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Gulf of Mexico Program Honors Pensacola Bay Restoration

PENSACOLA, FL, August 5, 2004 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Project GreenShores, the $2 million public-private partnership to restore marine habitat in Pensacola Bay, today received national recognition. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program honored Project GreenShores with the First Place Gulf Guardian Award, which recognizes outstanding projects that restore and protect the nation’s Gulf of Mexico coastal environment.

“Restoration of this sensitive coastal area through community partnership serves as a national model,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Allan Bedwell. “Project GreenShores improves the health of the bay and contributes to the local economy by preserving and enhancing one of Pensacola’s most cherished natural resources.”

Project GreenShores was launched in 2001 to restore 15 acres of salt marsh off the coast of the Pensacola. More than 20,000 tons of recycled concrete and limestone rock form a man-made reef, which safeguards aquatic plants from wave damage and provides the foundation for seven acres of oyster habitat. The reef also provides a rest stop for migratory and local birds and shelters a diversity of marine life.

“This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners encapsulate the essence of the Gulf of Mexico Program and our efforts to attain environmental solutions in concert with economic growth,” said Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith. “Environmental successes are exponential when you bring the resources of many to the table, as the 2004 winners have so successfully demonstrated.”

Project GreenShores is managed by DEP and supported by more than 60 local and national entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the City of Pensacola and Escambia County. Volunteers have also played an important role with more than 300 volunteers contributing 800 hours of work to the restoration.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to recognize and honor businesses, community groups, individuals and agencies taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Project GreenShores, which was also honored in 2003 by the United States Navy with a Coastal America Partnership Award, is one of only 19 projects selected for the 2004 Gulf Guardian Award.

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CONTACT: Linda Long, (850) 245-2112

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