FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2017
Contact: Casi (kc) Callaway, 251-433-4229. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mobile Baykeeper awarded $56,000 Grant from NOAA to implement Marine Debris Removal Project during Mardi Gras 2018-2019
(Mobile, Ala.) – Mobile Baykeeper has been awarded a federal grant in the amount of $56,013 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to facilitate a marine debris removal project during Mardi Gras 2018 and 2019 carnival seasons. The NOAA Marine Debris Program removal grants offer funding that supports local, community-driven projects which benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and wildlife.
The goal of the project is to help the City of Mobile “Move Toward a Litter-Free Mardi Gras” by organizing a series of large-scale debris removals on One Mile Creek, implementing an extensive media campaign to raise public awareness, and purchasing additional temporary litter barriers and concrete inlet screens to cover storm drains along parade routes.
“Three years ago, we installed 150 catch basin screens on storm drains along the Mardi Gras parade route and in the downtown area,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “We applaud Mobile Baykeeper for continuing this effort to prevent litter and safeguard our precious waterways. While our City employees work diligently to clean 10 miles of streets following every Mardi Gras parade, these cleanups will address a neglected waterway and restore it to its historic significance.”
Mobile Baykeeper Executive Director Casi (kc) Callaway believes this campaign will help Mobilians think twice about the impact that Mardi Gras litter has on the environment. “Mardi Gras is a very special and fun occasion for our city, but it also raises a huge problem – litter in our streets and waterways,” she said. “Many of the items thrown in parades are left on the ground to wash into our storm drains and pollute nearby rivers and creeks. This project will enable us to remove a significant amount of marine debris from One Mile Creek.”
One Mile Creek, a tributary of the Three Mile Creek Watershed which contains a high amount of biodiversity, is located near the downtown area and therefore receives an excessive amount of litter from urban stormwater runoff due to the city’s aging infrastructure. This problem is even worse during busy downtown events like Mardi Gras, and has larger implications because the creek flows into Three Mile Creek before eventually draining into the Mobile River and beyond to Mobile Bay and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
Baykeeper will partner with a number of local organizations throughout the duration of this project, including the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (NEP), who guided the development of the Three Mile Creek Watershed Management Plan in 2014. Roberta Swann, director of the NEP, believes restoring this watershed is vitally important for a number of reasons. “Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is looking forward to continuing its assault on trash in the Three Mile Creek Watershed and working alongside Mobile Baykeeper to eradicate trash in One Mile Creek, restoring the beauty of its habitats for birds, fish, and recreation,” she said.
Prior cleanups at One Mile Creek have also revealed medium-sized debris such as barrels and tires which cannot be removed safely without technical assistance. To address this issue, Mobile Baykeeper will partner with Thompson Engineering to organize extensive cleanups aimed to remove large-scale debris from the creek using a barge and a variety of other boats.
“Our environmental expertise is centered on water quality, from coastal and stream restoration to stormwater management and training,” said Thompson Engineering President & CEO John Baker. “We’re excited to partner with Mobile Baykeeper, Mobile Bay NEP, and the City of Mobile on this project as we continue our commitment to clean water and a clean environment.”
To generate public awareness, Baykeeper will implement a media campaign across broadcast, radio, social, digital, and print platforms leading up to and throughout the three-week duration of Mardi Gras. With the project slated to begin next month, Callaway and the rest of the Baykeeper team want the community to know that they actively support Mardi Gras but hope this campaign will encourage citizens to celebrate more responsibly.
“We love Mardi Gras just as much as anyone in Mobile and think it’s a great way to celebrate the history of our wonderful city. We also need to think responsibly while celebrating and realize the impacts it has on our environment.”
For more information, please visit mobilebaykeeper.org or call 251-433-4229.
Mobile Baykeeper is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that works to provide citizens a means to protect the beauty, health and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities. To learn more about Mobile Baykeeper, please visit www.mobilebaykeeper.org