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The Louisiana Beach Monitoring Program Receives GULF GUARDIAN AWARD


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Louisiana Beach Monitoring Program of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals of Baton Rouge, Louisiana will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2007 in the Government Category. The awards will be presented during the 2007 Clean Gulf Conference on November 14, 2007 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Bayside Ballroom in Tampa, Florida beginning at 6 p.m.

In 2002, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health (LDHH-OPH) successfully prepared a proposal that secured a grant under the national Beach Act of 2000 to develop and implement a Beach Monitoring Program for the state of Louisiana. To develop the best beach monitoring program possible, LDHH-OPH coordinated with local governments, sheriff offices, state agencies, federal agencies and citizen organizations. The development of a beach monitoring program provided the first ever program that protects the health of Louisiana’s beach-going citizens’ state wide. The Louisiana Beach Monitoring Program has used innovative and creative application of both technology and personnel. Both the development of a tiered beach monitoring plan that concentrates limited resources where the most risk is, and a decision process that scientifically determines when pathogen indicators show a health threat and warrant an advisory are examples of the use of innovative technology. In addition, LDHH-OPH has accomplished the successful sampling of all beach monitoring stations including proper quality assurance for sampling and transportation to the laboratory with less than 10 people.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“Gulf Guardian awards showcase accomplishments from a broad spectrum of environmental leaders -- from committed individuals to dynamic corporations,” EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. “I applaud their success in preserving the vital resources of the Gulf Coast, one of our most valuable national treasures.”

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. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said “This is the 8th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2007 award winners truly exemplify the bond that enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share in addressing complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.”


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