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From Vision to Action Plan:
CRC transitions to regional council

A key proposal in the “Roadmap to Resilience” report (6.8mb .pdf) of the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama called for a new regional leadership organization to advance the “Roadmap’s” agenda. And now leaders across the business, government, and non-profit sectors of coastal Alabama are organizing the group.

“If there’s one thing that emerged from the intensive efforts of our committees and subcommittees during the CRC process,” said CRC chair Ricky Mathews, “it’s that we are ‘better together.’

“You could literally feel the energy when 600 people from throughout Coastal Alabama came together, sometimes for the first time, to embrace a regional vision. We don’t want to waste that momentum. So we are creating the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council to help us leverage the regional vision for a future that’s safer and more prosperous for all our families and businesses.”

Hundreds of coastal residents participated in the development of the Coastal Recovery Commission report to the Governor.

           

The CRC was created in the fall of 2010 by then Gov. Bob Riley’s executive order. Its mission was to respond to the impacts of the oil spill after the tragic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April of 2010. More than just recommendations for emergency response, the Commission’s proposals were to reflect an analysis of vulnerabilities the spill exposed in Coastal Alabama’s interconnected environmental, societal, and economic systems. The question the Commission was charged to answer: How might the coastal communities and the state best strengthen their capacities for resilience, for bouncing back from future unexpected challenges?

The Coastal Recovery Commission was formed in response to the April, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.

           

To learn more about the CRC’s goals and process, check out the overview column to the immediate right and the videos in the far right column. For deeper background on the context of planning for resilience, peruse background documents in the Resources tab in the toolbar above. For a look at sample project proposals framed as regional resilience initiatives, look the submissions under the Submittals tab above. And to follow each step of the process that led to the Commission’s “Roadmap to Resilience,” read the news posts preceding this one.

The initial to-do list for the CALC will be drawn from the CRC’s “Roadmap.” Items on that list include:

  • Bolstering the state’s influence in Gulf states seafood policy-making and marketing;
  • Encouraging state and insurance industry discussions of recommendations from the CRC’s insurance subcommittee aimed at making coastal insurance more affordable for businesses and residents;
  • And furthering the regional perspective of local business and tourism advocacy groups that began coming into focus during the CRC initiative.

Over the next few months, as the temporary Commission transitions to the permanent Council, we’ll update the news in this space. So check back often.

If you have comments or questions, use the space below, or go to the Contact Us tab in the toolbar above. We’d love to hear from you.

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“A Benchmark . . A Blueprint”: Leaders Celebrate Report Release

It was standing-room-only in the historic Old Statehouse Legislative Chamber in Montgomery, Alabama, on Wednesday, as Gov. Bob Riley and Gov.-elect Robert Bentley accepted the first bound copies of A Roadmap to Resilience, the report of the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama.

The "Roadmap to Resilience" Report: Click to download (6.9mb .pdf)

The Commission’s responsibility was to propose strategies for strengthening Alabama’s coastal region to be more resilient in the face of challenges such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the summer of 2010. Gov. Riley, who launched the CRC with an executive order in late September, said he had high expectations all along, but that the 80+ member commission under Mobile Press-Register publisher Ricky Mathews, had “taken this to a different level.”

Gov. Riley lauded the effort as “a benchmark . . a blueprint” to guide the new governor and the new state legislature. And Gov.-elect Bentley promised the packed house that he respected the process the CRC has taken to produce the report and that his administration would take the “blueprint” seriously.

Commission chairman Ricky Mathews, left, poses for photos with with Gov.-elect Robert Bentley, center and Gov. Bob Riley with a copy of the Coast Recovery Commission's (CRC) final report following a press conference in the Old Statehouse Legislative Chambers at the State Capitol Wednesday, Dec.15, 2010 in Montgomery, Ala. The CRC was created by executive order of Gov. Riley to draft strategies for the recovery of coastal Alabama in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. (Press-Register, G.M. Andrews)

The Mobile Press-Register said the report “merits immediate attention and action’ in its Dec. 16 editorial.

