Sanctuary Nomination Process

Sanctuary Nomination Process

The mission of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries is to serve as the trustee for the nation's system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural legacy.

Within this section you'll find information about our history, the steps taken in designating a marine protected area, and the legislation that helped to create our marine sanctuaries.

Sanctuary Designations & Expansions

Sanctuary Designated Boundary Expansion? (year) Notes
Monitor Feb 1975 No - Designation by NOAA to protect one of the most important Civil War ironclad shipwrecks from potential salvage.
Key Largo Jan 1976 No - Designation by NOAA to protect the portion of barrier reef beyond state waters of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
- The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary subsumed this marine sanctuary in 1990.
Channel Islands Oct 1980 Yes (2007) - Designation by NOAA to protect a confluence of warm and cold water currents with a great abundance and variety of marine life.
- Expansion by NOAA: Very minor increase in the area associated with the addition of marine reserves.
Gulf of the Farallones Jan 1981 No - Designation by NOAA to protect an extensive marine habitat and bird colonies.
Looe Key Jan 1981 No - Designation by NOAA to protect the unusual and highly important spur and groove reef system.
- The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary subsumed this marine sanctuary in 1990.
Gray's Reef Jan 1981 No - Designation by NOAA to protect a prime example of South Atlantic hard/live bottom coral habitat.
Fagatele Bay Apr 1986 Yes (2012) - Designation by NOAA to protect an example of a South Pacific, tropical, fringing coral reef ecosystem.
- Expansion by NOAA: Addition of five units, including the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, and renaming of the sanctuary as the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.
Cordell Bank May 1989 No - Designation by NOAA to protect an area of bank where upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water supports a flourishing ecosystem.
Florida Keys Nov 1990 Yes (2001) - Designated by Congress in response to a series of large vessel groundings in 1989, it protects the largest coral barrier reef ecosystem in the US.
- Expansion by NOAA: Addition of valuable coral reef habitat added to the west of the original boundary (Tortugas Bank and Sherwood Forest Tortugas Ecological Preserve).
Flower Garden Banks Jan 1992 Yes (1996) - Designation by NOAA to protect important coral reefs on the salt domes of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
- Expansion by Congress: Addition of Stetson Bank.
Monterey Bay Sep 1992 Yes (2009) - Designation by NOAA to protect a variety of habitats including shores, kelp forests, and an underwater canyon.
- Expansion by NOAA: Davidson Seamount was added as an example of offshore seamount with special geological and ecological value.
Stellwagen Bank Nov 1992 No - Designation by Congress to protect the primary summer feeding grounds of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, and other important marine features.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Nov 1992 No - Designation by Congress to protect calving and breeding grounds of the endangered North Pacific humpback whale.
Olympic Coast May 1994 No - Designation by NOAA as a representative marine and near-shore habitat of the Pacific Northwest, adjacent to the protected Olympic National Park.
Thunder Bay Jun 2000 No - Designation by NOAA to protect the collection of nationally significant historic shipwrecks in an area of Lake Huron known as Shipwreck Alley.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Jun 2006 No - Papahānaumokuākea was established by Presidential Proclamation 8031 on June 15, 2006 under the authority of the Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 431-433) to protect an exceptional array of natural and cultural resources.

Designation Timeline
Designation timeline, Febuary 5, 1975 Monitor, January 16, 1976, Key Largo, Ocober 2, 1980 Channel Islands, January 26, 1981 Gulf of the Farallones, Looe Key and Gray's Reef, April 29 1986 Fagatele Bay, May 24, 1989, Cordell Bank, December 5 1991, Flower Garden Banks, September 18, 1992 Monterey Bay, May 11 1994 Olympic Coast, June 22 2000 Thunder Bay
Click here or on the image for a larger version.


leaving site indicates a link leaves the site. Please view our Link Disclaimer for more information.
Revised September 26, 2014 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Privacy Policy | For Employees | User Survey
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/designations.html