The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Sanctuary Program is looking for seven new members to jump on board the Channel Islands Advisory Council before the end of the month.
Mike Murray, the advisory council coordinator, said the NOAA, a federal agency, is accepting applications and plans to have the new members picked by Oct. 26. Murray said six of the seven current members reached the end of their two-year term this year, and one member resigned early due to time conflicts.
“The process for reappointment is very democratic,” Murray said. “People can reapply, but the people involved in reviewing the applications look at the different aspects different applicants bring.”
The council works on such issues as expanding protected waters, offshore aquaculture, water protection policies and the effects of noise on the underwater environment, Murray said. The council advises the NOAA sanctuary manager on such policies.
“The council is pro-active,” Murray said. “They like to get ahead on these issues before they become a problem.”
The council also has various working groups that focus on specific marine affairs like conservation and fishing, Murray said. He said students are more attracted to being involved in the working groups than the council.
“We’ve had some students apply in the past and they were very competitive,” Murray said. “Students that want to get a little more involved in helping should look into the working groups.”
Council Chair Dianne Black said she plans for the council to activate the new members at its first meeting in November.
“We like to provide opportunities for other people to participate,” Black said.
According to a Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary press release, the council will select new members based on their “expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying.” The release states that applicants will be chosen based on such factors as their community participation, professional affiliation and views on the conservation and management of marine resources.
Murray said there are general qualifications for all members and special qualifications specific to each chair. For instance, he said the research alternate should have good scientific networking. Good communication and networking skills are necessary for all applicants.
“We’re looking for people who have the time and availability, that will make the commitment to this group, that have an experience and understanding in marine issues, and are willing to work together with other people in the community,” Murray said.
Murray said applicants must realize that these are volunteer positions without stipend, and they will require traveling.
“The council meets six times a year for a day meeting – typically Friday – and the meetings alternate between Santa Barbara and Ventura,” Murray said.
Black said the NOAA is not looking for drastic change with the new council, but hopes the new members will continue the progress they have already made.
“We want to continue on the good work we’re doing now, on managing and planning marine research and to enhance our public outreach,” Black said.