Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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The Agriculture Water Quality Alliance was honored last night with a 2005 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in the category of Ecosystem and Watershed Stewardship. AWQA, a unique regional partnership spearheaded by the agriculture industry and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, works to reduce agricultural runoff and protect the sanctuary and its watersheds. The award is the State of California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor.

“We are very proud to share this award with our AWQA partners for the work we have done collectively to develop and implement innovative conservation practices to improve water quality in our coastal watersheds and our sanctuary,” said Sanctuary Superintendent William Douros. “Through hard work and collaboration, AWQA has created a long-lasting, sustainable and highly effective program that has helped conserve two national treasures – the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Central Coast agriculture.”

AWQA’s achievements were honored at a formal recognition ceremony held on November 22, 2005, at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento, Calif. California’s EPA Secretary Andrew Lloyd and the Undersecretary of the California Resources Agency Karen Scarborough presented the award to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent William Douros, and President of the Central Coast Agriculture Water Quality Coalition and the San Benito County Farm Bureau Paul Hain.

The annual Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Resources Agency, in partnership with the State and Consumer Services Agency. The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.

Since 1999, AWQA has worked to reduce the runoff of agricultural-related sediments, nutrients and pesticides from a six county region draining to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In less than six years, more than 1,000 farmers and ranchers have participated in water quality education programs, developed water quality plans for their individual properties and implemented conservation management practices. Approximately 450,000 tons of soil are prevented from reaching the sanctuary annually, the equivalent to a football field piled 23 stories high.

AWQA partners include the sanctuary, the Central Coast Agriculture Water Quality Coalition representing six county Farm Bureaus, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, six Resource Conservation Districts and the University of California Cooperative Extension. For more information on AWQA, see

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of central California coast and encompasses more than 5,300 square miles of ocean area. Renowned for its scenic beauty and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes and thousands of marine invertebrates and plants.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase public awareness of America’s ocean and Great Lakes treasures by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the program manages 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 natural and cultural resources.

The NOAA National Ocean Service manages the Sanctuary Program and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans and works to balance environmental protection with economic prosperity in its mission 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 our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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