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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 11, 2007

Contact: Jennifer Morgan/FGBNMS
409-621-5151, ext. 103 

NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to Hold Workshops Addressing Key Management Issues

NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, in cooperation with the sanctuary’s advisory council, will hold two public workshops this month to address sanctuary resource management issues.

The first workshop, on July 18, will focus on the impacts of fishing activities in the sanctuary. The second, on July 19, will focus on the potential expansion of sanctuary boundaries. Both workshops will be held at the NOAA Fort Crockett laboratory in Galveston, Tex. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sanctuary is hosting these workshops as a routine part of the ongoing review and revision of its management plan.

“Information gained from these workshops will guide the development of management strategies for the sanctuary,” said George P. Schmahl, Flower Garden Banks sanctuary superintendent. “Public participation is essential to the management plan review process. We look forward to working with sanctuary users and interested citizens to ensure that the sanctuary is managed as a sustainable resource and a healthy ecosystem.”

Sanctuary staff and advisory council members identified fishing impacts and boundary expansion as priority issues based on input provided during the public scoping portion of the management plan review process. The sanctuary plans to hold workshops addressing each of the six priority issues identified, allowing the public to provide input into the future management of the sanctuary.

The workshops will bring together recognized experts, sanctuary advisory council members and the public to discuss each of the issues and to help the sanctuary program design strategies to address them. Both workshops are open to the public, and any persons wishing to comment will be given an opportunity to do so during a public forum period.

For more information about the workshops, or to request a meeting agenda, please contact the sanctuary office at 409-621-5151, ext.103 or visit http://flowergarden.noaa.gov.

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, and 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.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program 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 60 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

NOAA’s National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/

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

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

 

 

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