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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2006

CONTACT:
Jennifer Morgan
Flower Garden Banks
National Marine Sanctuary
(409) 621-5151

FLOWER GARDEN BANKS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY TO HOLD PUBLIC COMMENT MEETINGS FOR MANAGEMENT PLAN REVIEW

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary will hold a series of public comment meetings this month to provide individuals and organizations the opportunity to comment on sanctuary management. These meetings, along with the release of the State of the Sanctuary Report, are the first steps in the management plan review process.

The first meeting will be held on Oct. 17 in Webster, Texas (Houston/Galveston area) at the Webster Civic Center, 311 Pennsylvania Street. A second meeting will be held on Oct. 19 in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies on the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus, 6300 Ocean Drive and the third public session will be held on October 24 in New Orleans, La., at the Audubon Zoo-Dominion Learning Center, 6500 Magazine Street. All three meetings will begin at 7 p.m.

“The National Marine Sanctuary Program regards the involvement of communities and the public as vitally important in successfully managing sanctuary resources,” said George P. Schmahl, the sanctuary’s manager. “We are eager to begin the review of our original management plan and look forward to having the public participate at these meetings.” Management plan reviews are held to ensure that each site properly conserves and protects its nationally significant living and cultural resources.

To receive more information about the public comment sessions and the management plan review, or to request a copy of the State of the Sanctuary Report, please contact the sanctuary’s office at (409) 621-5151 x103, or send e-mail to fgbmanagementplan@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. 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 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

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency 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 and more than 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Internet: NOAA
NOAA's National Ocean Service
National Marine Sanctuary Program
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary



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