The Volkert Team is intimately familiar with resources and issues needing attention within the Bon Secour Watershed. We recognize there are two distinct and unique watersheds within the project boundaries: 1) Bon Secour River and 2) Oyster Bay. However, our approach is to develop one comprehensive watershed management plan that will address both. It has been well documented through multiple studies that the Bon Secour Watershed has been significantly impacted by nonpoint source pollution, specifically siltation and turbidity, nutrient enrichment, and enteric bacteria contamination (AUMERC, 2004).
Impacts from construction, waterfront real estate development, and shoreline alterations from bulkheading and excavation for boat slips and piers have impacted water quality within the watershed. Without intervention, water quality and ecological habitats will continue to degrade. Implementation of best management practices designed to prevent erosion and treat urban runoff can slow and reverse negative water quality impacts and restore habitats in the Bon Secour River and Oyster Bay watersheds and Mobile Bay that provide the quality of life enjoyed by area residents (GSA, 2014).
We first propose to identify, recruit and establish a Bon Secour River Watershed Strategic Planning Work Group representing a cross-section of stakeholders to facilitate information-sharing and productive interactions among different sectors of the community that rely on the watershed’s resources. Throughout the process we will collaborate with MBNEP/City of Foley to develop messaging that links community needs and input to the project to foster community buy-in and project success. Also, we will seek to utilize the established local stakeholder engagement network, traditional media, and social media to share public input gathered at meetings with the larger community. This will include creating a database of community leaders/key stakeholders/property owners; implement an education and information program to enhance the public’s understanding of the value of a WMP through a series of public meetings; encourage the community to participate in watershed education workshops and cleanup events; and provide regular updates to the MBNEP/City of Foley committees to further facilitate idea exchange. The public meetings will allow stakeholders and public/property owners an opportunity to express their concerns and participate in exercises to identify areas of concern.