MASGC Project Impacts

Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative outreach efforts help integrate SLR science into coastal decision-making

Relevance:

Sea-level rise (SLR) is a critical hazard facing coastal ecosystems, communities and economies. Effective and efficient communication across the science-to-stewardship continuum is necessary for successful resilience. However, the science around SLR is expanding at a rapid pace. Local and regional planners and natural resource managers cannot keep up with the advancements in science. 

Response:

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, a program supported by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, worked with researchers in the partnership to integrate new sea-level rise science into decision-making with natural resource management and coastal community planning. The cooperative has been socializing this new information across the northern Gulf participating in Tool Cafes, giving individual webinars, giving presentations at conferences, hosting workshops and spreading the word via various social media platforms and partner networks.

Results:

New SLR science is being integrated across a variety of sectors in the northern Gulf. For example, a recent marsh restoration design accounted for SLR utilizing the latest projections because of Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative discussions and training efforts with local consultants. The Florida counties of Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla are using the updated SLR model on changing coastlines and storm surge due to SLR in place of previously used models as a direct result of the cooperative’s workshops, private webinars and integration into the cooperative’s network of experts.

Recap:

Efforts to socialize new SLR science has led to application in community planning and natural resource management. (2017)

Coastal stewardship training increases knowledge, facilitates environmentally focused volunteer service

Relevance:

Many environmentally conscious individuals are eager to learn more about their local flora and fauna and would like to participate in environment-based volunteer service opportunities, but these opportunities are often difficult to find.

Response:

The Mississippi Master Naturalist Program was formed with the mission of developing an organization of knowledgeable volunteers to help promote conservation and management of Mississippi’s natural resources through education, outreach and service within their communities.

Results:

In 2016, the Mississippi Master Naturalist Program held a basic training course for the program’s coastal chapter and certified 13 individuals. According to pre- and post-test assessments, the participants’ environmental knowledge improved an average of 10 percent. Post-course evaluations showed that 100 percent of the students gained knowledge, 100 percent of the students intended to apply their newly gained knowledge and 100 percent of the students gained knowledge about collaborating with resource professionals. Total cost of the Master Naturalist course (with CEUs) is $240 and completion of the course qualifies participants for 4 CEU credits ($60 per CEU). A similar plant ID course offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service costs $1,195 and is worth 3 CEUs ($398.33 per CEU). Based on the comparison between the two programs on a per CEU basis, the Mississippi Master Naturalist program offered $17,593.16 in comparable savings. In 2016, program participants documented 2,090 volunteer service hours valued at $40,776 and reached or educated more than 28,000 people. One student learned about conservation easements during the training and conserved 20 acres of her property for future generations. 

Recap:

The Mississippi Master Naturalist Program has increased the awareness of environmental issues in Mississippi and Alabama while providing volunteer service to environmental activities. (2016)

Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program mobilizes almost 2,500 volunteers, removes more than 14 tons of litter

Relevance:

Litter is an issue that impairs the environment, stormwater infrastructure, tourism and industry along coastlines.

Response:

 Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium extension specialist led and contributed to all aspects of the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program, which works to prevent and remove litter from the coastal environment through education, outreach, research and cleanup events. As part of the Coastal Cleanup Program, the MASGC extension specialist trained site captains at four trainings, managed volunteer registrations, led planning efforts, distributed supplies, analyzed volunteers’ litter data cards and prepared cleanup summary reports.

Results:

In 2016, the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup event attracted 2,489 volunteers that contributed 7,467 volunteer hours and removed 14.1 tons of litter from coastal Mississippi beaches, waterways, wetlands and roads. The value of this volunteer effort exceeded $145,681.

Recap:

The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program, coordinated by a Sea Grant extension specialist, was responsible for removing over 14 tons of litter from the coastal environment and educating more than 2,500 volunteers and site captains about litter prevention. (2016)

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 Intergovernmental 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)