O’Keefe to facilitate Alabama Working Waterfront Coalition, coordinate exhibit

Kristen O'Keefe
Kristen O’Keefe has joined the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Team.

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center welcome Kristen O’Keefe in her new role as a coastal community development specialist.

Working with the Alabama Working Waterfront Coalition, O’Keefe will help facilitate coalition meetings as the group works to support recreational and commercial water access and businesses that rely on water access for survival.

O’Keefe also is coordinating the first Alabama Working Waterfront Exhibit, which will take place May 4-5 in Bayou La Batre in conjunction with the Blessing of the Fleet. The exhibit will be a community event that celebrates the culture and importance of Alabama’s waterfront communities.

“We are looking forward to highlighting Alabama waterfront history and culture at this event, which we hope continues annually,” said LaDon Swann, director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Auburn University Marine Programs. “Kristen already has 13 organizations and businesses committed to taking part in the working waterfront exhibit.”

O’Keefe also will work to help facilitate cooperation between waterfront users and elected officials, on such topics as water access and user conflicts. She will support of the Alabama Waterfronts Access Study Committee’s recommendations, spreading public awareness of the importance of a working waterfront and enhancing the coordination efforts of the Alabama Working Waterfront Coalition.

“I believe having a balanced, healthy working waterfront is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for the coastal counties of Alabama, as well as the entire state,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Florida State University. She also is a part-time contract employee with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, where she works as a project coordinator on the review and revision effort of the Alabama Gulf Ecological Management Sites program and facilitator of the Coastal Marine Spatial Planning steering committee.

O’Keefe can be reached at 251-438-5690 or kokeefe@auburn.edu.