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NOAA News Releases 2004
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Nancy Foster, longtime National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist and administrator, has been honored posthumously by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with the naming of a section of the world’s largest coral reef in her honor. Foster becomes only the second American so recognized, the other is famed ecologist and author Rachel Carson for whom a reef was designated in 1996. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“This is a tremendous honor in Nancy’s memory,” said Joseph Geraci, her husband and director of Biological Programs for The National Aquarium in Baltimore. “I know she would be both thrilled and humbled to be the recipient of this designation. She was a person who was passionately concerned about the oceans, and recognized the importance of coral reef ecosystems to the overall health of the planet. In her memory I express the appreciation of her family, friends and colleagues at this honor.”

Foster served in a variety of positions during a 23-year NOAA career that began in 1977 in the Office of Research and Development. Over the ensuing years she served as deputy and then director of the National Marine Sanctuary and National Estuarine Research Reserves Division, as director of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Protected Resources and as deputy assistant administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, and was named as assistant administrator of NOAA’s Ocean Service in 1997. She also served as acting assistant administrator for Fisheries from January to October 1993.

“NOAA has long recognized the many contributions Nancy made to our agency and the greater ocean community,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Nancy was instrumental in the establishment of NOAA’s Office of Habitat Restoration, the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank, the establishment of NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and was the driving force in the development of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Act. As the ocean agency we are proud of this tremendous honor for one of our most distinguished employees.”

Foster played a significant role at NOAA as a coral reef advocate. She was a strong supporter of the establishment of NOAA’s coral program; was involved in the initial cooperative agreement between Florida and NOAA for the establishment of the Key Largo and Looe Key sanctuaries which led to the creation of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; and she was a strong advocate behind the creation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve.

“The Great Barrier reef possesses one of the most beautiful environments on the planet,” said Jon Day, director for Conservation, Biodiversity and World Heritage of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, in formally announcing the designation at a ceremony at the biannual meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in Miami, Fla. “It is only fitting that a reef be named for a person of Nancy’s caliber and dedication to the marine environment. The Nancy Foster Reef commemorates the lifework of a conservationist whose impact on her peers and the natural environment is a shining example to future generations.”

The Nancy Foster Reef is located at Latitude 21°22' South, Longitude 151° 22' East and while no marker will be placed on the reef itself, the reef will be marked on all future charts and maps of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is the principal adviser to the Commonwealth Government of Australia on the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is charged with providing for the protection, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

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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