Nominate Outstanding Steward in Coastal and Marine Habitat Conservation

Do you know someone who has done great things for coastal and marine habitat conservation?  The NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation and our partner, American Fisheries Society, are seeking nominations for the 2018 Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award by June 22, 2018.  See nomination instructions and eligibility details (Download File) for more information about the submission process.

NOAA has a long history of honoring outstanding stewards in habitat conservation.  Since 1997,  when the first Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award was established, NOAA has sought to recognize and honor U.S. citizens for their exceptional contributions to habitat conservation in the coastal and marine environment.  The award is presented in honor of Dr. Foster’s outstanding long-term contributions and organizational efforts to protect and restore coastal and marine habitats.

Dr. Foster, a marine biologist from Electra, Texas, served 23 years at NOAA leaving a remarkable imprint on the agency.  After joining NOAA in 1977, and NOAA Fisheries in 1986, she created the Office of Habitat Conservation, the NOAA Restoration Center, and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.  Her career soared to become Deputy Administrator of NOAA Fisheries and in 1987, as the Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s Ocean Service.   Dr. Foster, the first recipient of the Foster award, passed away in June 2000 creating a legacy as a pioneer and visionary in understanding coastal and marine ecosystems and their conservation.  


We continue to honor Dr. Foster’s legacy, her unique vision, and understanding of coastal and marine ecosystems by seeking to recognize today’s stewards of exemplary habitat conservation in the coastal and marine environment.   Past award winners have included volunteers, scientists, journalists, teachers, administrators, and others contributing to coastal and marine habitat conservation. 

This year NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce that the 2018 Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award will be presented on December 10, 2018, at the Restore America’s Estuaries and Coastal States Organization 9th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management in Long Beach, California.


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What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The global conveyor belt, shown here, circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water throughout the world. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is part of this complex system of global ocean currents.)

The ocean’s water is constantly circulated by currents. Tidal currents occur close to shore and are influenced by the sun and moon. Surface currents are influenced by the wind. However, other, much slower currents that occur from the surface to the seafloor are driven by changes in the saltiness and ocean temperature, a process called thermohaline circulation. These currents are carried in a large “global conveyor belt,” which includes the AMOC.

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and back in a long cycle within the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings warmth to various parts of the globe and also carries nutrients necessary to sustain ocean life.

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What is latitude?

Latitude lines start at the equator (0 degrees latitude) and run east and west, parallel to the equator. Lines of latitude are measured in degrees north or south of the equator to 90 degrees at the North or South poles.

Lines of latitude, also called parallels, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run east to west, but measure your distance north or south. The equator is the most well known parallel. At 0 degrees latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude increases as you travel north or south, reaching 90 degrees at each pole.

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What is longitude?

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west. Longitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Although latitude lines are alway equally spaced, longitude lines are furthest from each other at the equator and meet at the poles. A transcript is available that describes this infographic content in plain text. (Image credit: iStock)

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west.

The prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England, has a longitude of 0 degrees. It divides the Earth into the eastern and western hemispheres. The antimeridian is on the opposite side of the Earth, at 180 degrees longitude. Though the antimeridian is the basis for the international date line, actual date and time zone boundaries are dependent on local laws. The international date line zigzags around borders near the antimeridian.

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What is a barrier island?

Satellite image of Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Barrier islands form as waves repeatedly deposit sediment parallel to the shoreline. As wind and waves shift according to weather patterns and local geographic features, these islands constantly move, erode, and grow. They can even disappear entirely.

They are generally separated from the mainland by tidal creeks, bays, and lagoons. Beaches and sand dune systems form on the side of the island facing the ocean; the side facing the shore often contains marshes, tidal flats, and maritime forests. These areas are important habitat for seabirds, fish and shellfish, and and nesting sea turtles.

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