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Press Releases

April 5, 2007

Rachel Saunders
NOAA Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
(831) 647-4237

David Hall
NOAA Public Affairs
(301) 713-3066, ext. 191


The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program has selected Paul Michel as the new superintendent for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in central California. In this role, Michel will oversee management and operations at the sanctuary. He will assume his new duties on April 29, 2007.

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.

“We are very excited to welcome Paul Michel as part of our team,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of the National Marine Sanctuary Program. “The job of leading a national marine sanctuary requires that we find the best person for the job, and I believe Paul Michel is just that.”

“I am thrilled about this opportunity,” said Paul Michel. “Monterey Bay is at the center of our country’s efforts to understand, protect and wisely use coastal and ocean resources. I view this as an opportunity of a lifetime, and I look forward to joining the great team at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and in the national program.”

 “Paul brings proven experience leading coastal and watershed programs while working closely with local governments, state and federal agencies. He has shown a creative approach to solving tough resource management problems,” said Bill Douros, West Coast regional director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program.  

After more than eight years as the superintendent of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the longest serving in Monterey Bay sanctuary history, Douros was promoted last year to serve as the regional director of the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Michel has worked for the Environmental Protection Agency since 1987, both in Washington, D.C., and, since 1990, in San Francisco.  For eight years he served as the coordinator of EPA’s efforts to recover wetlands in southern California before his present assignment as the manager of the EPA’s Southwest/Border office, where he directs that agency’s wetlands and watershed protection programs across California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.  

Michel has extensive experience collaborating with all levels of government, including Native American tribes and foreign governments, and the private sector on wetlands recovery and resolving coastal pollution issues. In addition, he has been EPA’s point person on numerous regional inter-governmental coordination efforts such as Coastal America, the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, and the tri-state (California, Oregon, Washington) agreement on ocean health. 

Michel earned a Masters degree from Georgia State University in public administration and earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Tennessee in political science. Michel will attend the next sanctuary advisory council meeting on April 20, 2007.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, which manages Monterey Bay National Marine 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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and 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 our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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