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

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

Restoration Team Update

Want to know how COVID 19 has affected MBNEP's work?

From Comprehensive Watershed Planning; to shore, stream, and wetland restoration; to invasive species management; to waterborne litter and trash eradication; Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is demonstrating resilience in action, keeping all our programs alive and thriving.

Updates include:

  • Watershed Management Planning
  • Three Mile Creek: Twelve Mile Creek Restoration
  • Langan Park Lake: Invasive Species Eradication
  • Litter Abatement Programs
  • Litter Gitter Gap Funding
  • Prichard Rain Barrels
  • D’Olive Watershed Restoration
  • Deer River: Shoreline Stabilization/Marsh Protection
  • Mon Louis Island Northern Tip
  • Fowl River Restoration
  • Lower Fish River Restoration
Posted on 06/10/20 at 09:04 AM Permalink

Grant Awarded for Fish River Watershed Stream Restorations by NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

Head Cut and Shoreline Erosion at Marlow Branch

The Mobile Bay National Estuary receives award from NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to restore conditions in and around Lower Fish River Watershed streams

Gully at Marlow Branch

On March 19, 2020, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced new Alabama projects to be funded by the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) and designed to remedy harm and reduce risk of future harm to natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) will receive more than $6.54 million to address sediment and nutrient issues in the Lower Fish River Watershed, one of a complex of four coastal watersheds draining into Weeks Bay. Project activities will include planning, engineering and design, and permitting efforts to identify and develop solutions for six stormwater-impacted tributaries. The award will also fund engineering and design, permitting, and construction of a 1,650-linear-foot priority stream restoration project in the Marlow Community. This tributary runs south of and parallel to Baldwin County Road 32, passes under CR 9 near its intersection with CR 32, and drains into Fish River just downstream of the Fish River Bridge on CR 32. These issues were identified and restoration measures recommended in the Weeks Bay Watershed Management Plan, published in 2017 and funded through the NFWF GEBF.

Multiple tributaries within the Lower Fish River Watershed have been negatively impacted by severe erosion and nutrient enrichment in headwater areas, delivering silt and negatively impacting once-productive downstream seagrass beds and oyster reef habitats essential to coastal fishery health. Restoring and protecting priority streams and streambank corridors is vital to improving the overall water quality in this Watershed and its receiving waters in Weeks Bay. The overall project strategy will employ similar hybrid stream restoration techniques as those used to restore over two miles of degraded streams and 44 acres of floodplain and wetlands in the successful GEBF-funded D’Olive Watershed restoration project.

Restoration of D'Olive Creek Tributary between I-10 and U.S. 98 to stabilize stream banks and restore ecological function. 

Severe Stream Bank Erosion   Restoration of D'Olive Tributary D4-D6   Restored D'Olive Creek Tributary D4-D6

D'Olive Watershed Tributary D4-D6 pre-restoration, flowing from under I-10 near Mile Marker 38 south to U.S. Highway 90, reflecting severe stream bank erosion and mass slumping caused by excessive volumes and velocities of stormwater runoff. 

  This large-scale restoration involved filling the deeply incised channel and creating a new, sinuous, rock-lined channel connected to a floodplain designed to absorb and slow waters during heavy rain events. Log-rollers (using felled trees) and mid-channel rock vanes were installed to reduce energy and direct flow. Erosion control fabric and temporary grasses were used to stabilize the floodplain in the short term.   Native vegetation, including young trees, add ecological value daily to this restored stream reach, which formerly delivered tons of sediment annually downstream into Lake Forest Lake, and D'Olive and Mobile bays. Installed ponds retain stormwater and provide habitat complexity necessary for wildlife and aquatic organisms. Monitoring is in progress to determine sediment load reductions. 

 

Map of Impacted Streams in the Lower Fish River Watershed

The MBNEP is guided by a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan developed by over 200 Management Conference partners from federal, state, and local partners; businesses and industry; academia and citizen groups. It is based on local input and supports local priorities that protect water quality, sustain populations of key living resources, manage vital habitats, mitigate human impacts, and build citizen stewardship. The CCMP provides a road map for estuarine resource management in Alabama through a watershed approach that prescribes watershed management planning for areas draining to specific water bodies – independent of geopolitical boundaries. This approach ensures restoration and protection projects are based in science and fit into a well-studied and structured overall management program.

The mission of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is to provide the necessary tools and support community-based efforts to promote the wise stewardship of the quality and living resources of Alabama’s estuarine waters.

Lower Fish River Watershed
Pink indicates degraded streams

Posted on 03/27/20 at 09:52 AM Permalink

Bays and Bayous Symposium 2020 - Save the Date

Bays and Bayous 2020 - Biloxi Mississippi

The 2020 Bays and Bayous Symposium will be held Dec. 1-3 at the Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The theme for the 2020 event is "Sound Science, Sound Policy: A 2020 Vision for the Future." Bays and Bayous will begin at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and end at noon on Thursday, Dec. 3.

The symposium will focus on (but is not limited to) coastal science research, education and outreach in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Scientists from universities, NGOs and government agencies will share their research findings at the event, and leaders from coastal municipalities will showcase their resilience and conservation efforts. Educators and extension professionals also will present their research and successful outreach efforts.

The Bays and Bayous Symposium Program Committee is forming, and its members will guide the content of the symposium. Popular topics at past events have included oil spill impacts, habitat management and restoration, climate and hazard resilience, living resources and water quality and supply.

Typically, the symposium includes 150-200 poster and oral presentations, and the event is known as a networking opportunity for the 350-450 coastal science professionals and students who attend. The symposium also includes special awards for top student presenters.

The event is organized by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and many partners.

You can find updates and additional information, including sponsorship information, on the event website at baysandbayous.org.