“South Alabama has changed in ways unimaginable since the oil spill occurred in April,” said the ediorital. “But perhaps the worst is over, now that everyone has come together to map out a plan for a brighter future. No matter what happens from here on out, the region has demonstrated that it is willing to seize control of its own destiny. That alone is an impressive accomplishment.”

Already, the state government is acting on key recommendations of the CRC’s Roadmap. Gov. Riley announced at the Wednesday gathering that he would soon sign an executive order creating a new Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to work with other Gulf states to advance seafood safety testing and marketing. The state has reached a tentative agreement, said the governor, with BP to fund that testing and marketing effort in Alabama with $9 million.

Other proposals from the CRC are expected to be high on the new state leaders’ agendas.

The afternoon included a video presentation detailing the challenges and opportunities presented by the oil spill, as well as summarizing the path taken by the Commission.

What’s next?

Formation of a Coastal Leadership Council, immediately seeded with CRC funding, to formalize the citizen-based process of the Commission and to take its proposals into the implementation stage. At the top of the agenda will be long-range strategic planning process, also seeded with CRC money. That next big step will bring actionable detail to the Commission’s Roadmap and guide coastal Alabama into the coming decades.

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“Roadmap to Resilience” Debuts:
CRC Report Available to Everyone

As promised when the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama was launched in September, the Commission presents its bound report (6.9mb .pdf) to Gov. Bob Riley and Gov.-elect Robert Bentley today in Montgomery.

The "Roadmap to Resilience" Report:
Click to download (7.9mb .pdf)

The ceremonial presentation of the report, A Roadmap to Resilience, takes place in the historic Old Statehouse Legislative Chamber. More than 80 coastal Alabama leaders are expected to make the trip to the Capitol for the event. And with the legislature in special session, a strong turnout of the state’s political leaders is likely.

What happens next depends largely on those state political and business leaders. Some of the recommendations in the 198-page report will require legislative support. Many more, however, call for new perspectives on how the coastal region organizes itself to be more prepared for future challenges. Such challenges will come not only in the form of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which inspired Gov. Bob Riley to launch the CRC in late September, but also potentially catastrophic events such as hurricanes.

The CRC effort was saluted in a video produced for the occasion by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and featuring EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. Jackson’s agency is leading the post-spill environmental restoration effort from the federal government. She congratulated CRC leaders for pushing forward resilience strategies and lauded their determination to align organizations and agencies, from the federal level down to the local communities, to implement those strategies.

A report on the day’s events in Montgomery will be posted in this space on Dec. 16.

For more background on the CRC, read the column to the immediate right, and check out the FAQ here. The Commission’s progression towards today’s event is chronicled in posts preceding this one.

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CRC Goes Live Today:
Watch on al.com, 2 p.m. CST

After a fast-paced three months of meetings and research, the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama is ready with its report.

In a ceremony today in Montgomery, at the historic Old Statehouse Legislative Chamber, the CRC presents the 198-page A Roadmap to Resilience to Gov. Bob Riley and Gov.-elect Robert Bentley. The event will be webcast live here.

“We have said over and over, this is the beginning of a crucial conversation, not the end,” said CRC chairman and Mobile Press-Register publisher Ricky Mathews. “But it’s a beginning we can all be proud of.”

Ricky Mathews, Chairman, Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama

Created by the September 27 executive order of Gov. Riley, the 80-plus-member Commission launched on September 28. Its mission: To study vulnerabilities exposed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and propose strategies for making the region – and the state – more resilient and self-reliant when future challenges present themselves.

By Thanksgiving, the Commission’s reach extended to 600 citizen leaders in coastal Alabama who divided themselves into committees and subcommittees. More than 270 proposals were put on the table by Commission members and their advisers. And even before today’s official presentation of the full report, the Commission recommended to Gov. Riley ideas that needed immediate attention. Among them: The creation of a state council to better coordinate with other Gulf states seafood safety testing and marketing. Action on that recommendation will be reported in today’s ceremony in Montgomery.

