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Press Releases

June 17, 2005

Becky Shortland
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
(912) 598-2381


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary will hold its next sanctuary advisory council meeting in Charleston, S.C., June 21-22.

The meeting will be at the Doubletree Guest Suites, 181 Church St., from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday June 22. The meeting's primary focus will be on recommendations from the Marine Research Area Concept Working Group, a working group of the sanctuary advisory council.

All meetings are open to the public. A public comment period is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on June 21 and again at 11 a.m. on June 22. To receive more information or to request a meeting agenda, contact Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisor Council Coordinator Becky Shortland at (912) 598-2381.

The Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary 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.

NOAA's Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 22.5 square miles. The area earned sanctuary designation in 1981. The sanctuary 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 Office of National Marine Sanctuaries seeks to increase the public awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. The office manages13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA's National Ocean Service manages the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 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.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely the nation's coastal and marine resources.

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