For the first time, Mississippi temporarily closed the crab trap season this year to get rid of old, abandoned, and dangerous crab traps in state waters. Traci Floyd with the DMR said "It's a great project because we're getting all of these traps, 4,000 so far, out of the water".
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' efforts to remove this marine litter caught the attention of the Gulf of Mexico Program, and earned the DMR a first place "Gulf Guardian Award".
Floyd said "It's a great honor and it's really inspiring for people who work on the project. It inspires us to work to further the project in the future".
Another first place honor went to Mississippi Power for its Household Hazardous Waste Collection campaign. Every year, company volunteers pitch-in to help people properly dispose of chemicals, pesticides and poisons that could damage the environment.
Mississippi Power Spokesman Kurt Brautigam said "It's a marvelous representation of the dedication that our employees have to protect the environment, not just their jobs, but in their off hours".
And nature lover, Mark LaSalle, won second place for sharing his passion for the environment with people of all ages. LaSalle said "I'm always humbled when I receive an award like this, because it's never really an individual effort".
Bryon Griffith with the Gulf of Mexico Program said "These three were singled out of hundreds of applicants. They're the creme de la creme so to speak, for their efforts this past year to make a real difference in the coastal environment".
The winners say the recognition is nice, but their biggest reward is doing their part to preserve our precious resources. The Gulf Guardian Awards were handed out Wednesday at the Southern States Environmental Conference in Biloxi.