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Plymouth Wins a 2012 NOAA/Jones Award
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012
The Town of Plymouth is among the winners of the 2012 Walter B. Jones Sr. Memorial Award for Coastal and Ocean Resource Management, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Plymouth was selected for excellence in local government, along with communities from Florida, California and Oregon. The awards, presented every other year, honor "the people and organizations of America for their dedication and outstanding contributions in helping the nation maintain healthy coastal and ocean resources and balance the needs of these resources with human use." Six North Carolina graduate students also are winners for excellence in coastal and marine graduate study. See separate news release.
The national awards are named for Walter B. Jones, Sr., who represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1966 to 1992. For many years, he chaired the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, where he was a strong supporter of the National Marine Fisheries Service and Coastal Zone Management. He provided leadership on numerous legislative initiatives addressing coastal and ocean issues ranging from commercial shipping to oil spill cleanup and prevention, to flood insurance reform.
"This is an incredible honor and recognition of our vision and journey in Plymouth. It reflects the enduring dedication and hard work of many great citizen volunteers, several outstanding community organizations and the leadership of our town officials," Mayor Brian Roth notes.
Roth adds that the town is blessed with an amazing river delta teaming with wildlife and spectacular beauty. "It is our responsibility to be the best stewards we can be of this great gift, while continuing to promote our local businesses and our community."
North Carolina Sea Grant nominated Plymouth for its efforts to identify opportunities for economic growth while maintaining the environmental quality and diversity in the Lower Roanoke River Basin, which has been called the state's environmental "crown jewel."
The leaders of Plymouth seek to maintain the health and enjoyment of the Roanoke River. Citizens and out-of-town visitors enjoy the walkable historic and business district, a kayak launch point, and a series of camping areas. Plymouth is an integral part of North Carolina's birding and paddling trails, and hosts fishing tournaments and boat races.
The town also participated in the National Sea Grant Coastal Communities Climate Adaptation Initiative, part of a $1.2 million national program to help communities cope with short and long-term impacts, from tropical storms to sea-level issues. Town leaders worked with North Carolina Sea Grant extension specialists and researchers at East Carolina University's Renaissance Computing Institute Regional Engagement Center to develop maps that predict areas prone to flooding. The group participated in strategy sessions for dealing with problems such as sewage spills that come with flooding.
The town's effort to cope with water-rise was featured in Sea Grant's Spring 2012 issue of Coastwatch magazine in an article by Michelle Covi, a graduate student Jones award winner. The magazine is available online at www.ncseagrant.org by following the Coastwatch link.
For more information, see the NOAA National Ocean Service site at: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/programs/ocrm/jonesnoaa/2012winners.html.
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