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NOAA 04 - R409
Feb 9, 2004


Matt Stout, National Marine Sanctuary Program
(301) 713-3125, Ext. 173


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that Maria Brown has been selected as manager of NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Brown had served as the assistant manager since February 2002. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As manager of NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Brown will oversee the management of the 1,255 square mile sanctuary that is located north and west of San Francisco Bay. Established in 1981, the sanctuary is home to 160 species of birds and is the breeding ground for one fifth of California’s harbor seals.

“Maria has worked to protect and educate the public about the Gulf of the Farallones’ incredible diversity of marine life for the past nine years,” said Richard W. Spinrad, assistant administrator for the NOAA National Ocean Service. “We are pleased that she will continue her stewardship of these important resources from a leadership position, and that she will continue to serve the sanctuary, which is one of America’s ocean treasures, in her new role as its manager.”

Brown first began working directly with the sanctuary program in 1996 as the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association Executive Director. The non-profit association helps to protect the resources managed by the sanctuary through collaborative education, interpretation, outreach and research. She then officially joined the sanctuary team as Assistant Manager on Feb. 25, 2002.

During her time working with Gulf of Farrallones, Brown has worked to reduce the disturbance to harbor seals in West Marin, coordinated education about marine resources through the sanctuaries, and worked with the Sustainable Seas Expeditions. Prior to that, she was involved in researching the effects of persistent organic pollutants in the environment. She will be able to bring together many resources to the benefit of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

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 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.

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