geographical boundary for the competition. There is also the one where a clergyman brought his fish to be weighed, only to have lead weights escape the fish and tumble all over the floor. Almost unbelievably, the Rodeo has even taken the drastic step of implementing polygraph tests to root out deception. This has led to at least one winner being disqualified. Consent to undergo a lie detector is located right there in the fine print when competitors buy their tickets. All in a weekend’s fun, right?

ADSFR, 1964. Jack Davis (left), Ray Walker (center), Billy G. Barfoot (right). From: The Press Register

Given the location of the nearby Dauphin Island Sea Lab, perhaps it is not surprising that over the years, the importance of the Rodeo has grown from both cultural and recreational to also include the scientific. In the early 80s,, the ADSFR began a relationship with the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Museum, one of the most famous in the world, is particularly known for skeletons. When visitors enter the Museum fronting Central Park on the City's Upper West Side, they are greeted, Jurassic Park style, by the hulking skeleton of a huge Tyrannosaurus rex. The Museum is home to another famous skeleton collection. It comprises more than 2,500 fish skeletons, representing more than 250 species, all gathered from ADSFR anglers over the years. This incredible catalogue of fishes is considered among the most comprehensive and preeminent in the world. 

The Museum’s work lives on today and the scientific impact of the Rodeo continues to broaden in scope. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the famed ocean advocacy organization, Oceana, began testing both fish and fisherman for contaminants, assembling a treasure trove of data to help inform management of fisheries and fossil fuel extraction practices.

The Rodeo also supports the local scientific community by funding two graduate scholarships in Marine Science at the University of South Alabama: the Robert L. Shipp Award for outstanding Ph.D. student and the Gareth Nelson Award for excellence in master’s studies.  The Nelson Award is named after the famed ichthyologist who pioneered the Museum of Natural History’s work with the ADSFR, while the Shipp Award is named after long-time ADSFR stalwart, head judge, and USA marine scientist, Professor Emeritus Bob Shipp.

ADSFR, 1965. From: The Press Register

As  you might have already realized from your time on the coast, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is a wonderful example of how our heritage and culture, dependent upon healthy ecosystems and fisheries, are woven into the fabric of our lives. Heritage and culture are among the six values  - along with beaches and shorelines, fish and wildlife, water quality, access, and resilience - that the MBNEP has determined all of us in coastal Alabama celebrate. 

We enjoyed the Rodeo with our grandparents back in the day, and we want to enjoy a Rodeo with the same great qualities with our grandchildren in the future. Nothing ensures we’ll protect our coastal environment like an appreciation of our heritage and culture.  We all hope to be able to do things the way our gramps did them.  Let’s enjoy and support the Rodeo, as we ensure the protection and conservation of our coastal habitats and fisheries for years to come. Our grandchildren depend upon it.

For more history of ADSFR and roundup of this year’s winners please visit: www.adsfr.com


Posted on 07/28/20 at 10:11 AM Permalink