NOAA names winners of Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards

Awards honor excellence in coastal and ocean resource management, research
January 20, 2015 Eleven individuals and organizations have been named as winners of the 2014 Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards for Excellence in Coastal Ocean Resource Management, an award given by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management for exemplary leadership and a commitment to balancing the human use of coastal and ocean resources with the needs of the environment.
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These national awards, given every two years, honor individuals and organizations that have dedicated countless hours to conserve, protect, and improve the U.S. coasts. They recognize the application of innovative approaches, tools, or technology to advance the field.

Sunset over the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida. One of the 2014 Walter B. Jones Awards was given for research in the reserve. (Credit: Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve)

Sunset over the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida. One of the 2014 Walter B. Jones Awards was given for research in the reserve. (Credit: Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve)

“This year’s award winners represent a wide range of uniquely driven people and activities in the pursuit of wise coastal resource management,” said Jeffrey L. Payne, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

The three award categories are Coastal Steward of the Year, Excellence in Local Government, and Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study.

The awards were created to honor the late 11-term North Carolina congressman Walter B. Jones. As chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, Jones was a strong supporter of NOAA Fisheries and NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (now called the Office for Coastal Management). He provided leadership on numerous legislative initiatives addressing coastal and ocean issues such as commercial shipping, oil spill cleanup and prevention, and flood insurance reform.

Coastal Steward of the Year

  • H. Lee Edmiston, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, for improving the understanding of the importance of Apalachicola River and Bay system, including the economically important oyster, to the region.
  • Spencer Rogers, North Carolina Sea Grant, for his exceptional service as North Carolina Sea Grant’s coastal construction and erosion specialist.

Excellence in Local Government

  • Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Ohio, for developing and offering technical assistance and educational services to address stormwater management issues.
  • Currituck County, North Carolina, for its efforts to protect natural resources while supporting development.
  • Town of Durham, New Hampshire, for developing a climate adaptation chapter to their hazard mitigation plan which presents adaptation strategies to protect areas of town that are at risk to flooding.
  • Monmouth County, New Jersey, provide leadership and direction for the Monmouth County municipalities interested in becoming part of the FEMA Community Rating System in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
  • Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, for demonstrating its commitment to develop and implement a scientifically sound and practical community resilience effort.

Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study

  • Kimberly Bittler, University of Texas Marine Science Institute, for studies in the importance of freshwater inflow, contributing to the recommendations of the amount required to sustain the region’s vibrant ecosystems.
  • Barbara Doll, North Carolina State University, for her research efforts to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of stream restoration using the success of macroinvertebrates as a key indicator.
  • Brent Hughes, University of California – Santa Cruz, for studies in the threats to and resilience of estuarine ecosystems.
  • Justin Ridge, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, for using innovative techniques to assist in restoration efforts of oyster reef communities.
  • Paul Rudershausen, North Carolina State University, for conducting research on the movement and survival rates of a small saltwater fish, the mummichog, in a salt marsh creek using a unique antenna array situated in the water column.
  • Sharon Settlage, North Carolina State University, for technical communication and her articles in North Carolina Sea Grant’s Coastwatchoffsite link magazine.

More information on the winners’ projects can be found on the 2014 Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards website. 

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Kitty Fahey