As our time as AmeriCorps Patrol and Monitoring Members is coming to a close, we wanted to reflect back on our amazing nine months with Mobile Baykeeper and give you all a little insight into what we have accomplished and everything we have learned along the way.
This year, we have been able to cultivate more than 1,000 volunteers and reach over 15,000 members of our community. For both of us, this was a dream come true!
There was nothing more rewarding than watching these students grow into promising environmental stewards by making changes in their own lives, encouraging their family and friends to make better choices, and pursuing environmental studies and careers. With so many achievements being conquered this past year with Mobile Baykeeper’s Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program, we hope SWAMP becomes even more successful and inspiring for years to come.
I know 50 is here as the AARP membership application ominously arrives in my mail box and it finally occurred to me to put moisturizer on my face.
Even with the obvious aging signs, I’m a celebrate-rather-than-worry kind of birthday person, so I would like to share a review of my Joys, Challenges and a Birthday Wish for us to band together to focus on what the next 50 years can bring.
Mobile Baykeeper is dedicated to keeping Mobile Bay clean - that means swimmable, fishable, and fun-able! Check out these five ways you can enjoy our waterways this weekend.
Meet our new Administrator, Emilee Foster!
Over the past 25 years, AmeriCorps has evolved to meet changing community needs while continuing to develop its members into leaders. AmeriCorps, essentially a domestic version of the Peace Corps, has touched the lives of millions of Americans - many of them here in Alabama. The Governor's Office of Volunteer Services connects AmeriCorps Members to local service organizations such as Mobile Baykeeper, whose own AmeriCorps Members just wrapped up their 2018-2019 term.
Meet Celeste- One of our patrol interns!
I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting the environment and our natural resources when I was seven years old… Then I found Mobile Baykeeper and I knew it was the organization I wanted to start my professional career with.
Meet Sierra- One of our Communications Interns!
Following an alarming video posted to Facebook late Saturday night, Mobile Baykeeper has done what they do best: investigate potential pollution. Executive Director Casi Callaway received the video on Sunday and called Fairhope Utilities to report a potential sewage spill. On Monday, Program Director Cade Kistler, Program Coordinator Meredith Diskin, and AmeriCorps Patrol member Sarah Asher went out to investigate. Today they were able to read the water samples they took, which all showed bacteria levels below the EPA threshold. The identification of the substance remains unclear.
Meet Alana- One of our Patrol Interns!
It’s summertime again, and we all know what that means: it’s time for one of Mobile Baykeeper’s favorite events! Join us this Wednesday July 24th at Cooper Riverside Park 5pm-9pm to participate in some of the most fun you’ll have this summer. Tickets are on sale now for $20. Tickets include entrance to the festival along with drink tickets to be used on beverages of your choice, including SweetWater beer or Coca-Cola products. Your ticket includes 3 beers, but if you buy in advance online, you an extra beer!
Meet Kylie- One of our Communications Interns!
Meet Laura-one of our patrol interns!
Mobile Baykeeper is hosting the Bay Bites Food Truck Festival on Wednesday, July 24 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cooper Riverside Park. Bay Bites is an annual event featuring a variety of different cuisine from the area’s best food trucks, craft beer provided by Sweetwater Brewing Company, live music by Yellowhammer, and lawn games on the beautiful riverfront of downtown Mobile.
The Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recently announced that it will extend the comment period an additional 30 days for the Mobile Harbor Integrated Final General Evaluation Report (GRR) with Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the ship channel environmental impact study. The agency comment period closing date is now extended to Thursday, July 18, 2019.
From an early age, I learned that by serving others first I singlehandedly have the ability to improve the quality of life of the people and places around me, which in turn betters my community as a whole – one person or one challenge at a time.
One of my first tasks at Mobile Baykeeper was to write a blog about myself and what brought me to the organization. It was titled “My Circle of Life”. I described how growing up in Scottsdale, AZ made me curious and in awe of water, how that awe drove my studies in undergrad and graduate school, and how that knowledge turned into passion, which lead me straight to Mobile Baykeeper.
Today, I have to announce that we are losing two of our best and brightest. Justine Herlihy, Development Director, and Laura Stone, Program and Grants Coordinator, have accepted new positions at other organizations. While the loss is hard for Mobile Baykeeper, these smart, incredible women are stretching into new challenges as they continue to advocate passionately for their personal missions.
