MASGC Project Impacts

Oyster gardening programs provide 237,115 oysters capable of restoring 11.76 acres of reef habitat

Relevance:

Oyster reef degradation is an issue in terms of habitat loss, filtration loss and shoreline protection from erosive forces.

Response:

Oyster gardening programs in Alabama and Mississippi utilized volunteer gardeners to provide nursery protections to juvenile oysters which were relayed to restoration sites in Alabama and Mississippi. Oyster gardening has been a successful restoration and environmental stewardship program in the Mobile Bay estuary since 2001. Ecosystem services like regulating services and habitat services are secondary benefits from oyster gardening. Documenting these services using valid economic values provides a more accurate representation of the importance of oysters and the role they play in our estuaries.
 

Results:

From 2014-2017, the oyster gardening programs in Alabama and Mississippi produced 237,115 oysters with a mean height of 50.0 mm capable of restoring up to 11.76 acres. The programs included two schools and averaged 52 volunteer sites and 116 individuals (excluding students) each year. The value of this restorative effort exceeded $226,672. Also, the participants’ 9,280 volunteer hours (estimated at one hour per week per volunteer for the season with an average value of $23.73/hour) were valued at $220,214, bringing the total project value to $446,886 for the four-year time period.

Recap:

An average of 116 volunteer gardeners per year from 52 sites per year produced 237,115 oysters capable of restoring up to 11.76 acres of habitat valued at $226,672 and a volunteer time value of $220,214 for a total of $445,886 in project value over the 2014-2017 period. (2017)

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant leadership prompts volunteers to give more than $1.2 worth of time, effort and expertise to coastal issues

Relevance:

Coastal residents across Mississippi and Alabama seek opportunities to learn more about and enhance the bays, bayous and beaches throughout the region. Often they do not know where they can serve. Meanwhile, large-scale programs such as oyster gardening, beach cleanups, coastal research projects and similar programs do not have enough staffing to complete the needed work.  

Response:

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant created programs and/or led long-standing programs that provided opportunities for volunteers to contribute their time, effort and expertise to enhance coastal areas. These programs include Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program, Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, Mississippi Master Naturalist Program, a variety of education programs and research-related projects.

Results:

Between 2014 and 2017, thousands of people participated in Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant-led volunteer activities and programs. These volunteers contributed more than 64,000 hours valued at $1.22M, based on a $19 value of an hour of volunteer time.

Recap:

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant provided volunteer opportunities to coastal residents, and their contributions were valued at more than $1.22M. (2017)

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant leads effort to provide three communities with technical assistance in resilience planning

Relevance:

Local governments have cited the need for technical assistance for resilience planning to interpret information, provide science-based solutions and envision an enhanced future state of resilience.

Response:

After participation in a Coastal Community Resilience Index session facilitated by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) staff and MASGC-trained facilitators, the coastal communities of Fairhope (Alabama), Biloxi (Mississippi) and Terrebonne Parish (Louisiana) identified technical assistance needs. MASGC applied for and received a grant for $296,315 from the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program to create Expert Action Teams, which include local knowledge expertise and science expertise to solve a pressing problem in each of these communities. The MASGC-led effort released a Request for Resilient Action (RRA) that led to high-priority implementation projects in the three states.

Results:

The MASGC-led Expert Action Teams are assisting: (1) the City of Fairhope with a design charrette detailing options for achieving Clean and Resilient Marina status and improving stormwater runoff; (2) the City of Biloxi with creating uniform signage for living shoreline projects throughout the city and creating informational resources (written and online) to communicate with homeowners about living shoreline benefits; and (3) Terrebonne Parish with the development of plans for a floating grocery/supply store and the legal components associated with this type of infrastructure. As a result of this assistance, Fairhope has successfully addressed stormwater issues at a marina and received a Clean Vessel Act grant from the state of Alabama for the installation of pumpout stations at the site. Biloxi has approved signage for two living shorelines projects (Camp Wilkes and Old Brick House) along with consideration for an additional site (Popps Ferry Causeway). Terrebonne Parish is reviewing mock-up designs for the floating grocery store and enlisting grocery store experts to discuss stocking and restocking options.

Recap:

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant led a unique technical assistance effort that created multi-disciplinary Expert Action Teams in three local governments to increase their resilience to future coastal storms. (2017)

Small grant awards support climate adaptation, resilience planning in 20 communities

Relevance:

Coastal communities lack the financial capacity and resources to proactively plan for long-term resilience and adapt to changes related to climate stressors.

Response:

Between 2014 and 2017, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant obtained four separate grants to enhance community resilience. The grants (from the NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grant, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, NOAA Coastal Storms Program and Gulf of Mexico Alliance) are managed and led by a joint Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant/Gulf of Mexico Alliance position. Four competitive funding opportunities were released for communities who had completed a self-assessment (the Coastal Community Reslience Inedex) and identified a gap that could be addressed with funding assistance. In addition, Misssissippi led three separate climate adaptation competitions that selected a community implementation project addressing climate stressors.

