Alabama Leads the Charge in the Gulf of Mexico Restoration Effort with the
100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama Partnership
-- Coalition to Build 100 Miles of Oyster Reefs and Plant and Promote 1,000 Acres of Marsh--
Mobile, AL (Sept. 15, 2010) A coalition of leading environmental organizations has unveiled plans for a major Gulf restoration project with the launch of 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama Partnership (www.100-1000.org
). Alabama Coastal Foundation, Mobile Baykeeper, The Nature Conservancy and The Ocean Foundation officially launched the project as a significant first step in restoring the coast of Alabama and struggling coastal economies via a public-private partnership.
Aiming to reverse years of damage from pollution, storms and most recently the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, the partnership will collaborate to build 100 miles of oyster reefs and plant and promote the growth of 1,000 acres of marsh. Mobile Bay has seen significant loss of marsh, seagrass and oyster reef habitats through development practices, erosion, storm events and most recently, the impacts of the Gulf oil spill. These challenges make Mobile Bay one of the largest potential areas for outright restoration, replacement and enhancement of lost habitats on the Northern Gulf coast.
The 100-1000 Partnership aims to kick start coastal restoration over the next three to five years, making Alabama coastal areas more resilient to impacts from hurricanes, oil spills or climate change. While critical to rebuilding habitat for quick fish stock recovery, the project will also aid in combating stormwater runoff issues and nitrogen pollution.
In addition to providing a foundation to rebuild local businesses and economies that depend on the resources of the Bay, the 100-1000 initiative can provide jobs for part of the Alabama workforce idled by the oil spill. Crews will be needed to construct and deploy the artificial oyster reefs. Volunteers will form another important component of the project by helping to plant critical marsh grasses and aiding in habitat restoration.
Coalition organizers identified several next steps and developments in the rollout of the project:
- Next month the 100-1000 Partnership will begin installing 700 feet of oyster reef and submerged breakwaters at Helen Wood Park, AL;
- Funding will be a major focus in the coming months. The J.L. Bedsole Foundation has announced that it will provide seed funding for the first phase of the 100-1000 project. Additional preliminary funding has been provided by the Hearin-Chandler Foundation, the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, the Crampton Trust and the Cole Foundation Trust; and
- A number of local and regional organizations have signed on as initial supporters of the project including the Coastal Conservation Association of Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.
For more information about 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama Partnership, please go to the following sites: