NOAA 2003-R804
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Rear Admiral Nicholas A. Prahl, NOAA, was confirmed April 1 as a Commissioner on the Mississippi River Commission by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. Prahl is director of the Marine Operations Center, which manages the daily operations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fleet of research and survey ships on all U.S. coasts and in international waters. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Prahl was first nominated in 1999 for the position under the Clinton Administration, and re-nominated under the Bush Administration in 2002. He has been serving on the commission as the designated nominee for nearly four years.

The Mississippi River Commission (MRC), created by an act of Congress in 1879, was charged with creating a comprehensive plan to facilitate navigation and prevent destructive floods along the entire Mississippi River. Its membership was specified in the law to include three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers; and a member from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (which became part of NOAA in 1970). Since the flood of 1928, the MRC has focused primarily on overseeing the Congressionally enacted Mississippi River and Tributaries Project, which was to deal with flood control and navigation on the lower Mississippi River. In recent years, the Commission has resumed its mandated responsibility to consider issues along the entire Mississippi River.

A member of the NOAA Commissioned Corps–the smallest of the nation’s seven uniformed services–since 1970, Prahl has served aboard five NOAA ships. Ashore, he has served in a variety of staff and management positions, the majority of which were in NOAA’s mapping and charting organizations. He has served as the deputy director of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, chief of the Marine Chart Division, and deputy director and acting director of the Office of Coast Survey, where he was the National Hydrographer responsible for the nation’s nautical charting program.

Prahl received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Harvard University, and master’s degrees in geology from the University of Colorado and in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University. He currently resides in Suffolk, Va., and maintains offices at Marine Operations Center facilities in Norfolk, Va., and Seattle, Wash.

NOAA 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.

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