For more background on the CRC, read the column to the immediate right, and check out the FAQ here. The Commission’s progression towards today’s event is chronicled in  posts prior to this one.

Watch the historic ceremony in Alabama’s Old Statehouse today at 2 p.m. CST on al.com. And return to the site later this afternoon to download the complete report.

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CRC Kick-Off Meeting:
“Brain Dump,” Then To-Do List

On September 28, one day after Gov. Bob Riley signed the executive order creating the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC), its members convened at the Five Rivers Center in Spanish Fort for their initial meeting.

Photo credits: Mobile Press Register

In his opening remarks to the group, Gov. Riley reminded them this “is an opportunity I’m not too sure we’ll ever have again.”

The opportunity: To position South Alabama to be more resilient as a region — economically, socially, and environmentally. That means making residents and visitors safer when catastrophes such as the recent Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill strike. It means protecting the coast’s environmental assets. And it means making South Alabama a healthier and more prosperous place to live and work.

By Dec. 15, 2010, the Commission will have completed a report it will hand over to Gov. Riley and to the man who will replace him come January. That report will propose “a roadmap for resilience.”

To get up to speed, read the Project Overview column to the right, then see media reports on the Sep. 30 meeting and events leading up to it here. For background on the Commission’s research, look under WHAT & WHY. Finally, watch the video below that introduces the Commission’s goals and principles.

The September 30 meeting was more than just a ceremonial gathering. Immediately after the opening session, members took part in small group discussions characterized as a “brain dump.” They were facilitated table conversations designed to draw out Commission members’ best understanding of the impacts of the oil spill and their implications for South Alabama in three broad categories: the coastal environment; the social, physical, and mental health of the region; and the South Alabama economy.

After the discussion of impacts, participants were encouraged to think of ways in which policies and projects might help build South Alabama’s capacity to bounce back from future challenges. Using notes from those table conversations, Commission members then divided in their broad committee groups – Environment, Health, Economy – and worked on next steps for their research and analysis. Click through the following slideshow for images captured throughout the day.

Follow the progress of our efforts here. We’ll update everyone regularly on the work of the committees and subcommittees. So return often – and let us you’re your concerns and questions in the space below.


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CRC Officially Launches:
Watch This Space for News

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley signed the executive order creating the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama on Monday, September 27. And the Commission scheduled its first meeting for the next day in Spanish Fort.

Governor Bob Riley explains the goals of the Coastal Recovery Commission.

We’ll have complete coverage of that meeting, including a video introduction to the CRC, here on Thursday, September 30. So check back with us then.

Over the next three months, we’ll use this website and this left-hand column space in particular to update everyone on the progress of the Commission. You can get the big picture of our mission by checking out the Project Overview column to the right. And you can get the background you need by clicking on the WHO, WHAT & WHY, WHEN & WHERE and IN THE NEWS in the toolbar above.

Since we’re just beginning the process, we’ll be filling in blank spots around the site as we go along. So be sure to check back. And if you want to be alerted when new content goes up, you can subscribe or follow us on Twitter.

We want to hear from you. In addition to attending the public meetings we’ll soon be outlining under WHEN & WHERE, you can propose questions, ideas, and comments in the space immediately below these news posts.

We’ve got big ambitions over the next couple months. Keep in touch.

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  • Headline

    A once-in-a generation opportunity is upon us. A transformational moment in Alabama history.

    That’s how Gov. Bob Riley described hopes for the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama, created by his executive order on September 27, 2010.

    The CRC’s mission: To shape, in the wake of BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill, “a roadmap to resilience” for South Alabama.

    “We must do everything we can to restore what’s been lost because of this disaster,” said Gov. Riley. “But we should also use this moment to strengthen the resilience of our state and coastal communities. The commission will recommend ways that improve our ability to respond to future challenges and examine strategies that will mean far less suffering the next time a catastrophe threatens us.”

