National Marine Sanctuaries - Preservation, Education and Innovation
Our national marine sanctuaries have been recognized around the world as a model for marine conservation management, adaptive management and extensive community involvement.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is recognized as an integrated approach to resolving many of the critical problems of our time - sustainable economies, energy independence,
climate change and adaptation, barriers between cultures that prevent collective solutions, and
National marine sanctuaries represent a diverse tapestry of marine ecosystems around the
country. Each sanctuary is important in its own right, but as a system they make up the nation's
only integrated collection of marine protected areas.
Sanctuaries connect the American people with the ocean and the rest of NOAA. The 14 sites in
the National Marine Sanctuary System are visible in more than 600 communities - accounting
for 18 percent of urban communities in the U.S. - while the system's 25 field offices provide a
physical connection between many of those communities and NOAA's mission.
Sanctuaries are ideal places to develop an overall baseline of the health of our marine environment. They are sentinel sites for monitoring climate change, for conducting ocean-related science and research, and for understanding, preserving and honoring our heritage.
This report looks back on the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' accomplishments over the
past year. Each site has contributed to the achievements of the National Marine Sanctuary System, as have our many partners. Americans depend on a healthy ocean for food, recreation,
weather and livelihood. We also understand that communities, economies and the issues of our
time play an enormous role in how we manage our resources. National marine sanctuaries are
places where nature and communities live and act in concert.