A Mayoral Proclamation by the City of Savannah, Ga., has recognized Jan. 16 as Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary Day in honor of the 23rd anniversary of the sanctuarys designation. The U.S. Commerce Departments National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages the sanctuary.
The official Mayoral Proclamation, which was signed by then-Mayor Floyd Adams in December, is posted on the sanctuarys Web site at http://graysreef.noaa.gov, The proclamation recognizes that Grays Reef holds a significant and unique place in the heart of Savannah and that the sanctuary is the only federally protected example of the marine environment between North Carolina and the Florida Keys. Savannah, where the Grays Reef Sanctuarys administrative offices are located, enjoys economic, health and recreational benefits from its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean of which Grays Reef is an important part.
It is an honor to have the city recognize the value and benefit of NOAAs Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary through this proclamation, said Greg McFall, Grays Reef Sanctuarys science coordinator. We look forward to opportunities that further involve the community, through education and outreach efforts, as together we share the future of this national treasure.
The sanctuary will hold celebratory events at its annual OceanfestSavannahs community-wide festival celebrating all ocean related aspects. Oceanfest is traditionally held in the summer.
Grays Reef contains one of the largest near-shore, live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 17 square nautical miles. The sanctuary supports an abundant reef fish and invertebrate community. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, use Grays Reef year-round for foraging and resting. The sanctuary is adjacent to the only known winter calving ground for the endangered northern right whale.
Grays Reef was designated in 1981 as the nations fourth marine sanctuary. Five years later, its value as a unique bioregion was recognized by the United Nations. The sanctuary is a habitat of particular scientific interest and is an area of great favor to sport fisherman and divers.
NOAAs National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of Americas maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of Americas ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.
NOAAs National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nations coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.
The Commerce Departments NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nations coastal and marine resources.
On the Web: NOAA - http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA Ocean Service - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
National Marine Sanctuary Program http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary - http://graysreef.noaa.gov