Consortium for Ocean Leadership Presents U.S. Senators for Alaska with Inaugural Admiral James D. Watkins Award
Award Presentation at the Annual Consortium for Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum
(Washington, D.C.) – On March 6, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership presented U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R – AK) and Mark Begich (D – AK) with the Admiral James D. Watkins Congressional Leadership Award at the organization’s Public Policy Forum on Economies of a Changing Ocean. The Watkins Award was created in honor of the late Admiral to recognize outstanding contributions to ocean research and education. In the Awards inaugural cycle, Ocean Leadership honored the cofounders of the Senate Oceans Caucus with the distinction.
“In celebration of the late Admiral James D. Watkins, Ocean Leadership created this award in his name to commemorate his deep devotion and dedication to the ocean and to carry on his life’s quest to understand and protect the sea,” said Bob Gagosian, President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Senator Murkowski, the Republican Chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, is one of the foremost experts on energy policy as Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She advances federal investments in ocean science through her seat on the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee; and introduces important legislation to support ocean observations, including the Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2012.
“Admiral Watkins understood and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership understands that without healthy oceans we do not have a healthy planet,” said Murkowski. “Receiving the Watkins Award is an honor, but it’s also a symbol of our teamwork as we vigilantly protect our oceans from myriad threats – whether from catastrophic tsunami debris or genetically engineered fish. Oceans are our farms, our factories, the original water parks and a cornerstone part of our planet’s future.”
“Due to Senator Murkowski’s tremendous leadership in advancing marine science and conserving our nation’s ocean and coastal resources, we are proud to present her with this prestigious award,” said Gagosian. “She is a great asset and advocate for the field of ocean science and we are fortunate to have a Senator who understands the value of investments in science to protect our oceans and coasts.”
Senator Begich is the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, where he has made investment in ocean science a priority through his leadership. He also introduced important legislation to support ocean observations, most notably the Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013.
“With more coastline than all the other states combined, Alaskans respect and appreciate the importance of our oceans more than anyone else,” said Senator Begich. “I’m both grateful and honored to be the recipient of the Admiral Watkins Congressional Leadership Award from Consortium for Ocean Leadership. As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries and the Coast Guard, I will continue to lead the fight in the Senate to increase our scientific knowledge of our Arctic waters, address the incoming problem of marine debris, and combat fake fish that threaten Alaska’s irreplaceable stocks of wild salmon.”
“We are pleased to convey the Admiral Watkins Award to Senator Begich who, with his work ethic and dedication to the ocean, embodies the memory of the Admiral,” said Gagosian. “He is clearly an ocean champion in the U.S. Senate and has provided remarkable support for research to advance our understanding of the issues facing our oceans.”
Senators Murkowski and Begich were presented with the Award at the Reserve Officers Association Building on Capitol Hill where the Public Policy Forum took place. The Forum is held annually by Ocean Leadership to facilitate ocean policy discussions with representatives from Congress, federal agencies, industry and the academic research community. The topics discussed at this year’s Forum included the economic impacts and science requirements for mitigating coastal inundation, the transforming Arctic and ocean acidification. Along with the Award presentations, the Forum featured three panels with various speakers from around the country as well as remarks from Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D- CA 47) and Rob Wittman (R-VA 1). For more information on the Public Policy Forum, click here.*
About the Admiral James D. Watkins Award
This distinguished and meritorious award is named after Admiral James D. Watkins (1927-2012), who dedicated his life to public service with extraordinary influence on the marine science community and ocean policy. Watkins chaired the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (2001-2004), served as the Chief of Naval Operations (1980-1986), Secretary of Energy (1989-1993), President of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) (1993-2000), founding President of the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education (CORE) (1994-2001), and established the National Ocean Science Bowl competition in 1998.
The James D. Watkins Award is presented only when the highest standard of merit has been proven and recognizes those who have distinguished themselves as champions of ocean science through sponsorship of legislation, development of sound ocean policy, or promoting federal investment to advance the field of oceanography.
The Watkins Award is conveyed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; a Washington-DC based nonprofit organization that represents more than 100 of the nation’s leading public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industry. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership was established in 2007 through the merger of JOI and CORE, with the mission to shape the future of ocean science and technology through research, education and sound ocean policy.
About Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Ocean Leadership is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that represents over 100 of the leading public and private ocean research education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy. The organization also manages, coordinates and facilitates ocean research and education programs in areas of scientific ocean drilling, ocean observing, ocean exploration and ocean partnerships.
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
*A video of the Award presentations and remarks by each Senator will be available online here.