The Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award was established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Habitat Conservation in May 1997.
At the end of May 1997, Dr. Nancy Foster left the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to become the Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management (NOS). Throughout her professional career with NOAA she has been instrumental in protecting, conserving and restoring threatened and at risk habitats of the living marine resources of the United States.
Under her direction, the NOAA Restoration Center was created to guide all of NOAA’s efforts. These responsibilities involved actions in the areas of the Damage Assessment and Restoration Program, the Coastal Wetland Planning Protection and Restoration Act, the Army Corps of Engineers Memorandum of Agreement and many others. She also established the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program Office with responsibilities for coordinating NOAA participation in this national model for ecosystem management. Dr. Foster also created the NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation as a national program office equal in organizational stature as that of both the Office of Protected Resources and the Office of Sustainable Fisheries. Since the creation of this Office, the completion of the National Habitat Plan and the enactment of the of the essential fish habitat provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Act has occurred. The Office of Habitat Conservation and its continuing important work to save marine habitats will be Dr. Foster’s legacy to future generations.
The first award was given to Dr. Foster in 1997 for her outstanding contributions and organizational efforts to conserve and restore marine habitats of the United States, and to mark her departure from NMFS to become the NOAA Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service. During her tour in NMFS, Dr. Foster had directed agency programs on protected resources and habitat and had risen to Deputy Assistant Administrator of NMFS, and had always maintained a clear focus on NOAA’s primary constituents -living marine resources and their habitats.
The Estuaries Section has hosted the award ceremony at several annual business meetings, and is part of the application review committee.
Information about the 2015 Award will be posted soon. For more information about nominations, and past recipients please visit the NOAA Habitat Conservation website.