Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by John Dukes.
Ken Niemeyer gave the invocation, followed by Tommy Blankenship, who led us in song and the Pledge.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Tom Martenstein introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Jeff Luther introduced our student guest, Katore James from B. C. Rain High School.
Announcements: Save the Date: Our Gala will be October 11th @ Southern National from 6:30pm – 9:00pm
NEST Fest – Thursday, Oct. 12th @ Steeple
Little Sisters of the Poor will have their 46th Annual Lawn Party on Sunday, Oct. 15th.
Program: Laura O’Connor introduced our speaker, Rick Frederick, Community Relations and Business Resource Mgr. for the Mobile Bay National Estuary. His topic is “”Three Mile Creek Project.”
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is funded by the federal, state and local governments, along with grants from private and business entities. Our NEP is 1 of 28 in the United States. Over the years, those involved in our NEP have developed Comprehensive Conservation and Development Plans, geared to maximizing the prudent use of our natural resources. Ours operates as a branch of Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Mr. Frederick stated that their plans come from a “science-based” mindset. With that in mind, it is vitally important to work with, and receive buy-in from community and business interests, as well as governmental leadership. It is a non-regulatory entity.
Their group is heavily involved in the Lower Alabama watershed, which is the 6th largest in the United States. Each plan costs around $250,000.00 and takes a year to complete. The process begins by building partnerships, determining the character of the watershed, setting goals, implementing those goals and finally, evaluating the progress. One of his examples was the $13 million being spent on the D’Olive watershed.
Some of the other examples of their projects included Joe’s Branch Step Pool Barriers, restoration of the Fowl River Watershed near the northern tip of Mon Louis Island, development of “litter-gitters” to help clean up Three-mile creek. Finally, he discussed the Three Mile Creek project, which will run through the heart of Mobile. The goals include improving water quality, providing greater access, protecting wildlife, restoring heritage and cultural connections, making the area bike/hike friendly, and create greater access for canoes and kayaks. This will go through 5 city council districts and nine neighborhoods.
After a question and answer session, John Dukes thanked Mr. Frederick for his presentation and presented a certificate to him, noting that a donation in his honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.