On January 28, 2009, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County awarded the Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Partnership (ESEMP) the 2008 Transportation Excellence Award. The award recognizes collaborative efforts that promote environmental stewardship among participants while promoting efficiency in developing transportation projects. The ESEMP is a collective of ten government agencies and a non-governmental organization who have been meeting for the last two years to develop advance mitigation practices in the ecologically-rich Elkhorn Slough watershed north of Monterey, California. The group is currently developing a mitigation bank to help protect many of the region’s resources, including wetlands, endangered species and agriculture. The ESEMP has finalized a Memorandum of Understanding to memorialize their mission, goals and strategies which will help focus agency resources toward concerted, coordinated protection of one of the most ecologically-sensitive areas in California. Caltrans District 5, with funding through the Transportation Planning Special Studies Program, provides support for the ESMP; and the University of California at Davis Information Center for the Environment provides technical assistance and facilitation.
ESEMP with Award. L-R is Tami Grove, California Coastal Commission; Kevin Ward, UC Davis; Joyce Ambrosius, National Marine Fisheries Service; Nancy Siepel, Caltrans; Mike Zeller, Transportation Agency for Monterey County; Mary Madison, UC Davis; Kevin Contreras, Elkhorn Slough Foundation; Gary Ruggerone, Caltrans; Steve Kirkland, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Mark Silberstein, Elkhorn Slough Foundation; Elizabeth Gonzales, Monterey County Planning Department; Larry Vinzant, Federal Highway Administration; Dominic Roques, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board; and Susan Sturges, US Environmental Protection Agency (also included but not in the photo is Laura Peterson-Diaz, California Department of Fish and Game).