Four Alabama environmental organizations have released new interactive maps highlighting groundwater pollution reported by Alabama Power and Power South at coal ash pits throughout the state. Alabama Power’s federally required monitoring shows significant pollution of groundwater with arsenic, radium, and more. Pollution has persisted even after Alabama Power closed their leaking Gadsden pit using cap-in-place - the same method it plans for millions of tons of coal ash in their pits statewide.
So far every one of our results has been well below the EPA threshold for swimming advisories! This is great news for Grandman swimmers and Mobile Bay lovers alike. The final bacteria sample will be taken on Thursday May 30th and analyzed at Mobile Baykeeper’s lab in Mobile. Results will be available on Friday May 31st (the day before the race) midday. Mobile Baykeeper will make the final call on the swim course based on the results of this sample.
Whatever it was, I knew that one day I was determined to be on the other side of that finish line. Every Grandman racer has their own story to tell – their motivation, struggles, triumphs, and everything that comes in between – and this year I’m excited to begin writing my own. Hopefully it will be the first of many chapters to come in my full-circle Grandman journey.
Alabama Power currently plans to cap-in-place all their coal ash pits statewide. We at Mobile Baykeeper maintain that this is not an effective solution - and now we have Alabama Power’s own reports, as well as a maximum fine from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), to back us up.
Mobile Baykeeper started Swim Where It’s Monitored (SWIM), a program through which local communities can sponsor bacteriological monitoring at sites of their choosing. Once a week during warmer (swim season) months, and once a month during winter, the Baykeeper AmeriCorps Patrol Team collects water quality data at each of these sponsored sites.
rsenic and radium are still leaking from Plant Gadsden’s unlined coal ash pit after Alabama Power closed it using the cap-in-place method. This is the same method the utility plans to use for Plant Barry’s coal ash pit, located just 25 miles north of Mobile on the Mobile River. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) proposed the maximum fine of $250,000 for Alabama Power’s violations at Plant Gadsden.
The Publix Grandman Triathlon benefits two local nonprofits: Mobile Baykeeper and myTEAM TRIUMPH. myTEAM TRIUMPH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit assisted athletic program with chapters across the United States that believes that every person, regardless of disabilities, deserves to experience the joy of crossing the finish line.
Today is Endangered Species Day! Did you know that Mobile and Baldwin Counties are home to 23 species on the Threatened or Endangered Species List? Learn all about them on our blog!
Read more about the overview of 2018 Sanitary Sewage Overflows in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Find out what the top causes for spills were and the waterways most impacted by these spills.
Join us in "Energizing Eslava!" We'll be cleaning up Eslava Creek for Alabama Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 21 from 8 am to noon. Please wear outdoor clothes and boots. We are going to be climbing down into a shallow creek in some parts and will only have a limited supply of waders. We will offer snacks and cleanup supplies. Meet in the southeast corner (near the intersection of Springdale Blvd. and Emogene) of the WalMart Supercenter parking lot: 101 East Interstate 65 Service Rd. S, Mobile, AL, and we will split into clean up groups from there. Thank you for helping support our mission for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities. For questions, contact Ryann Wilcoxon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mobile Baykeeper will host an Apple Snail Roundup at Langan Park on Saturday, October 5 9am-11am. Apple Snails are an invasive species that destroy habitat by eating vegetation along streams and river banks. They reproduce at an alarming rate and are able to survive our mild winters. Volunteers will help find and capture adult and juvenile apple snails, as well as remove apple snail eggs. Volunteers with canoes, kayaks, or small boats are a huge plus! Please wear comfortable clothes that you do not mind getting a little dirty. Cleanup tools, safety items, and drinks are provided.
Join us for an evening of socializing and delicious local oysters provided by Mobile Oyster Company. James Beard award-winning Chef Ryan Prewitt, of Peche - New Orleans, will be serving a variety of mouth-watering oyster poboys for your enjoyment. They'll pair perfectly with the flavors of Mobile's very own Haint Blue Brewing Co.
Bay Bash is an annual celebration of the beauty, health, and heritage of Mobile Bay and our coastal communities. The event features delicious local seafood from chefs, caterers, and restaurants in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, cocktails, live music, and a silent auction all along the Mobile River.
Mobile Baykeeper is an environmental community organization working to provide citizens a means to protect the beauty, health, and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities.
Did you miss Bay Awakening this year? Watch our video - "Protecting What You Love: Mobile Bay" to learn more about how we protect what you love and work for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities!
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