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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2007

Contact: Jennifer Morgan, Flower Garden Banks NMS
305-292-0311, ext. 245

NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Seeks Applicants for Advisory Council Seats

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is seeking applicants for seven seats on its advisory council, which ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following primary member seats: Recreational Diving, Oil and Gas Production, and Education. Also open are the following alternate seats: Recreational Diving, Oil and Gas Production, Education, and Commercial Fishing. Alternates attend meetings when members are not available, are encouraged to attend other meetings, and may apply for the member seat if a member resigns.

“Sanctuary advisory council members serve as invaluable liaisons between the community and sanctuary staff, and provide consensus-based recommendations for the resource management process,” said George P. Schmahl, sanctuary superintendent. “We are excited about the role that our advisory council has played in the management of the sanctuary, especially during our current management plan review, and we look forward to working with new members.”

Sanctuary program staff select council members based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seats for which they are applying. Consideration includes knowledge of sanctuary resources, community and professional affiliations, residency in the sanctuary area, and philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources. Terms typically run for two years and members serve without pay. The council usually meets during the business day and at least quarterly throughout the year, and members may join working groups focused on specific issues. Current seat holders may re-apply.

Council member application packages may be obtained by calling Jennifer Morgan at 409-621-5151, ext. 103 or by writing to:
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
4700 Avenue U, Bldg. 216
Galveston TX 77551

Application packages are also available for download on the sanctuary’s Web site, http://flowergarden.noaa.gov. Applications should be mailed to the above address and must be received by Sept. 10, 2007.

Located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary includes three separate areas, known as East Flower Garden, West Flower Garden, and Stetson banks. The sanctuary was designated on January 17, 1992. Stetson Bank was added to the sanctuary in 1996. The Flower Garden and Stetson banks harbor the northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States and serve as regional reservoirs of shallow-water reef fishes and invertebrates.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, which manages Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov 

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: http://flowergarden.noaa.gov

 

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