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Research institute receives conservation award

Submitted by Carin Bailey Stephens
Phone: 907-322-8730

05/22/08

The U.S. Department of the Interior last month recognized the Coastal Marine Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for its outstanding collaborative work in conservation.

At a ceremony in Washington, D. C., Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne presented former longtime institute director Vera Alexander with the Cooperative Conservation Award. The award recognizes the institute's partnership with the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service. Cleveland Cowles accepted the award on behalf of the MMS.

The institute was founded 15 years ago and is part of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Its scientists work directly with the Minerals Management Service and the State of Alaska to study marine issues associated with the development of oil, gas and minerals in Alaska's outer continental shelf.

According to the Department of the Interior, CMI and MMS made "outstanding contributions to collecting and disseminating environmental information for use in key decisions in oil and gas exploration and development" in Alaska's coastal regions.

By partnering with 49 different organizations from Alaska and around the world, CMI and MMS have raised millions of dollars, as well as in-kind contributions, to fund marine-based research into the potential effects of oil and gas development in Alaska's coastal regions. Research projects are selected based on recommendations and reviews by a six-member committee.

The award notes that the CMI/MMS partnership "strengthens research in the areas of fisheries protection, biomonitoring, physical oceanography and the fate of oil in the marine environment."

Michael Castellini, SFOS associate dean, is the current CMI director.

The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. 55 faculty scientists and 135 graduate students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.

CONTACT: Vera Alexander, 907-474-5071, vera@sfos.uaf.edu, or Carin Bailey Stephens, public information officer, 907-322-8730, stephens@sfos.uaf.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.sfos.uaf.edu/cmi

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