NOAA 99R401
Contact: Justin Kenney


G.P. Schmahl has been selected manager of the Flower Garden Banks
National Marine Sanctuary
, one of 12 marine sanctuaries administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that protect the nation's premiere marine environments.

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, located 100 miles off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, protects a pair of underwater gardens that harbor the northernmost coral reefs in the United States, and serves as a regional reservoir of shallow-water Caribbean reef fishes and invertebrates.

Beginning in 1991, Schmahl served as manager of NOAA's Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, and since 1997 has served as the Lower Keys regional manager for NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Schmahl has more than 20 years of experience in coral reef ecology and conservation, and most recently was involved in the establishment and monitoring of the Florida Keys Sanctuary's no-take marine reserves.

"In addition to his strong research and resource management background, G.P.'s tenure with the sanctuary provided first-hand experiences in constituent relations, conflict resolution, program development and evaluation, and administration," says NOAA Sanctuary Director Stephanie Thornton. "He also learned the importance of building partnerships across local, state and federal levels."

Schmahl earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Florida State University, and a master's in ecology from the University of Georgia. He and his wife Ginny and their two children, Erik and Daniel, currently reside in Sugar Loaf Key, Fla.

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, with offices in Bryan, Texas, is one of 12 national marine sanctuaries administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates under the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA's national marine sanctuaries serve as trustees for the nation's system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity, and cultural legacy.

Together the 12 marine sanctuaries protect more than 18,000 square miles of important marine habitats, including coral reefs, kelp forests, intertidal, sandy beach, and open ocean.