The staff at Coastal Alabama Partnership had the opportunity to attend The Delta Exchange, a virtual event hosted by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program on August 26th. Over 71 community stakeholders joined in alongside CAP at this event, including Governor Ivey’s Chief of Staff, former Congressman Jo Bonner and Costas Christ from Beyond Green Travel who is currently undergoing work on the region’s first eco-tourism plan.
As many folks in our region know, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, dubbed “America’s Amazon”, is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program Project Team is developing a management plan for the quarter-million-acre Mobile-Tensaw-Apalachee Complex of watersheds, spanning both Mobile and Baldwin Counties. The Delta Exchange event was designed to be a collaborative journey for participants where they could convene to learn, discover, share, and prioritize what can and should happen regarding the future of the Delta.
Participants started the morning off with Governor Ivey’s Chief of Staff, former Congressman Jo Bonner, to learn about the importance of the Delta to the state of Alabama. Jeanette Kelson from Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions Inc. provided deep insight into the characterization of the Delta by engaging in a breakdown of the several rivers, land cover, and flora and fauna that make-up the Delta. Before breaking out into smaller facilitation groups, participants had the opportunity to hear from Tim Thibaut from Barry Vittor & Associates about several critical issues, such as climate vulnerability and sea level rise that threaten our delta region.
Small group discussions were facilitated around several critical issues that pertain to the Delta. Those issues included conservation coordination and land management, ecological/habitat issues, hydrologic modification, sea level rise and resilience, cultural resource issues, human uses, and watershed management issues. Each small group created an action plan regarding one of the topics listed previously and shared their plan with the community and various stakeholders attending this event. Each created action plan will be considered by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program in the creation of their watershed management plan that is to come. CAP was grateful for the opportunity provided by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program to learn and provide feedback that will benefit the treasured assets we have in the Delta.