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Press Release

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting in Mobile to Discuss Gulf Health

July 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    CONTACT: Phillip Hinesley
July 28, 2009                                                                                                                        251-621-1216
 
Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting in Mobile to Discuss Gulf Health
Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, will join officials from the four other Gulf states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico in Mobile for a meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) to address the health of the Gulf Region.

The three-day event, set for Aug. 4-6 at the Battle House Hotel, will be used as a venue to discuss implementation of the 2009 Governor’s Action Plan which outlines key steps and priorities for the Alliance over the next five years. Supported by each of the five Gulf State governors, the plan aims to enhance community resilience, promote environmental education, support habitat restoration, reduce nutrient inputs to coastal waters, mitigate impacts to water quality, and identify and characterize Gulf ecosystems.

The Alliance recognizes climate change, the Gulf economy, ecosystem health and water quality as the four major challenges for the Gulf Region. By working to organize and implement accurate mapping, tide level predictions, resilient land use plans, and habitat conservation and restoration, the Alliance aims to increase communities’ ability to “bounce back” after storm events.

Other Alliance activities involve increasing awareness of the connection between the environment and our health by coordinating effective water quality testing and communicating the risks of exposure to mercury from fish and harmful algal blooms. The Alliance is working to reduce nutrient inputs to decrease the dead/hypoxic zone. Through the use of a sediment master plan, dredged material will be used for the most crucial restoration projects.

“The health of the Gulf of Mexico is of utmost importance to the people of Alabama as well as the nation,” Lawley said. “Gov. Bob Riley felt compelled to sign the Governor’s Action Plan to ensure that Alabamians and visitors alike continue to benefit from the state’s pristine beaches, diverse marine environment and bountiful recreational and commercial activities connected with the Gulf. These valuable natural resources can only be conserved through the dedicated stewardship of our citizens and groups like the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. ”

Lawley will join Dr. Bill Walker, Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and Bryon Griffith, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program, for a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 5 at the Battle House Hotel.

The second Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy & Resilient Coasts builds upon the successes of the previous effort and sets specific actions necessary for a healthy economy and ecology for the Gulf of Mexico. The regional meeting enables federal, state, non-profit, business, education, and research members of the Alliance to come together to solidify a course of action. Visit www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org for more information.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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