Meg Goecker has joined the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium office at the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center in Mobile, Ala., as a habitat restoration specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center.
She will be in charge of developing a community-based restoration program in Alabama. In her new position, she will give technical assistance to help improve restoration project design, ensure environmental compliance and advance restoration techniques. She also will support collaboration with public, private and agency partners to identify and prioritize restoration projects.
Goecker already is working with The Nature Conservancy on a project funded for $2.9 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Nature Conservancy will create submerged breakwater reefs along two stretches of shoreline, protecting more than 18 acres of habitat for submerged aquatic vegetation and creating almost 2 acres of oyster reef.
There are many other smaller restoration projects happening in Alabama through the NOAA restoration center and their partners, Goecker said.
She recently returned to the United States after spending the last five years in Australia working on marine policies and working as an evaluation and reporting officer with the State of South Australia.
Goecker has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in marine science from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
“Every restoration project accomplished, no matter how small, will help return ecosystem services, as well as provide education to the next generation of natural resource managers,” Goecker said.