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

Dauphin Island “Trash Blows” Campaign Enters 2nd Year

Trash Blows - Don't Be Trashy Campaign Banner

Contact: Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, Deputy Director
Organization: Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Phone: 251-380-7944
Email: sbotop@mobilebaynep.com
Website: http://www.mobilebaynep.com
Date: July 18, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2019

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and the Town of Dauphin Island move the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo “Trash Blows” campaign into its second year

As you drive down to the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo this weekend, pay attention to the blue and white signs along Dauphin Island Parkway and heed their messages.  The Town of Dauphin Island and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) will continue the “Trash Blows” campaign for the second year at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR) to raise awareness about truck bed and boat trash to keep our coastal waterways clean.

Anglers and visitors to the ADSFR will see six highly visible banners emblazoned with a cartoon of trash blowing from the back of a pickup truck and trailered boat with the words: “Trash Blows…Stow it!” They will also see campaign-sized signs along Dauphin Island Parkway reminding north and south-bound traffic to stow their trash where it won’t become a roadside eyesore.

Yellow mesh trash bags for use on boats are available with the purchase of ADSFR tickets at partner businesses and the Liar’s Contest. Tee-shirts and other prizes will be given to anyone who visits the MBNEP Trash Blows table in the tent and with a social media post (Facebook, Instagram) showing any litter cleanup activity with the hashtag #trashblows.

For the second consecutive year, the ADSFR will feature recycling receptacles along with trash bins. This year, Osprey Initiative will oversee recycling, sorting and appropriately directing materials to recycling processors with the help of Thompson Engineering’s Eco-Team. Osprey, who has gained local attention for the installation of portable Litter Gitter trash collection devices in Dog River and Three Mile Creek, will display and sell truck bed trash receptacles in the tent.

The mission of the MBNEP is to promote the wise stewardship of the quality and living resources of Alabama’s estuarine waters. MBNEP Director Roberta Swann is excited about the campaign, and as a Coden resident who lives on DIP, she felt last year’s first Trash Blows campaign at the ADSFR made a real impact on this audience of sportsmen and women. “As a wife and mom of hardcore fishermen, I understand the importance of protecting the waters that make the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo so much fun and so successful. It’s important that those who most appreciate a resource understand ways that they can work to sustain it. I think the Trash Blows campaign raised awareness last year, and I’m optimistic that we’ll finish the weekend having created a few more stewards.”

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Posted on 07/17/19 at 08:45 AM Permalink

The 2019 Spring/Summer Newsletter has been released!

Posted on 06/12/19 at 08:20 AM Permalink

Three Mile Creek - Invasive Species Control Plan

Total Invasive Species Coverage

THREE MILE CREEK WATERSHED
Invasive Species Control Plan

Download Report (PDF, 8.9MB)

Three Mile Creek is a tributary of the Mobile River and drains approximately 30.1 sq. mi. through a mix of residential, commercial, industrial, and undeveloped sections of Mobile and Prichard, Alabama. The area includes habitat-rich wooded wetlands supporting a broad diversity of freshwater, estuarine, and marine species, along with highly urbanized areas.

Competition among species is a natural part of any ecosystem, but introduction of exotic species can disrupt intricate balances and relationships evolved over thousands of years among native species and their communities. These invasions often cause a loss of biological diversity within both the plant and animal communities (Vitousek 1990). To prevent this loss of biological diversity and improve water quality, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program requested development of an Invasive Species Control Plan for the Watershed.

The purpose of this Invasive Species Control Plan is to remove or control invasive plant and animal species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed, based upon available and survey data.

In order to provide a quantitative evaluation of invasive species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed, the Team used a plot-based sampling design to document invasive and native species and their locations within major waterway corridors. Spring and fall field surveys were completed to coincide with peak visibility of target species and to maximize positive identification through flowers or other diagnostic features.

The surveyed waterways included the entire run of the main channel of Three Mile Creek, extending from its headwaters downstream to approximately 1 km from the confluence with the Mobile River. A total of 368 sites were sample and equaled an area of 304,200 m2 (75.2 acres), or approximately 9.3% of the riparian area of the Three Mile Creek Watershed (810 acres).

From the survey, a total of 43 invasive plant species and two invasive animal species were quantified within the Three Mile Creek Watershed during the two sampling events. The five invasive plant species most frequently observed in the plots on a presence/absence basis were Chinese tallow tree, alligatorweed, Chinese privet, cogongrass, and Japanese climbing fern. The most prevalent invasive animal observed was the island apple snail.

From this data, watershed-wide and species-specific control applications were developed to control invasive species within the Three Mile Creek Watershed. The plan is broken into eight key areas for implementation and should be followed as listed below.

  1. Obtain access to large parcels within the Watershed for invasive control efforts
  2. Strategy 1. Manage and protect existing intact native communities
  3. Strategy 2. Target high or moderate density non-native invasive communities
  4. Strategy 3. Continue and expand island apple snail removals
  5. Use budgeting tool and species location maps to prioritize site selection
  6. Reestablish native plant communities in riparian areas
  7. Continue monitoring the Watershed to detect new invasive species while they are present in low numbers
  8. Conduct community outreach regarding invasive species detection and control

Download Full Report (PDF, 8.9MB)

Posted on 05/15/19 at 08:34 PM Permalink