MASGC Project Impacts

Sea Grant support to communities in the CRS Program saves an estimated $123,307 in flood insurance premiums

Relevance:

Coastal municipalities face unique planning challenges related to flooding, both from the region’s high annual rainfall totals and propensity for coastal storms. City land use planners and floodplain managers often lack the broad base of knowledge to develop a more holistic approach to flooding and flood mitigation.

Response:

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) outreach team worked extensively with local floodplain managers through its partnership with Coastal Hazard Outreach Strategy Team (C-HOST), MASGC crafted continuing education activities, workshops, and flood outreach projects which resulted in securing CRS credits.

Results:

In 2016, MASGC partnered with the Association of State Floodplain Managers to convene a No Adverse Impact Workshop in Biloxi, Mississippi. In its interactions with C-HOST, MASGC provided technical assistance by organizing monthly meetings. MASGC has managed the logistics for flood outreach events, such as the Home Product Show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, the annual Edgewater Mall outreach event in Biloxi and a presentation at the Realtors General Membership meeting. MASGC also provided assistance to the city of Biloxi in creating and implementing its Program for Public Information (PPI). 

Recap:

MASGC saved an estimated $123,307 in flood insurance premiums for coastal communities through assisting them with activities in the CRS Program which also reduced their vulnerability to flooding. Through a well-established partnership with C-HOST, MASGC was able to support numerous flood outreach activities and training opportunities, allowing participating CRS communities to improve their overall rating. (2016)

Low-impact development ordinances encourage Smart Growth practices in the D’Olive Watershed

Relevance:

Non-point source pollution is a significant contributor to water quality degradation and can diminish the chance to pursue meaningful stream restoration. Impervious cover in the D’Olive Watershed in Alabama in increasing, and there is more stormwater runoff and changes to drainage patterns. Erosion and sedimentation concerns in the watershed’s stream network and in D’Olive Bay and Mobile Bay, its receiving waters, have escalated.

Response:

The D’Olive Watershed Working Group (DWWG), a coalition of federal, state and local agencies, property owners, developers and commercial interests, completed a comprehensive watershed management plan (WMP) in 2010. On the plan’s recommendation, the D’Olive Intergovernmental Task Force (DITF) was formed in 2011 and has been strategically implementing management measures set forth in the plan. Communities within the watershed include the cities of Daphne and Spanish Fort. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program have partnered to facilitate the DITF since its inception.

Results:

Through MASGC and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program outreach programs for the D’Olive Intergorvernmental Task Force, Daphne and Spanish Fort adopted  consistent design guidance ordinances to encourage low-impact development (LID)/green infrastructure techniques in effort to minimize impervious cover in future developments within the watershed. In 2016, the City of Spanish Fort enacted new subdivision regulations which allow for low-impact development as an option in future construction.

Recap:

The City of Spanish Fort, Alabama, adopted new subdivision regulations to allow future development in the D’Olive Watershed to incorporate smart growth concepts and minimize impacts of impervious cover.

U.S. fish feed production becomes more economically competitive and environmentally sustainable due to Sea Grant-supported activities

Relevance:

Taurine is a nutrient required in the diet of many fish species. Although taurine has traditionally been supplied to the fish via fishmeal, scrutiny over the sustainability of fishmeal as a major source of protein has pushed researchers and industry toward using alternative protein sources, such as plants. However, plants contain no taurine, and feeds using high levels of plant protein must be supplemented with taurine to avoid a deficiency detrimental to the growth and health of the animal. Because taurine is not approved for use in fish feeds in the United States, feed manufacturers are forced to use higher levels of fishmeal, which results in higher prices and is widely recognized as unsustainable. Additionally, U.S. feed manufacturers  cannot compete on the international feed market, since taurine is approved everywhere else in the world.

Response:

MASGC-supported researchers examined information on the efficacy and safety of crystalline taurine used in fish feeds and conducted research to fill knowledge gaps. They petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to amend the current taurine definition to include fish.

