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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2006

CONTACT:
Sarah Marquis
National Marine Sanctuaries
(949) 222-2212

DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLANS FOR THREE CALIFORNIA NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES RELEASED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

NOAA is seeking public comment on the draft management plans and proposed regulations for the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries, as well as a joint draft environmental impact statement. The plans are the result of several years of study, planning, and extensive public input.

“The draft management plans for these three of California’s four national marine sanctuaries were developed with extensive community involvement and we welcome further public review and comment,” said William J. Douros, National Marine Sanctuary Program west coast regional director. “The new management plans chart a forward-looking course for protecting the rich marine ecosystems of the sanctuaries while continuing to allow for compatible, sustainable human uses.”

The draft plans, a major revision of the sanctuaries' original management plans, focus on key issues affecting the sanctuaries including ecosystem protection, wildlife disturbance, vessel traffic, water quality, introduced species and coastal development. They also address important sanctuary programs such as public awareness and education, conservation science, enforcement, and maritime heritage. The draft environmental impact statement analyzes the potential environmental and economic impacts from modified and new regulations in the three sanctuaries, as well as impacts from a range of regulatory alternatives. Proposed changes to regulations are intended to clarify and strengthen protections for marine habitats, sensitive species, water quality and submerged cultural and historic resources.

One substantive boundary change is proposed as part of the joint management plan review. NOAA is proposing to add a 585-square nautical mile area around the Davidson Seamount to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in order to protect the large assemblages of cold water corals and rare sponges.

Periodic management plan review is required by Congress for each of the 13 national marine sanctuaries to ensure that they continue to conserve, protect and enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources while allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities.

All comments must be received by January 5, 2007. Comments should be sent by mail to:
Brady Phillips
JMPR Management Plan Coordinator
NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program
1305 East-West Highway / N/ORM-6
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Comments also may be sent by email to jointplancomments@noaa.gov, or faxed to (301) 713-0404.

Public hearings, all scheduled for 6:30 p.m., will be held at the following dates:

  • Nov. 29, 2006: Cambria Pines Lodge, 2905 Burton Drive, Cambria
  • Nov. 29, 2006: Bodega Marine Laboratory, 2099 Westside Road, Bodega Bay
  • Nov. 30, 2006: Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza, Monterey
  • Nov. 30, 2006: Dance Palace Community Center, 503 B Street, Point Reyes Station
  • Dec. 5, 2006: University of California Santa Cruz Inn and Conference Center, 611 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz
  • Dec. 5, 2006: Fort Mason Center Firehouse (NE corner of center), San Francisco
  • Dec. 6, 2006: Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street, Half Moon Bay

Copies of the draft management plan, proposed regulations and draft environmental impact statement on CD are available at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary office at 299 Foam Street in Monterey (phone 831-647-4201), the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary office at 991 Marine Drive at the Presidio in San Francisco  (phone 415-561-6622), or from the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary office at 1 Bear Valley Road in Pt. Reyes Station (phone 415-663-0314). The draft plan, proposed regulations, and draft environmental impact statement also can be downloaded from the Web site www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/jointplan/, or requested by e-mail from jmpr.info@noaa.gov.

The three sanctuaries, part of the National Marine Sanctuary system, are located adjacent to one another along the shores of northern and central California and share many of the same resources and issues. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 526 square miles of open ocean off Point Reyes, north of San Francisco. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, at 1,255 square miles, is located west of the San Francisco Bay area. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of the central coast and encompasses 5,328 square miles of coastal and ocean waters.

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, managed by NOAA's National Ocean Service, seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems,  NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

On the Internet: NOAA: www.noaa.gov
Joint Management Plan:  sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/jointplan/
National Marine Sanctuary Program: sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary: cordellbank.noaa.gov
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: farallones.noaa.gov
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: montereybay.noaa.gov.



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