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.
August 26th, 2019
Earlier this week, as most folks hunkered down in an attempt to stay dry, the Mobile Baykeeper team loaded up sampling equipment and our drone, and headed out into a storm to protect Mobile Bay. Two staff members covered a collective distance of nearly 100 wet miles, climbing in and out of steep gullies and muddy creeks at 11 locations. For six rainy hours, we traversed both Mobile and Baldwin Counties, inspecting construction sites.
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.
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.
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.
Today marks the 9-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when over 200 million gallons of oil surged through the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. The State of Alabama released an excellent progress report last year noting dollars spent on restoration, projects moving forward, data being collected, and prospects for the future. The more challenging part to explain is what it took to get here.
The City of Mobile is updating its zoning code. They are asking for your comments until this Friday, March 8th and we need you to voice your support of our natural resources!
It’s that time of year again… Carnival season and king cakes! Which means Mobile Baykeeper is launching into our second year of the Litter-Free Mardi Gras campaign and we invite YOU to join us!
Alabamians deserve clean water just as much as other citizens in the Southeast. Leaving toxic coal ash within a few hundred feet of a major river that is prone to severe flooding is simply nowhere near protective enough. Mobile Baykeeper will fight ardently for coal ash removal until Alabama Power commits to dig it up and move it so Mobile Bay, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, our local economy, and our communities are safe.
With over 1,500 people educated, 40 presentations given, and 715 surveys taken since September, SWAMP is off to an amazing start! We are extremely excited to bring watershed awareness and education to Mobile and Baldwin counties and are working hard to reach as many students and citizens as possible.
A proposed rule change was announced today that would strip the Clean Water Act of important protections. Allowing this proposed rule change would let industrial facilities, sewage plants, and developers impact many previously protected creeks and fill wetlands without restrictions, harming our local economy and way of life.
The team at Mobile Baykeeper is smart enough to never tell you how to vote, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t encourage you to think about clean water before you vote.
Find out the questions to ask yourself and once you know the answers to those questions, make your decision and VOTE.
Dauphin Island is a charming town nestled between Mobile Bay and the Gulf. As this fragile island continues to develop we must make thoughtful decisions to ensure the treasured heritage of the island is passed on for future generations to enjoy.
Currently a proposed development threatens the island. The developer plans to build condominiums, and a large commercial marina in Aloe Bay. This project, planned on a fragile undeveloped shallow bay, will destroy wetlands and fill in water bottoms home to several important species. After reviewing the proposal and talking with community members, Mobile Baykeeper is urging the Corps to DENY this proposal.
Hurricane Florence did not directly impact the Gulf Coast, but this catastrophic storm highlighted critical weaknesses of coal ash ponds in coastal areas. This summer we caught up on coal ash and explained the dangers of this toxic material including the grave dangers of having a coal ash pond in a floodplain near the coast just upstream of Mobile Bay. Today we look at the threats of coal ash pollution in a post-Florence world.
Mobile Baykeeper submitted a comment letter on the study released by the Corps on the Mobile Ship Channel expansion project. The letter was on behalf of Mobile Baykeeper’s 4,500 members, Board, the Peninsula of Mobile, and Conservation Alabama. Hundreds of community members, several community groups, and local scientists also submitted their own comment letters. The common thread among the letters was the need for the Corps to address major flaws in the study to ensure our natural resources are protected.
The Corps is studying plans to deepen and widen the Mobile Ship Channel. Currently the study concludes “no impacts” will result from deepening and widening the Mobile Ship Channel. After speaking with local experts, community members, and doing our own research - the study is inadequate and likely underestimates the impacts to our precious natural resources. We need you to take action and submit comments by 5pm, Monday Sept 17th.
The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a public meeting on the proposed deepening and widening of the Mobile Harbor Ship Channel on Sept. 11th. Check out these talking points so you can come to the meeting prepared. Your attendance is important!