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March 2, 2007

Contact:  Ben Sherman
(301) 713-3066 ext. 178

NOAA Honors Coastal Cleanup Volunteers at Louisiana Coastal Conservation State Convention

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will honor and recognize the outstanding work of the volunteers, leadership, and collaboration of the Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association, Louisiana Sea Grant, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the planning and implementation of the Calcasieu Lake Marine Debris Surveying, Marking, Mapping, and Removal Project.

On March 3, the awardees will be presented plaques at a formal ceremony during the annual state convention of the Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association in Baton Rouge. The presentation is recognition of the collaboration and cooperation and the first-of-a-kind effort to see the efforts of volunteers from a greatly affected coastal community lead to the removal of debris and hazards from a nationally significant coastal estuary by a state agency.

"Having partners at the local levels helps make our work easier and more effective," said John H. Dunnigan, director of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "It is through the cooperative efforts like those demonstrated in Louisiana that NOAA finds its mission most successfully carried out."

The Calcasieu Lake Marine Debris Surveying, Marking, Mapping and Removal Project was initiated through a partnership with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. The project identified hazards, developed a website and received and post reports and map graphics of hazards from the project, coordinated with the state’s DNR in providing coordinates and information to facilitate removal of the hurricane debris and hazards today. With the aid from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and a tremendous volunteer effort, the collective endeavor identified and is facilitating the removal of nearly 100 pieces of marine debris in Calcasieu Lake, La., a vital shipping channel and significant estuary for the southwestern Louisiana economy.

Two main events were organized on Calcasieu Lake to engage volunteers in the location, marking, and reporting of hazards and debris positions to NOAA and Louisiana Sea Grant. The Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association Lake Charles chapter provided large numbers of volunteers and support for the events as well as continued to encourage their membership to report any locations of debris and hazards to NOAA and Sea Grant even today. The start of this year saw the beginning of the debris removal work coordinated by Louisiana DNR.

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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