Department of the Interior

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For Immediate Release
December 17, 2004
Contact: Office of Communications

Washington, D.C. -- Today, the Bush Administration provided its response to the U.S. Oceans Commission Report. The Administration's response sets forth various initiatives to enhance the use and conservation of our oceans and coasts, improve management of coasts and watershed, and enhance ocean leadership and coordination.

Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton, referring to the Administration response, noted:

"Our response to the Oceans Commission Report reflects our commitment to address the challenges facing our oceans. The response reflects a commitment to strengthen collaboration among agencies as well as the need for the federal government to strengthen already strong cooperation with state and local governments, community organizations, scientists and individuals to enhance the management of ocean and coastal resources. The Department of the Interior and its agencies look forward to playing an active role in several of the actions the Administration is announcing today in its response.

"The Department of the Interior has extensive ocean-related responsibilities. These responsibilities include the National Park Service's management of 5,000 miles of beaches, coral reefs, kelp forests, glaciers and other coastal resources, including 74 coastal parks encompassing 34 million acres; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's management of 169 coastal and island wildlife refuges; the Minerals Management Service's oversight of nearly 1.8 billion underwater acres of outer continental shelf lands; and the U.S. Geological Survey's extensive scientific research.

"As part of our ongoing and highly successful cooperative conservation efforts, we have already begun to address several of the recommendations of the Commission. For example, Interior is honored to co-chair the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and work cooperatively on coral reef protection, conservation and research. Since 1994, through its Coastal Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its more than 300 partner groups have protected more than one million acres and restored over 100,000 acres of wetlands and other coastal areas. In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey is studying the effect that mercury, pesticide runoff, and marine debris have on our oceans and the organisms that inhabit in them.

"We look forward to continuing and expanding on this vital work."

For more information on Interior's ocean and costal related activities and accomplishments, visit For more information on the Bush Administration response, visit or