For Immediate Release - June 13, 2013

Gulf of Maine Council Presents Awards to Massachusetts Environmental Leaders

SALEM – Thursday, June 13, 2013 – On behalf of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Director Bruce Carlisle has honored four Massachusetts individuals at the council’s 2013 Awards Ceremony for their important contributions to the health of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

These awards recognize exceptional work to protect and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine by individuals, organizations and communities within the states and provinces bordering the Gulf of Maine, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Marine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

“It is an honor to present these awards to such dedicated and successful individuals and groups throughout the Gulf of Maine,” said Director Carlisle. “I am particularly proud of the Massachusetts recipients who showed that leadership and ingenuity can generate real results for our coastal and ocean environment.”

During the ceremony, the council presented four awards to individuals and organizations from Massachusetts. The first was the prestigious Longard Volunteer Award, which is given in honor of Art Longard, a Nova Scotia resident and devoted conservationist who helped launch the Gulf of Maine Council. The award recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has made significant contributions to conserving or managing the Gulf of Maine’s resources through stewardship projects, educational programs, volunteer monitoring and scientific research.

Geoff Walker from Newbury, Massachusetts, received the award for his active conservation work on the North Shore to ensure access to a healthy and well-managed marsh ecosystem and promote an appreciation and respect of local heritage and traditions. Through the Great Marsh Revitalization Task Force, Mr. Walker works to promote and restore marsh habitat through removal of tidal restrictions, combating invasive marsh plants, and restoring oysters and eelgrass in the Great Marsh.

Visionary Awards, which are presented to individuals who stand out for their innovation, creativity and commitment to protecting the marine environment, were presented to two Massachusetts residents:

  • Jeremy Bell, Resource Specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration. Mr. Bell has provided outstanding leadership on some of the most complex coastal restoration projects in New England, resulting in acres of restored habitat, such as the Stony Brook Restoration Project in Brewster, Massachusetts.
  • Chris Miller, the Town of Brewster’s Department of Natural Resources Director. Mr. Miller has led several efforts resulting in successful restoration of impaired salt marsh and fish passage. In particular, his success in encouraging people to join volunteer groups and his innovative ways of expanding programs in spite of funding challenges serve as an example of true dedication and commitment to the natural environment and the wellbeing of communities.

Julia Knisel of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management was also presented with a distinguished service award for her years of active participation with and service on behalf of the council, where she has helped Gulf of Maine communities increase awareness of and resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.

The Gulf of Maine Council is a US-Canadian partnership of government and non-government organizations that focuses on maintaining and enhancing environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine – a marine resource covering 36,000 square miles of ocean and 7,500 miles of coastline.

The council is meeting this week in Salem to discuss work related to its mission in the Gulf of Maine and the implementation of its five-year action plan. The council is focusing on ways in which it can promote research on the impacts of climate change on the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, help disseminate information and assist communities in adaptation efforts. Massachusetts council members are Bruce Carlisle from CZM; Priscilla Brooks, Director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Ocean Conservation Program; and Jack Wiggin, Director of University of Massachusetts Boston’s Urban Harbors Institute. Massachusetts, through the Office of Coastal Zone Management, has chaired the council since June 2012 and will be passing on chair responsibilities to Nova Scotia on June 13, 2013.

For additional information about the Gulf of Maine Council awards and other opportunities, visit www.gulfofmaine.org.