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July 26, 2005

Rachel Saunders/MBNMS
(831) 647-4237
Nicole Capps/MBNMS
(831) 647-4206


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary announced the appointment of Cynthia Dawn Walter of Carmel Valley, Calif., as a new at-large alternate member to serve on the sanctuary's advisory council.

Ms. Walter's term will run until February 2008. She will be sworn in at the advisory council's August 5, 2005 meeting at the Cambria Pines Lodge, Cambria, Calif. The meeting is open to the public.

"I am eager to have Ms. Walter join the advisory council. We look forward to capitalizing on her interest to spread the word about the sanctuary, its mission, research and education programs, and the opportunities that exist to cultivate ocean stewards," said Sanctuary Superintendent William J. Douros.

Ms. Walter was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula and is the daughter and granddaughter of commercial fishermen. She is the co-owner with her husband and Chef Ted Walter of Passionfish, a restaurant in Pacific Grove, Calif. She is the vice-president of the California Restaurant Association - Monterey Bay Chapter. She has also served on the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The primary at-large member for this seat, Mike Laffen of Half Moon Bay, is also a restaurateur.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was established in March 1994 to assure continued public participation in the management of the sanctuary. Serving in a volunteer capacity, the advisory council's 20 voting members represent a variety of local user groups, as well as the general public, plus seven local, state and federal government jurisdictions. Alternates attend meetings when primary members are not available and assume a seat if a primary member resigns. Since its establishment, the advisory council has played a vital role in advising the sanctuary and NOAA on critical issues and is currently focused on the sanctuary's development of a new five-year management plan.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of central California coast and encompasses more than 5,300 square miles of ocean area. Renowned for its scenic beauty and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes and thousands of marine invertebrates and plants.

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that 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 National Marine Sanctuary Program 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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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