NOAA05-R499-06
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Sherman
11/3/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
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FLOWER GARDEN BANKS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY ADVISORY COUNCIL
TO HOLD FIRST MEETING

The newly established Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council will hold its first public meeting Nov. 9 in Galveston, Texas. The meeting will be held at the NOAA Fisheries Service Laboratory, 4700 Ave. U, Bldg. 216, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The sanctuary is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“This is a very exciting time for Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary,” said George P. Schmahl, the sanctuary’s manager. “We are looking forward to the inaugural meeting of the sanctuary advisory council. The input we receive will be of valuable assistance in helping us meet the sanctuary's mission.”

All meetings are open to the public, and any persons wishing to comment will be given an opportunity during the public forum period of the meeting. More information and the meeting agenda are available at the sanctuary’s office at (979) 846-5942.

The 11-member Flower Garden Banks Sanctuary Advisory Council consists of eight voting non-governmental members and three non-voting federal government agency members. The advisory council includes representatives from the recreational diving, diving operation, oil and gas industry, recreational fishing, commercial fishing, research, education and conservation communities.

Located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary includes three separate areas, known as East Flower Garden, West Flower Garden, and Stetson Banks. The sanctuary was designated Jan. 17, 1992. Stetson Bank was added to the sanctuary in 1996. The Flower Garden and Stetson banks harbor the northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States and serve as regional reservoirs of shallow-water reef fishes and invertebrates.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is part of the National Marine Sanctuary System, which includes 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes marine and cultural resources. The system is managed by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, which seeks to increase public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs.

The National Ocean Service manages the sanctuary program, and balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Internet:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov

National Marine Sanctuary Program: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: http://flowergarden.noaa.gov