Results:

A total of 20 small grants were awarded to communities across the Gulf of Mexico, and the communities have been integrated into the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice. In addition, the communities commited $225,000 in matching funds making the total project implementation value over $1M. Communities addressed issues in several categories: stormwater management, Community Rating System and insurance, business continuity planning, sea-level rise and future flooding, protect

Recap:

Twenty coastal communities received funding to address vulnerabilities and implement on-the-ground projects to enhance their resilience. (2017)

Community Resilience Index improves preparedness of coastal municipalities in Mississippi and Alabama; transfers model to other parts of U.S. and beyond

Relevance:

As the Gulf Coast population increases, so does the risk of exposure to floods, hurricanes and other storm-related events. Coastal managers and decision-makers want to increase their communities' capacity to bounce back from stressors and reduce immediate impacts and long-term economic losses. Communities, however, lack the baseline data needed to measure resilience.

Response:

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) and MASGC-trained volunteers facilitated the use of the Coastal Community Resilience Index (CRI) in 55 coastal communities across the Gulf region. The self-assessment tool allows communities to use existing knowledge, data and studies to examine resilience in terms of critical infrastructure, community plans and agreements, mitigation measures and other factors. It identifies problems communities should address and where they should allocate resources. MASGC trained 117 facilitators in the Gulf of Mexico, New England, Pacific Islands, Mexico and Bangladesh prior to 2014 and another 109 facilitators between 2014-2017. In addition, three sector indices were created (Tourism, Fisheries, Ports) and pilot tested to address resilience planning for important businesses that serve as economic drivers for coastal communities in Mississippi and Alabama. MASGC has assisted six additional states (Wisconsin, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii) with the development of their own versions of one or more of the indices, as well as transferred the concept to three countries (Macedonia, Bangladesh and Mexico). Finally, MASGC has modified the CRI for use in the high school classroom through a NOAA BWET grant in partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi and the Pascagoula and Gautier (Mississippi) School Districts, reaching 246 students.

Results:

At least 15 municipalities have taken action to improve resilience to natural hazards. Foley (Alabama) has taken steps to join the Community Rating System and reports better hazard planning communication among city offices. Perdido Beach (Alabama) updated its Comprehensive Plan to include periodic reviews of the CRI to assess progress toward resilience, and the town is developed a communications plan to encourage citizens to participate in resilience planning efforts. Biloxi (Mississippi) formed better emergency plans and network connections with CSX, whose railroad bisects the city, potentially causing issues in times of emergency. Fairhope (Alabama) applied for and received three different grants to address gaps such as stormwater management, marina resilience, and community visioning. A total of 226 people have been trained as facilitators of the CRI, 246 high school students have completed projects on the CRI, and six states have used at least one of the indices as a model for work in their regions.

Recap:

After completing the Coastal Community Resilience Index, a self-assessment tool, at least 15 municipalities and 246 students across the Gulf of Mexico region increased their resilience to natural hazards. (2017)

Trade Adjustment Assistance training leads to more than $3M in direct payments to Alabama, Mississippi shrimpers

Relevance:

Producers in the U.S. shrimp industry have experienced economic hardships because of rising production costs and competition from imported shrimp. This hardship forced many shrimpers to leave the industry. In order for the domestic fishery to remain viable, producers needed to learn how to reduce operating costs and get more money for their catch. In 2010, the Southern Shrimp Alliance successfully petitioned for shrimp harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas) to be considered an eligible commodity for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers program in FY2010. Nearly 4,000 members of the shrimping industry from throughout the eight states applied to participate in the FY2010 TAA program.

Response:

Before becoming eligible for cash benefits, each producer needed to receive 12 hours of TAA Intensive Technical Assistance and develop an initial business plan to help them become more competitive in the world marketplace. In 2011, 22 3-hour TAA workshops were conducted on topics designed to increase the global competitiveness and economic levels of Gulf and South Atlantic shrimpers. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant outreach personnel developed training modules, helped industry members fill out forms and paperwork, and assisted with workshop advertisement, logistics and facilitation. More than 750 commercial fishermen from Alabama and Mississippi participated in the TAA workshops.

Results:

In Alabama and Mississippi, 789 shrimpers each received 12 hours of Intensive Technical Assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Shrimpers, making each eligible for $4,000 in cash benefits. This totaled $3,156,000 in additional earnings for shrimpers.

Recap:

Because of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium outreach efforts, shrimpers obtained training that made them eligible for more than $3 million in cash benefits under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (www.taaforfarmers.org). (2017)