Community involvement is vital to successfully managing and protecting sanctuary resources. For this reason, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary established a Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council)in the fall of 2005. The Council is a way to get community members involved in sanctuary efforts and develop a sense of stewardship toward the sanctuary.
The role of the Sanctuary Advisory Council is to facilitate communication between the sanctuary staff and the diverse groups of people interested in how sanctuary resources are managed.
The Council consists of 21 members: 16 non-governmental voting members and 5 governmental non-voting members. The 16 voting council seats represent a variety of regional interests and stakeholders, including: Recreational Diving, Diving Operations, Oil and Gas Industry, Conservation, Education, Research, Commercial Fishing, and Recreational Fishing.
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The combined expertise and experience of these individuals creates an advisory council that is a valuable and effective resource for the sanctuary manager. The Council's objectives are to provide the sanctuary manager with advice on:
- Protecting natural and cultural resources;
- Identifying and evaluating emergent or critical issues involving sanctuary use or resources;
- Identifying and realizing the sanctuary's research objectives;
- Identifying and realizing educational opportunities to increase public knowledge and stewardship of the sanctuary environment; and
- Developing an informed constituency to increase awareness and understanding of the purpose and value of the sanctuary and the National Marine Sanctuary System.
The Council may serve as a forum for consultation and deliberation among its members and as a source of advice to the sanctuary manager regarding the management of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
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The Sanctuary Advisory Council holds open meetings to ensure continued public input on management issues and to increase public awareness and knowledge of the sanctuary environment. Public participation at these meetings is welcomed and encouraged.
Click here to see images from recent council meetings and activities.
For further information on the structure and procedures of the Council, see the Sanctuary Advisory Council Charter (2.3MB pdf).
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