Washington State Natural Resources employee receives Meritorious Public Service Award

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard awarded a Washington State employee for her environmental accomplishments at a ceremony held in Olympia, Wash, Thursday.

Capt. Suzanne Englebert, Captain of the Port, Puget Sound, presented the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award to Melissa Montgomery, program manager for Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Removal Program, at the Natural Resources Rotunda Building.

Montgomery earned the award for her work protecting the environment of Puget Sound.

Montgomery is credited with creating a system to identify and remove derelict and abandoned vessels. These vessels pose a safety risk to navigation and many contain pollutants that can harm the environment. Montgomery’s work resulted in being evaluated and harmful pollutants removed from 50 vessels . The vessels were scrapped and recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Montgomery’s leadership was pivotal in managing the removal of the vessel Cactus, an environmental and navigation danger, abandoned in the area for 11 years.

The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the second highest award given to private citizens, groups or organizations. The Meritorious Public Service Award is approved by a regional Admiral and is given for substantial contribution that measurably added to the Coast Guard’s enviormental missions.

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