Posted on 03/03/20 at 10:36 AM Permalink

AMNS Calvert Volunteers Pull Privet in Three Mile Creek

AM/NS Calvert Volunteers Pulled Hundreds of Prive Seadlings

AM/NS Calvert Volunteers Pulled Hundreds of Privet Seedlings along Three Mile Creek | Photo by MBNEP

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is partnering with volunteers from the Associates Program at AM/NS Calvert to address the invasive species problem in the Three Mile Creek Watershed. February 14th, they were out on The University of South Alabama's campus to pull up Chinese privet seedlings.

This area was identified because the privet here is small enough to hand pull, and we wanted to tackle the issue now before it becomes a major problem. If unchecked the area could become a privet “monoculture,” choking out all the native plant species which belong there.

Privet, Or Ligustrum, was introduced to the country by the landscaping industry in 1852 for use as an ornamental shrub. It's now a big concern for some of the same reasons it was so popular back then! It is vigorous and adapted to grows really well in both wet and dry conditions. One of the biggest problems is when birds eat the berries, their droppings provide a perfect matrix for germination and growth. As the seeds are dispersed, new saplings are generated potentially miles away from the source.

The area where we are working has a well-established native plant community including sweetbay magnolia, Virginia sweetspire, and laurel cherry. Without having to compete with invasives, natives will thrive and enhance the entire ecosystem, which depends on the food, habitat, and other services they provide.

MBNEP is very grateful to AM/NS Calvert stewards for their long-term commitment to the environment and for committing to spend one day a month volunteering as an important part of the much larger effort to manage invasive species within the watershed.

We are in need of volunteer groups to help with a variety of programs. If your group or team is interested in protecting and restoring our area waters, please get in touch with us!

Three Mile Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control Plan (PDF, 9.2MB)

Posted on 02/14/20 at 12:54 PM Permalink

Western Shore Community Meetings for Watershed Management Planning

Date: January 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MOBILE BAY NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM IS HOLDING COMMUNITY MEETINGS TO SEEK INPUT FROM WESTERN SHORE RESIDENTS WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLANNING

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) is seeking input and feedback from citizens living along the Western Shore of Mobile Bay as a comprehensive plan to manage the care and use of its lands, habitats, shores, and waterways is developed. This focus area includes a complex of the three watersheds stretching along and draining into the Bay, from the industrial waterfront portions of the City of Mobile south to the Dauphin Island Causeway.

Anyone who lives, works, or plays in the Western Shore Complex is encouraged to attend, learn about the planning process and collection of data, and to express concerns and insights. Public input is critical to ensuring viewpoints of the people who know the area are addressed, problems are analyzed, and solutions and funding sources to pay for them are recommended.

The public is invited to Community meetings at locations along the Western Shore at dates and times listed below to provide opportunities to identify priorities and express hopes and concerns for maintaining or improving the quality of waters, habitats, and life there. Along with scientific studies to assess water quality, shoreline and habitat condition, and land use impacting Mobile Bay, public engagement is necessary to develop management strategies that include public priorities and address public concerns.

Community Meetings

  • Thursday, January 23 | 5:30-7:00 pm Elk’s Lodge, 2671 Dauphin Island Parkway, Mobile, AL
  • Monday, February 3 | 5:30-7:00 pm Pelican Reef, 11799 Dauphin Island Pkwy, Theodore, AL
  • Monday, February 10 | 5:30-7:00 Hollinger’s Island Baptist Church, 2450 Island Road, Mobile, AL

“We know Mobile Bay is a very special place to so many people,” said MBNEP Director Roberta Swann. “This Plan is about ensuring the Bay continues to provide recreational, scenic, economic, environmental, and other benefits to all who care about it. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s mission is to ensure the wise stewardship of the quality and living resources of Alabama’s estuarine waters. The Western Shore Complex Watershed Management Plan is a key element to our mission, and community participation is vital to its development. We hope every resident who cares about Mobile Bay’s Western Shore will turn out.”

“We hope many people from all Western Shore watersheds come out and share their ideas about our future,” said Debi Foster, a member of the Steering Committee for the Plan, “The more people who participate, the better job we can do to make sure the plan addresses everyone’s interests and concerns.” For more information, visit our Western Shore page or contact Herndon Graddick (hgraddick@mobilebaynep.com (251) 380 7944).

WSWMP Press Release (PDF)

Posted on 01/17/20 at 01:33 PM Permalink

Upcoming Western Shore meeting. Your input is needed!

Posted on 01/14/20 at 11:06 AM Permalink

Western Shore StoryMap is Live!

The Western Shore Watershed Management Plan StoryMap is now live. The StoryMap provides residents and stakeholders the ability to engage in watershed planning by learning about the landscape, the community, and the plan to protect our watershed. Viewers are encouraged to participate by clicking on, Tell Us What You Think, at the top of the page and answering a short series of questions. For more information, visit the Western Shore Watershed page.

Posted on 12/09/19 at 04:46 PM Permalink

RFQ - Mobile Tensaw Delta Watershed Management Planning

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS: The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program seeks a qualified environmental planning, engineering, natural resource planning, or other similar firm to prepare a Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for the Mobile Tensaw Delta complex of watersheds in Mobile and Baldwin counties, Alabama.

A Request for Qualifications process is being used to select a firm who can develop such a conceptual engineering master plan based on new and available data. A mandatory pre-submittal conference will be conducted at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 at the International Trade Center located at 250 N. Water Street, Mobile, AL 36602.  

 Statements must be received no later than 3:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 23rd, 2019. Inquiries should be directed to: Christian Miller, cmiller@mobilebaynep.com 251-459-8871. The most recent RFQ from MBNEP's Website.

Posted on 07/26/19 at 04:22 PM Permalink