Mobile, AL- Alma Bryant High School students have been oyster gardening for six years now and through a grant funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center (NOAA CSC) in support of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the students are able to continue their important service.

Funding will go towards an expansion of the current oyster gardening program where the existing volunteers will train the next generation of volunteers through public workshops and presentations at local schools. Besides training, education on issues that affect the Mobile Bay Watershed will be addressed with the goal of increased awareness and stewardship of healthy sustainable shellfish beds.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Education is one of the six priority issues that the Alliance has addressed as regionally significant. In order to effectively engage this priority, the GOMA Environmental Education Network received a grant from NOAA’s Coastal Services Center to fund Gulf-wide environmental education projects. Alma Bryant High School received funding due to its proposal of education and outreach to address water quality through its oyster gardening program; which is directly related to GOMA’s water quality priority issue.

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Background of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and Grant Information:

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership, initiated in 2004, by the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The five U.S. Gulf States have identified six initial priority issues that are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels. Recipients of the DISL NOAA CSC grant must involve environmental education (6th Priority) in at least one of the following priority issue areas:

  1. Quality for Healthy Beaches and Shellfish Beds;
  2. Wetland and Coastal Conservation and Restoration;
  3. Identification and Characterization of Gulf Habitats;
  4. Reducing Nutrient Inputs to Coastal Ecosystems; and
  5. Coastal Community Resiliency

To view the current Governors’ Action Plan, a copy may be downloaded from www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), on behalf of the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Coastal Section, wrote and successfully received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center (NOAA CSC) for environmental education with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). This grant, if appropriated, allows for three years of consecutive funding for Gulf-wide environmental education.

The grant will provide $45,000 per U.S. Gulf State and provide individual project or program grants that are chosen with funding between $5,000 and $20,000. Projects/programs that receive the grant must produce outcomes relative to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Governors’ Action Plan environmental education priority issues.