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June 12, 2007

Contact: Alison Hammer
(301) 713-3000 x110

Ben Sherman
(301) 713-3066

NOAA Volunteers and Partners Restore Chesapeake Bay Habitat in Maryland and Virginia

Hundreds of volunteers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal, state, and local organizations today joined forces in Maryland and Virginia during the fourth annual NOAA Restoration Day to restore and enhance vital habitat at two sites in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The event is one of the largest voluntary federal employee sponsored environmental stewardships in the Chesapeake Bay area.

“The tradition of NOAA Restoration Day continues to inspire a personal sense of stewardship for one of our nation’s treasures, the Chesapeake Bay,” said Timothy Keeney, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “Our commitment to restoring the health of Chesapeake Bay remains a source of pride for all NOAA employees.”

The Maryland event was held at the state’s Jug Bay area at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Virginia project took place at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rice Center in Charles City, Va.

At Jug Bay, more than 150 NOAA volunteers joined staff from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, and Patuxent River Park to restore a portion of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. Volunteers planted underwater grasses grown in 22 tanks in NOAA offices, transplanted wild rice, performed fish seining and sampling, mapped and removed invasive plants, completed digital elevation mapping, built wood duck boxes, and conducted flora and fauna surveys. Today’s activities were part of a series of projects designed to restore and enhance natural resources within Jug Bay.

In Virginia, more than 40 NOAA employees were joined by Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr., and staff from VCU's Rice Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Virginia Sea Grant, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Nauticus to restore a portion of the James River. Volunteers planted native marsh grasses, cleared debris from the James River shoreline, conducted a tree census, and participated in the release of an Atlantic sturgeon. Their activities were part of a larger effort to create a 70-acre tidal wetland site on the Rice Center property.

NOAA Restoration Day provides an opportunity for NOAA employees to put the mission they support in their office work into action and to demonstrate their commitment to restoration and protection of the Bay. The event began in 2004 through an innovative partnership between the NOAA National Ocean Service’s Special Projects Office, NOAA Fisheries Service’s Restoration Center, and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.

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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