FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dave Miller
News Releases 2007
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Washington — U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today participated in an annual wreath-laying ceremony that honored President Thomas Jefferson’s 264th birthday and marked the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s establishment of the first federal science agency, the Survey of the Coast in 1807. The ceremony was hosted by the National Park Service, the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, and the District of Columbia Society Sons of the American Revolution.
To help facilitate safe, efficient commerce, President Jefferson signed legislation creating the Survey of the Coast in 1807 to survey and map the country’s coastline. The survey evolved into the nation’s first scientific agency, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, a predecessor of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Thomas Jefferson recognized that efficient maritime commerce and border defense were essential to the nation’s independence and prosperity,” said Gutierrez. “The tools to succeed were accurate charts of shores, waters, and hazards to safe navigation. For two centuries in both peace and wartime, the Survey of the Coast has provided navigational tools to safely and efficiently move cargo and people through our coastal waterways and generate jobs and opportunities. We can only think that President Jefferson would be very proud.”
From those humble beginnings 200 years ago, NOAA’s impact is now worldwide. NOAA has partnered with more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global Earth Observation System that, over the next decade, will revolutionize the understanding of Earth and how it works. With benefits as broad as the planet itself, the U.S.-led initiative promises to make people and economies around the globe healthier, safer, and better equipped to manage basic daily needs.
also provides products and services that affect 30 percent of the
United States’ Gross Domestic Product every year. Waterborne
commerce remains the backbone of the U.S. economy, contributing
over 13 million jobs and $1 trillion annually. The fishing
industry adds another $30 billion each year to the nation’s
economy. Ocean research
adds additional billions in new products and discoveries. The value
of lives and property saved through NOAA’s timely weather
and climate forecasts and warnings is beyond calculation.