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NOAA appoints members to Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed ten new members to the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation’s MPA programs. The new members join the ten continuing members appointed in 2012. 

The committee provides advice and support to the National Marine Protected Areas Center which works with federal agencies, states, tribes, and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive and effective national MPA system to conserve the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

“The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee provides critical and practical advice on ways to collaborate across MPA programs and engages with partners to tap the great potential of these special places in protecting our environment and sustaining local communities,” said Lauren Wenzel, acting director of NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center. “I am pleased to welcome such a diverse and highly qualified group.”  

Required as part of Presidential Executive Order 13158, which called for the creation of a national system of marine protected areas, the committee includes natural and social scientists, commercial and recreational fishermen, members of the energy and tourism industries, state and tribal resource managers, and members of conservation organizations. In addition, representatives of nine federal agencies serve in a non-voting capacity.

The new members and the constituencies they represent are:

  • Brian Baird, former assistant secretary for ocean and coastal policy, California Resources Agency, Novato, California (state agencies) 
  • Rick Bellavance, charter boat captain, Rhode Island (recreational fishing) 
  • Mark Carr, Ph.D., professor of ecology at University of California, Santa Cruz, California (natural science) 
  • Martha Honey, Ph.D., director of the Center for Responsible Travel, Washington, D.C. (tourism) 
  • Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-Sea Processors Association (APA), Juneau, Alaska (commercial fishing) 
  • Samantha Murray, Pacific program director for the Ocean Conservancy, Portland, Oregon (conservation) 
  • Ryan Orgera, Ph.D., legislative representative, Coastal States Organization, Washington, D.C. (social science) 
  • Pete Stauffer, senior ocean program manager, Surfrider Foundation, Portland, Oregon (non-consumptive users)
  • Trisha Watson, J.D., Ph.D., principal, Honua Consulting, Honolulu, Hawaii (cultural heritage resources)
  • Margaret Williams, managing director of the Arctic Field Program, World Wildlife Fund, Anchorage, Alaska (conservation)

The committee invites experts and diverse MPA stakeholder groups to its public meetings, which also provide an opportunity for public comments.

(Picture: The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, which includes habitat for puffins in its territory, is part of the National Marine Protected Area Inventory List. Credit: NOAA.)


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