    The CRC’s work is funded entirely with BP money already contributed to the state. No tax dollars will be used. What’s more, Gov. Riley took pains to insulate the Commission as much as possible from politics as usual. Since he leaves office in January, he’s acutely aware that the recommendations of the Commission will be in another governor’s hands. So he’s reached out to the political camps of both men vying to replace him, inviting them to appoint their own representatives to the Commission to participate in shaping a report that should inspire the new governor no matter who wins in the November elections.

    What’s more, Gov. Riley is asking local elected officials to give the Commission a little room to work. “We’ll bring politicians in,” said the governor. “But this will be a citizen-led – not a politician-led – effort. If we do that, I promise you it will be successful.”

    The CRC is made up of citizen leaders with broad ranges of experience in civic life in Alabama’s coastal region. It’s headed by Mobile Press-Register publisher Ricky Mathews, who brings to this effort the experience of a similar commission in the post-Hurricane Katrina environment of coastal Mississippi. For a complete list of CRC members, go here.

    “What we learned after Katrina on the Mississippi Coast,” said Mathews, “is that a crisis of even enormous proportions provides opportunities to re-imagine a whole region.

    “If we do our work on this commission right,” Mathews said, “we can position South Alabama for not only bouncing back more effectively from future catastrophes like oil spills and hurricanes but also for providing greater security and more opportunity for all of our citizens, even when there are no emergencies. That’s the essence of resiliency.”

    Forging consensus on what the oil spill’s impacts were and how to make the coast safer for citizens and visitors and more secure for long-term investment is tough enough. Implementing the Commission’s recommendations next year and in the years after will be harder – if the Commission is not able to begin building coalitions of support during this process. “If we’re to make the most of this opportunity,” said Mathews, “we have to begin thinking bigger and broader than we ever have.

    “Oil spills and hurricanes don’t just threaten isolated spots on a map,” said Mathews. “Their effects reverberate through an entire state, through a region even. So our chances for coping with future threats depend upon us building a regional vision, an awareness of how we’re connected with one another and how we can work with one another to do more than any of us as individual citizens or individual communities ever imagined.”

    This is a project on a fast track. At some point – no one knows exactly when – there is the potential for billions of dollars to flow to the coastal states from BP and from other energy-related sources. To assure that Alabama is positioned to make the most of this potential investment, “we need a plan,” said Gov. Riley. And it has to come quickly.

    So the Commission is committed to delivering its report by Dec. 15, initially as a downloadable pdf from this website. Printed books will be available soon thereafter.

    The Commission is organizing its work under three broad topics, each connected with the other and each representing a key component of regional adaptability and sustainability:

    A Healthy Environment
    A Healthy Society
    A Healthy Economy

    Commission members are assigned to each of the topics and will break the broader categories into sub-committees as they see fit. We’ll report on the activities of those committees and sub-committees on this website regularly.

    This is a very public process. Participation of regional experts, elected and appointed officials from all the towns and counties affected by the oil spill, regional business folks, and residents will have plenty of opportunities to review CRC work in progress and contribute their ideas and comments. They’ll be able to do that in person at community meetings, by mail or phone, and online via this website.

    Here’s how to make the best use of this site:



    If you want to know who’s on the Commission and who’s staffing it, click on the WHO tab in the toolbar above.

    If you want to understand the CRC’s mission, get answers to frequently asked questions, and see background data committees are gathering, click on the WHAT & WHY tab.

    If you want to know the schedule of public events and locations for meetings, click on the WHEN & WHERE tab.

    If you want to contact us directly, you’ll find information under CONTACT US, and at the bottom of each news post in the column to the left, is space for comments and questions.

    If you want to read or see what others are saying about the CRC effort, we’ll post links and documens under IN THE NEWS.





    This is going to move fast. So keep in touch. We need your participation.







  • PROCESS VIDEOS
    To see how the CRC based its work on the experiences of those most affected by the oil spill, click this video below:
    Click this video to watch our mid-course update:
    Click this video to explore the CRC's goals and principles:
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