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UTPA Coastal Studies Lab partners in project recognized by U.S. EPA
Posted: 03/15/2007
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The 2005 South Padre Island Red Tide Response Project was recognized recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the third place 2006 Gulf Guardian Award in the partnership category. Award recipient, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, partnered with The University of Texas-Pan American Coastal Studies Lab and Texas Cooperative Extension in the project's development and implementation.

Pictured with the Gulf Guardian Award are left to right Tony Reisinger, Cameron County agent with Texas Sea Grant Coastal and Marine Resources; Meridith Byrd, harmful algal bloom biologist of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service; and Don Hockaday, research and educational coordinator at The University of Texas-Pan American Coastal Studies Laboratory.
In response to a lower Texas coast major red tide bloom that occurred from September to November 2005, this partnership trained a South Padre Island volunteer group - the Texas Red Tide Rangers - to collect water samples, prepare slides and use microscopes to identify red tide cells. Their data was made part of daily red tide updates posted on the Web and recorded on the toll-free red tide information line, ensuring accurate and timely information to the public about extent of the problem. During their two-month daily reporting in which they collected and analyzed 376 samples, the Red Tide Rangers also recorded weather observations and reported red tide-induced irritations.

The award was presented by the Gulf of Mexico Program of the U.S. EPA. The Gulf of Mexico Program is a consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists and community leaders from five Gulf states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development. The awards - first to third in seven different categories - recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive.

The UTPA Coastal Studies Laboratory, established in 1973 as a marine biology laboratory in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island, serves the missions of university and public education, coastal research and public service.

For more information on the UTPA Coastal Studies Lab, log on to www.panam.edu/dept/csl/.