Nicole LeBoeuf named director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service

LeBoeuf brings two decades of conservation and management leadership to post

Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County, California, United States.
Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County, California, United States. (NOAA)

Nicole LeBoeuf, a national leader in ocean conservation and management with more than two decades of experience at NOAA, has been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo as the assistant administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management. In this capacity she will serve as director of the National Ocean Service, America’s ocean and coastal science agency. LeBoeuf, acting in this role since August 2018, also served as the deputy since December 2016.

Nicole LeBoeuf is the assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS), the nation’s most comprehensive coastal and ocean agency.
Nicole LeBoeuf is the assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS), the nation’s most comprehensive coastal and ocean agency. (NOAA)

“Nicole is well positioned to lead NOAA’s National Ocean Service and to continue its rich history of addressing evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our ocean, coasts, and coastal communities,” said Secretary Raimondo. 

Most recently, under her leadership, NOAA’s National Ocean Service played a leading role in working with community leaders, cultural organizations, and national conservation groups to designate the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the nation’s 15th national marine sanctuary, which covers 962 square miles and protects 36 historic shipwrecks with exceptional archaeological, recreational, and national significance. LeBoeuf also oversaw the recent proposal of another sanctuary off the coast of New York, the launch of our first national rip current forecast model, and the development of a data-sharing agreement with an offshore wind company

“With Nicole at the helm, the Ocean Service established itself at the forefront of technology for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, mapping and charting, hypoxia and harmful algal bloom forecasting, and safeguarding communities from risks such as sea level rise and coastal inundation,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.

Prior to joining the Ocean Service, LeBoeuf served as acting deputy director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, where she was responsible for protected species conservation and management. Before that, she served as the chief of that office’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, working to implement the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. LeBoeuf also brings international expertise that includes overseeing NOAA’s Antarctic Treaty System responsibilities, coordinating protected species bycatch reduction efforts in multiple tuna treaties, and representing NOAA at the U.N. General Assembly regarding the protection of deep sea corals.

“The exemplary success and reputation of the National Ocean Service is due to our employees and many partners across the nation who are all deeply committed to the mission and can confidently see how the work we do every day serves the public,” said LeBoeuf. “I am so proud to lead this exceptional team, and their constant vigilance, commitment and dedication to science, service, and stewardship.”

LeBoeuf holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston and a master’s degree in sustainable development and conservation biology from the University of Maryland. 

NOAA’s National Ocean Service provides science-based products and services that support coastal and ocean economic activity, reduce risk to life and property on the coast, and promote more effective protection and use of coastal resources. It does so by gathering oceanographic observations and providing data to users; conducting and applying research for sustainable management, protection, and restoration of ocean and coastal resources; and using place-based approaches to achieve sound resource management.

Media contact

Jennie Lyons, Jennie.Lyons@noaa.gov, 202-603-9372