Prepping the Park for the Restoration Event Photo: 100-1000
Last weekend, January 22nd - 23rd , over 500 volunteers from Alabama and across the country came together in Mobile Bay to lay the beginnings of oyster reefs. The volunteers strapped on boots and gloves to place 16,000 bags of oyster shells along the shore - the first step to building 100 miles of oyster reef in the region. These efforts are part of 100-1000 partnership, with the goal of building 100 new miles of oyster reefs and 1000 miles of replanted marshlands along the Gulf in Alabama to make Alabama's coastal areas more resilient to impacts from hurricanes, oil spills and climate change.100-1000 is a project that was formed in 2010 and grew out of the partnership of four conservation organizations including: Alabama Coastal Foundation, Mobile Baykeeper, the Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Foundation. The project also has a growing roster of more than 20 public and private partners, including federal and state agencies, academic institutions and private groups. The coalition receives no funding from BP, their funding has been primarily privately raised by individuals who want to see the Gulf restored. Organizers are hoping that the Mobile Bay efforts will inspire efforts that will be replicated in other damaged ecosystems along the Gulf.
Even before the Deepwater Spill, coastal Alabama has lost most of its original marshes over the past few decades. So it will take a while to restore these habitats, but last weekend was an important inaugural event, hopefully heralding many post-spill restoration events to come. The event provided some participants their first opportunity to roll up their sleeves and actively participate in Gulf Coast restoration efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Hopefully, the restoration efforts will not only restore the region's oysters, but will also restore jobs that depend on the marshes and oysters returning. If you find yourself in Alabama or wondering what to do on your next vacation or how you can help the people and the habitat along the Gulf, check out 100-1000 or Restore Coastal Alabama coalition.
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