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#07-104 April 9, 2007

Marine scientist receives NOAA Excellence Award

Loren Coen, senior marine scientist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Marine Resources Division recently received an Excellence in Restoration Award from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Coen, manager of the shellfish research section of the Marine Resources Research Institute of DNRLoren Coen received the award, which was established to recognize restoration partners that have achieved a level of distinction within their work to restore coastal environments. He was presented the award at the Florida Oyster Reef Restoration workshop in March.

Since 2004, the Restoration Center of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has presented Excellence in Restoration Awards to partners for their work in the field of habitat restoration.  The Restoration Center has generated this award as a means to publicly recognize partners that have achieved a level of excellence in their restoration efforts.

Coen’s commitment and work towards oyster habitat restoration helped to guide the development of a community-based restoration program, South Carolina Oyster Enhancement and Restoration (SCORE), along with DNR biologist Nancy Hadley, in 2000. The SCORE program has functioned as a model for other community-oriented projects in states including Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Alabama and the volunteers work to restore oyster reefs with recycled shells, construct reefs and monitor results.

Additionally, Coen was recognized for his research on the ecological benefits provided by restored oyster habitats. Coen has engaged his colleagues in efforts to develop protocols for monitoring oyster habitat in ways that allow for comparison between sites. The use of similar monitoring protocols is a critical step toward the advancement of habitat restoration.
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