FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Balian, Delores Clark
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NORTHWESTERN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS SANCTUARY
The Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will hold nine public meetings to discuss the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem becoming a national marine sanctuary in order to further protect the unique and pristine marine environment of the area.
The scoping meetings slated for the second and third week of April in Hawaii and Washington, D.C., (schedule attached) are part of the procedures established by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The roundtable format of the meetings is designed to gather comprehensive comments through small group facilitators and note takers. Comments will be posted on NOAA's website (http://hawaiireef.noaa.gov) within 48 hours so that participants may be assured that their input is accurately reflected.
"Public input matters a great deal and is the key to determining what a national marine sanctuary will represent in this special Hawaiian ecosystem," said Robert Smith, NOAA's Reserve Coordinator for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Reserve.
Those unable to attend may submit written comments via the website, or mail them directly to the address listed in this release.
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is a chain of smaller islands, atolls, submerged banks and reefs located approximately 100 nautical miles west of the main Hawaiian Islands. This is the largest geographic area ever designated for conservation purposes in the United States and contains 2.7 million acres of coral reef, 14 million nesting seabirds, and 250 fish species; many of which are only found in Hawaiian waters.
NOAA's Ocean Service (NOS) manages the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Reserve. NOAA's Ocean Service (NOS) is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. NOS balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards. For more information about NOAA's National Ocean Service, please visit: http://www.nos.noaa.gov.
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Sanctuary Roundtable Meetings
Comments can be sent to: