Dr. William Walker, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, will receive a First Place Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Individual category from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program Office. Walker has spent nearly 40 years researching and protecting the resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Growing up in Louisiana and working in Mississippi, Florida and Washington, D.C., he exemplifies environmental leadership and stewardship for Mississippi and the entire Gulf of Mexico. He actively seeks out collaboration from local, state and federal governments, as well as from industry, academia, NGOs and citizens.
Respected throughout the Gulf and across the nation, Walker has brought this collaborative approach to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, forming the basis of a regional approach to restoring and sustaining Gulf of Mexico resources and coastal communities. Walker has also worked with farmers in the Mississippi Delta and Iowa on nutrient reduction strategies and has helped secure resources for the implementation of best management practices identified in those strategies, thereby reducing nutrient runoff into the Gulf.
Walker has built partnerships with the six Mexican Gulf States and, in 2009, he secured monitoring vessels to support the HABs programs in Campeche and Veracruz, Mexico.
The high regard for Dr. Walker by his peers is reflected in President Obama’s appointing him to the National Ocean Council’s Governance Coordinating Committee representing the Gulf of Mexico region.