Partnerships for Restoration Post BP Oil Disaster

Session Date & Time: 
May 6, 2012 - 10:30am
Session Length: 
90 minutes
Skill Level: 

Casi Callaway, Mobile Baykeeper

Dan Tonsmeire, Apalachicola Riverkeeper

Charlotte Wells, Galveston Baykeeper

In the wake of the BP Oil Disaster, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to focus on meaningful restoration along the Gulf Coast. The environmental community also has an opportunity to prove environmental restoration is the key to long-term economic recovery. Forming partnerships with unlikely allies can begin to kill the fallacy of Jobs versus the Environment or that EPA and the Clean Water Act are destroying our economy. We can and we must take back the environment for the sake of our economy.

Presenter Bio(s): 

Casi Callaway grew up in Mobile, Alabama, graduated from Emory University and moved to DC where she organized and lobbied on environmental legislation. She came home in 1998 to work locally to protect her favorite watershed. Under Casi's leadership, Mobile Baykeeper has grown into the Mobile Bay area's largest environmental advocacy organization and one of the largest local organizations along the Gulf Coast with over 4,000 members and a $500,000 budget. She and the Baykeeper team are responsible for organizing, researching and educating the community on issues that affect public health, environment and quality of life.

Casi has received the Liberty Bell Award by the Mobile Bar Association, "Remarkable Woman" by Lifetime Television and was named Coastal Hero by Coastal Living magazine. Casi has served on the Gulf of Mexico Program's Citizen Advisory Committee and recently served as a Commissioner to Alabama's Coastal Recovery Commission.

Casi is a member of the Junior League of Mobile, liaison to the international Waterkeeper Alliance's Board of Trustees, and is actively involved in environmental groups at the local, state, regional and national levels. She lives in the Mobile Bay area with her husband and wonderful 4-year-old son.

Dan Tonsmeire has served as Riverkeeper for the Apalachicola River since February 2004. Prior to that he worked for 15 years as a water resource planner with the Northwest Florida Water Management District where he was the principal coordinator for the development and implementation of the Northwest Florida Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program on the Apalachicola Bay and River. In prior years Dan was resident manager for the 1,250-acre Jeff Lewis Wilderness Preserve on Dog Island, Florida where he facilitated and coordinated research and program development for The Nature Conservancy. In addition he has had hands-on experience as a backcountry guide in Idaho, a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and an owner and operator of a small marine construction company in Alabama and Florida. He graduated in Civil Engineering from Auburn University and currently holds a USCG Ocean Operators license and Florida Real Estate license.

Executive Director, Charlotte Wells, has served as Galveston Baykeeper since 2007. Prior to that she was the Executive Director for Texans for Alternatives to Pesticides where she conducted education programs to reduce the amount of pesticides used in homes, schools and public places. She attended Austin College and received an MS in education from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Ms. Wells is a Texas Master Naturalist and has a 25-year history of involvement with environmental issues in the Houston area. She was instrumental in the creation of Galveston Baykeeper, Inc. and has organized the support of other leading area environmentalists in establishing the plan of action for Galveston Baykeeper, Inc.