(Originally submitted as Hurricane Katrina nomination) 1. Full name of nominee: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
2. Type of Recognition: Bronze Medal
4. Major Line or Staff Office: NOS
5. Position title & grade of each nominee: Organization citation
6. Past awards: 1997 Bronze Medal
7. Nominator’s name and major line: Daniel J. Basta, NOS
What is the significance of the accomplishment? (200 characters): In 2005 the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary successfully responded to the evacuation and recovery from 4 storms, including 3 of the most destructive storms on record: Katrina, Rita and Wilma
I. Certificate Text (150 characters):
In recognition of their professional and personal response to the hurricane impacts to the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
II. Program Booklet Text (350-600 characters): Not required for the Bronze Medal
III. Justification Section 1- Definitions:
Section 2 – Award Justification (maximum 2000 characters): What was the specific goal, challenge or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan?
Goal 5: “Provide critical support to NOAA’s mission” and Goal 1: “Protect, restore and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through an ecosystem approach to management” within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in response to impacts from four hurricanes, including three of the most destructive storms on record: Katrina, Rita & Wilma
What was the context in which the nominee addressed the goal, challenge or problem?
The passage of 4 hurricanes, their impacts through the FKNMS and the home community of the staff
What specific actions did the nominee take to address the goal, challenge or problem?
FKNMS staff prepared for and recovered from the passage and impacts of 4 hurricanes during the 2005 Hurricane Season. Each storm required the preparation and securing of offices, equipment, vessels and vehicles. Each storm also required the preparation and securing of personal property and the evacuation of staff and families. Staff each returned to duty as quickly as possible to repair, replace, and restore damaged infrastructure or resources as needed. In each storm, staff consistently placed their professional duties & communities’ needs ahead of personal ones in an effort to ensure the FKNMS mission and goals could continue to be achieved as a first priority
What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?
First and foremost, all staff members were accounted for before and after each storm and no one was injured. Second, due to staff preparation efforts there were: no government vehicles damaged or destroyed, no critical records or equipment lost due to storm surge flooding and only 5 of 30 government vessels were damaged – 4 minimally and 1 moderately. Third, within 2 weeks following each storm initial surveys of natural and cultural resources were initiated and critical field infrastructure was assessed and repairs initiated as needed. And fourth, staff provided essential post storm assessment and recovery aid to local, state and federal agencies and to their co-workers, neighbors and communities. FKNMS staff has remained positive and dedicated to the mission of the Sanctuary and the health of their community despite many personal storm related impacts and losses.
Section 3 – Additional Information (maximum 2000 characters): How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/deployed?
The hurricane season(s) response is on-going but the majority of the work was accomplished in the first 2-3 months following the passage of the final storm (Wilma) of the 2005 season
What is the short-term impact (1-2 yrs) of the accomplishment on the bureau and/or Department’s mission?
The FKNMS staff has protected critical NOAA infrastructure and natural and cultural resources. Staff has shown their local, state and federal partners their dedication to their mission and their community. This has already resulted in improved coordination among local partners and recognition from community groups
What is the long-term impact (3-5 yrs) of the accomplishment on the bureau and/or Department’s mission?
These efforts will likely bring better long-range planning and disaster preparation and coordination for the FKNMS, the National Marine Sanctuary Program and the federal agencies in the region
Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department or other Federal agencies? If so, how?
FKNMS provided, and continues to provide, operational support for site recovery and clean up operations for the Department of Interior Florida Keys based National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. Without our assistance these entities would have faced significant logistical challenges on emergency facility repairs and debris removal
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or automation? If so, how?
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such as customer service or administrative support? If so, how?
Yes. It ensured the ability of the FKNMS to accomplish its mission, perform as a good partner to other Federal and state agencies in the area, and participate as role models to the community
Following each storm, especially Hurricane Wilma, FKNMS staff went to help their neighbors and communities begin the recovery. Examples include clearing debris, fueling and running generators, and checking in on elderly neighbors; forming neighborhood teams to assess and repair localized damage; and volunteering to provide daycare for kids who’s normal daycare center was damaged by the storm so that the other parents could help restore the center back to operational status.