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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOAA 04 - R405
January 29, 2004

CONTACT:

Gail Krueger, GRNMS
Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
(912) 598-2397

NOAA’S GRAY’S REEF SANCTUARY ADVISORY COUNCIL WELCOMES THREE NEW MEMBERS

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) welcomed three new members to its advisory council at the council’s January 28th meeting---William Berson II, Daniel Gleason and Leslie Sautter. GRNMS is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Berson, coastal policy analyst with The Georgia Conservancy, will serve as the Georgia conservation representative to the council for the next three years. He replaces Patty McIntosh, also of The Georgia Conservancy, in that role. McIntosh served four years on the council.

Gleason, a faculty member of Georgia Southern University’s biology department, will serve as the living resources research representative to the council for the next three years. He replaces George Sedberry of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Sedberry also served four years on the council, the last year as vice-chairman.

Sautter, director of Project Oceanica and associate professor of geology at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, will serve as the university education representative to the council for the next three years. Sautter replaces Matt Gilligan of Savannah State University’s marine sciences program, in that role. Gilligan served four years on the council, the last two of them as chairman.

“We are excited to welcome the new Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council members, all of whom bring talent and expertise to the job,” said GRNMS Manager Reed Bohne. “We also thank Matt Gilligan, George Sedberry and Patti McIntosh for their dedication and hard work over the past years.”

The GRNMS Advisory Council was established in August 1999 to provide advice and recommendations on management and protection of the sanctuary. The council, through its members, also serves as liaison to the community regarding sanctuary issues and represents community interests, concerns and management needs to the sanctuary and NOAA.

GRNMS is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 17 square nautical miles. The area earned sanctuary designation in 1981. GRNMS consists of a series of sandstone outcroppings and ledges up to ten feet in height, in a predominantly sandy, flat-bottomed sea floor. The live bottom and ledge habitat support an abundant reef fish and invertebrate community. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, also use Gray’s Reef year- round for foraging and resting, and the reef is within the known winter calving ground for the highly endangered Northern Right Whale.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s 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 Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (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 nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:
NOAA - http://www.noaa.gov
National Ocean Service - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
National Marine Sanctuary Program - http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary - http://www.graysreef.noaa.gov

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