A sanctuary advisory council is a community-based advisory group consisting of representatives from
various user groups, government agencies and the public at large. The role of the council is to provide
advice to the sanctuary superintendent on the designation and operation of a national marine
sanctuary. All fourteen sites in the sanctuary system have an advisory council. The Gray's Reef
Sanctuary Advisory Council was established in September 1999.
(L to R): Dustin Rhyan, Anna George, Warren Hupman, Michael Denmark, Pat Geer, Scott Noakes, Becky Shortland, Sarah Fangman, Bob Lynn, Mark Carson, Suzanne VanParreren, Tim Tarver, Mark Padgett, Mary Conley, Kevin Mitchell, Rick DeVictor, Tim Henkel.
Absent: Mona Behl, Jene Nissen, Peter Auster, Warren Fair, Emily Kroutil.
(Photo: Michelle Riley, GRNMS)
Sanctuary Advisory Council Roles
The Sanctuary Advisory Council serves as a forum for consultation and deliberation for the community and as a source
of consensus-based advice to the sanctuary superintendent. This is a community-based participatory process that
assures continued public input to management decision-making, while at the same time expanding public awareness about
the sanctuary and challenging marine resource management issues. Specifically, the Advisory Council's objectives are
to provide the sanctuary superintendent with advice on:
- Protecting natural and cultural resources, and identifying and evaluating emergent or critical issues involving
sanctuary use or resources;
- Identifying and realizing the Sanctuary's research objectives;
- Identifying and realizing education opportunities to increase the public knowledge and stewardship of the
- Assisting to develop an informed constituency to increase awareness and understanding of the purpose and value
of the sanctuary and of the National Marine Sanctuary System;
More information on how the Council conducts its business can be found in the Sanctuary Advisory Council Charter (revised October 2011).
All of the National Marine Sanctuaries have established Advisory Councils. You can find information about other Sanctuary Advisory Councils at NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries web site. One of the Advisory Council's most important strengths comes from the diversity of its membership. The Advisory Council consists of nineteen members representing education, research, sport diving, sport fishing, charter / commercial fishing, conservation, law enforcement and selected government agencies. More information on the Advisory Council members can be found on the Sanctuary Advisory Council Members' list.
The Advisory Council conducts itself in an open, transparent, and publicly accessible process. This allows for comprehensive and effective participation of all stakeholders. All meetings of the Advisory Council are advertised and open to the public; and meeting documents are available for review. Each member links the sanctuary and the Advisory Council process to extensive networks of constituencies. The Advisory Council thus serves as the sanctuary's link to the broader community of stakeholders and as an entry point for community participation in sanctuary management.
The Advisory Council process is helping to vest ownership and responsibility for shaping the future management and protection of the Sanctuary in the community most interested in and dependent upon sanctuary resources. In this way, a sense of community-based sanctuary stewardship is fostered.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Sanctuary Advisory Council Coordinator by phone at (912)-598-2381 or via e-mail at Becky.Shortland@noaa.gov.