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October 18, 2006

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


Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is seeking applicants for three sanctuary advisory council seats representing university education, living resources research and Georgia conservation.

Candidates will be selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying.  Consideration includes knowledge of sanctuary resources, and community and professional affiliations.  Terms run for three years and members will serve without pay.  The council meets quarterly, depending on issues. Current seat holders may reapply.

The Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was established in August 1999 to provide advice on management and protection of the sanctuary.  The council, through its members, also represents community interests and concerns to sanctuary management and NOAA. More information, including the council charter, may be obtained by contacting Becky Shortland, council coordinator, at (912) 598-2381 or by e-mail at

Letters of application should be mailed to Acting Manager Cathy Sakas, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, 10 Ocean Science Circle, Savannah, GA, 31411.  All applications must be received by Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006.  Applicants who are selected to serve on the advisory council will begin their terms in January 2007.

Designated in 1981, Gray’s Reef is one of the largest nearshore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 23 square miles.  Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary consists of a series of sandstone outcroppings and ledges up to 10 feet in height, in an area of predominantly sandy, flat-bottomed seafloor.  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.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, which manages the Gray’s Reef sanctuary, seeks to increase the 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. From the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA 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 the 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.

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Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

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