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Press Releases

April 20, 2007

Cheva Heck
(305) 809-4700 ext 236
(305) 304-0179 (cell)

Florida Keys Sanctuary Advisory Council Chair
Recognized for Leadership

At an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today recognized Marathon resident Bruce Popham as of one of ten “environmental heroes.” Popham, the owner of Marathon Boat Yard and chair of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, has a long history of leadership in volunteer efforts to protect the marine environment.

“True to his status as a leader in the local business community, Bruce Popham has taken a leadership role in volunteer efforts to protect the environment,” said Cdr. Dave Score, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary superintendent. “Bruce understands that the health of his business is linked to the health of Keys waters.”

As the advisory council chair, Popham has reinvigorated the council and focused it on achieving goals in water quality, ecosystem restoration and education and outreach. He also led a successful effort of advisory council members to support the approval by the state of Florida of a new marine reserve, called a Research Natural Area, in Dry Tortugas National Park, complementing the sanctuary’s Tortugas Ecological Reserve.

Popham has been instrumental in the success of Florida’s Clean Marina Program, which recognizes marinas that voluntarily meet standards designed to protect the environment. He also played a key role in planning and implementing outreach to the boating community when the Environmental Protection Agency implemented a No Discharge Zone in state waters of the sanctuary. His advice is invaluable to resource managers because he provides insight into environmental issues from a business perspective.

Popham moved to the Florida Keys in 1998 after an extensive management career with SC Johnson. He purchased Marathon Boat Yard, later expanding the business to include diesel parts and repair and a boat sales and brokerage office. Popham has served on the board of the Great Marathon Chamber of Commerce and the Mid Keys Marine Association. He serves as secretary for the Marathon Economic Development Council.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,896 square nautical miles of important marine habitat, including maritime heritage resources, as well as coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats. NOAA and the state of Florida manage the sanctuary.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program 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.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitats through scientific research, management, and enforcement.  NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

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 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 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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