Results:

Crystalline taurine was both efficacious and safe to use in fish feeds. The FDA and AAFCO approved the use of taurine on Jan. 18, 2017. Feed manufacturers can now include crystalline taurine in their formulation, further reduce use of fishmeal and other animal proteins to reduce cost, and improve sustainability of their feeds. They can better compete with other feed manufacturers around the world. 

Recap:

Due to MASGC supported activities, U.S. fish feed manufacturers are able to produce fish feeds that are more sustainable, lower in production costs and more competitive on the international market. (2016)

Integrated program expands oyster farming industry in Alabama

Relevance:

The Gulf Coast oyster industry has suffered a number of setbacks, both natural and manmade, that are challenging an industry built around inexpensive, plentiful oysters. Off-bottom oyster farming for the high-value, half-shell niche market provides an opportunity for Gulf residents to create jobs, provide high quality oysters for the marketplace and improves the environment.

Response:

Sea Grant-funded scientists, extension staff and legal staff created an integrated program utilizing translational research and outreach programs on production methods and best management practices. 

Results:

Based on a situation and outlook survey of 2016 farms, nine of 13 permitted farms reported 18.1 acres of production with total annual sales of almost $2 million. More than 2.8 million oysters were produced on 18.1 acres. The nine farms who responded to the survey employed 20 full time employees and 10 part-time employees.

Recap:

The Alabama oyster farming industry is valued at $2,000,000 per year and employs more than 30 people. (2016)

Thousands of P-12 students increase their understanding of healthy coastal ecosystems, fisheries and resilience through place-based hands-on learning

Relevance:

Place-based educational opportunities increase marine and environmental science knowledge and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy through direct experiences in coastal environments. The experiences increase student understanding of how coastal sciences and research enhance quality of life, promote sustainability of coastal resources and help individuals make responsible decisions concerning coastal resources.

Response:

MASGC-supported environmental centers in Mississippi and Alabama (Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Environmental Studies Center, and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory) implemented programs of varying length (1-4 hours) for P-12 students. Specific program topics ranged from estuarine ecology to marine technology and included the practice of science, technology, engineering and math skills. Experiential programs were developed in conjunction with the national and state educational standards.

Results:

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Academic Year program, Mobile County Public Schools’ Environmental Studies Center’s (ESC) Project SEA ICE (Special Enrichment Activities in Coastal Ecology) and environmental education programs and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab’s Marine Education Center’s Coastal Sciences Camps and Miss Peetsy-B Bayou Tours resulted in 16,467 P-12 students actively engaged in field experiences aboard boats, in salt marshes, at beaches, in forests and in other coastal habitats with wildlife. These experiences increased their understanding and appreciation of these habitats or organisms and developed science, technology, engineering and math skills, including authentic methods of data collection and interpretation. At the ESC, pre- and post-trip environmental knowledge data shows that student knowledge increased by 20 percent after the one-day program. Pre- and post-testing of students participating in DISL’s Academic Year classes showed a statistically significant increase (n=1,232, p<0.0001) in content knowledge, averaging a 30-percent gain.

Recap:

More than 16,000 students increased their environmental literacy and improved their STEM skills by participating in field-based education experiences through Missisippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium-supported programs at three environmental centers. (2016)

Workforce development through graduate education

Relevance:

Graduate education is a significant component of MASGC’s annual budget. Graduates go on to land jobs in academia, industry and environmental non-profit organizations.  

Response:

During the 2016-2017 reporting period, two Ph.D. degrees and three master's degrees were awarded. Based on literature values, the value of a master's degree is valued at $584,881 and a Ph.D. is valued at $1,315,982 over the course of a 30-year career. 

Results:

The economic impact of graduate education was $4,386,607. This value is based on a 30-year career and therefore will only be reported one time.

Recap:

MASGC support for graduate education is valued at $4,386,607. (2016)