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News Releases from Region 04

EPA announces Dr. Christina Simoniello as 2019 Gulf Guardian Winner in Florida

Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (
(404) 562-9183, (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sept. 26, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division announced Dr. Christina Simoniello as a 1st Place Gulf Guardian award winner for work with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association to improve water quality, habitat and environmental education in the gulf.

“Protecting the Gulf of Mexico requires innovative approaches and proactive measures,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.”

“Plentiful marine resources, pristine beaches and economic vitality make the Gulf of Mexico a national treasure worthy of protection and preservation,” said Acting Gulf of Mexico Division Director Lakeshia Robertson. “The Gulf Guardian winners embody environmental stewardship. Their efforts are creating a healthy and resilient Gulf for residents and tourists alike.”

Dr. Simoniello has comprehensive knowledge of the gulf, is passionate about education and outreach, and is the person everyone wants to work with in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2018, Dr. Simoniello provided leadership to countless classrooms and festivals in the gulf region, GOMA activities, the Animal Telemetry Network, the Marine Biological Observation Network, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Stewards, the Citizen Science Data Portal and much more. Dr. Simoniello has also improved the Gulf of Mexico environment by using her primary role as the GCOOS Regional Association’s education and outreach coordinator to inspire gulf residents, innovate scientific and educational approaches, and integrate information and resources. Additionally, Dr. Simoniello leads two annual science festivals that inspire thousands of gulf residents with hands-on environmental activities.

The Gulf of Mexico Division initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. Awards were given in 2019 in five categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations and partnership.

The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.

For more information about the EPA Gulf of Mexico Division go to: