The Alabama Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association (CCA Alabama) has announced that Blakeley Ellis will serve as its executive director. Ellis brings an extensive background in communications and event planning to CCA Alabama, which was founded in 1982 and is the second oldest CCA state chapter in the organization.

“We are very excited to have someone with Blakeley’s skill set onboard to focus on membership recruitment, banquet fundraising and communications at this important point in our chapter’s history,” said Russell Cunningham, chairman of CCA Alabama. “We are focused on protecting our marine resources through habitat improvement and we have high expectations for our chapter’s continued growth and success.  Blakeley is the perfect person to build on the chapter’s strong momentum.”

A Gulf Shores native, Ellis developed his passion for the outdoors at an early age and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2000.

“My love of the Alabama Gulf Coast is directly tied to some of my best memories. Most all of them involve fishing, boating, and enjoying everything that makes this area so special,” he said.

Upon graduating from the University of Alabama in 2005, he returned home and joined his local chapter of CCA Alabama, the Lower Alabama Chapter. Over the past 8 years, he has held a number of different positions within CCA Alabama and served on various committees including CCA Alabama’s Government Relations Committee and CCA National’s Gulf Fisheries Committee. In 2006, he joined Legendary Marine as a new and used boat broker and was awarded the Pursuit Boats Top U.S. Salesperson in 2008. In 2009, he took the position of regional advertising manager for Compass Media, Inc. where he worked in a variety of communications mediums before making the decision to join CCA as the executive director of CCA Alabama.

“I look forward to using my business, marketing, and communication experience to further the conservation and well-being of Alabama’s coastal and marine environments,” Blakeley said. “Alabama may have only 50 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, but we have hundreds of miles of backwater bays, creeks, and estuaries.  Each one plays a different role in Alabama’s coastal ecosystem, but all are essential habitat for marine life.  We must be responsible stewards of this wonderful asset and ensure that our children’s children are able to access and enjoy it in the same manner that we can today. That is what CCA is all about, and I am excited to transform my passion for marine conservation from a volunteer role into a full time career.”

CCA Alabama has been instrumental in achieving numerous accomplishments in protecting and rebuilding marine resources in Alabama, including game fish status for speckled trout, redfish, and tarpon, protecting important grass bed/nursery areas from shrimping, and supporting a highly successful gill net buyback plan. The chapter has also launched a vibrant marine habitat program in recent years that has contributed to several noteworthy projects, including construction of two new reefs on the north side of Dauphin island in Mississippi Sound, reef refurbishment projects along Mobile Bay’s eastern shore, and sponsoring expeditions to survey and preserve the ancient deltaic forest recently discovered south of Fort Morgan. The chapter has also launched a Coast Watch program and established a reward system for persons who are instrumental in the arrest of those involved in violations of those laws designed to protect our marine resources.

“Blakeley brings the skill set that Alabama was looking for when we set out to find someone to help lead that state’s chapter during these exciting times,” said Robert Taylor, director of state development for CCA National. “We are looking forward to working with him to continue building a vibrant and effective grassroots organization committed to fulfilling the mission of CCA.”

CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation, with almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters. To become a member of CCA Alabama and be part of building a better future for the state’s coastal and marine resources, go to www.JoinCCA.org and click on Join CCA.

Image courtesy CCA Alabama

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