Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
2009 Condition Report

Photo of an orange garibaldi with blue sea urchin

Summary and Findings

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an extremely productive marine area off the west coast of United States in northern California. With its southern-most boundary located 42 miles (68 km) north of San Francisco, the sanctuary is entirely offshore, with the eastern boundary six miles from shore and more...

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Condition Summary Table

The following table summarizes the "State of Sanctuary Resources" section of this report. The first two columns list 17 questions used to rate the condition and trends for qualities of water, habitat, living resources, and maritime archaeological resources. The "Rating" column consists of a color, indicating resource condition, and a symbol, indicating trend (see key for definitions). The "Basis for Judgment" column provides a short statement or list of criteria used to justify the rating. The "Description of Findings" column presents the statement that best characterizes resource status, and corresponds to the assigned color rating. The "Description of Findings" statements are customized for all possible ratings for each question.

 

Status:   Good     Good/Fair      Fair      Fair/Poor      Poor       Undet.  

Trends:

Conditions appear to be improving.
- Conditions do not appear to be changing.
Conditions appear to be declining.
? Undeterminted trend.
N/A Question not applicable.


  Questions/
Resources
Rating Basis For Judgement Description Findings Sanctuary Response
WATER
1. Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality and how are they changing?
?
Offshore location may limit impacts, but data are sparse. Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality. New sanctuary regulations prohibiting the discharging or depositing into the sanctuary any material from a cruise ship (other than engine or generator cooling water and anchor wash) and narrowing the wastewater discharge exemptions for food wastes and sewage (no raw sewage).

Monitoring conditions of sanctuary waters using moored oceanographic instruments, vessel-based surveys, and net sampling for detection of harmful algal blooms.
2. What is the eutrophic condition of sanctuary waters and how is it changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Absence of harmful algal blooms and low chlorophyll levels do not indicate eutrophication. Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality.
3. Do sanctuary waters pose risks to human health and how are they changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Offshore location and oceanic conditions may limit impacts; no known risks identified during monthly monitoring. Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect human health.
4. What are the levels of human activities that may influence water quality and how are they changing?
?
Minimal human activities, but uncertainty of levels of vessel discharges. Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on water quality.
HABITAT
5. What are the abundance and distribution of major habitat types and how are they changing?
?
Prior fishing gear impacts, some activities now prohibited; sparse data. Selected habitat loss or alteration may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality. New sanctuary regulations prohibiting the disturbance of the seabed within Cordell Bank sanctuary.

Trawling closures and seabed protection measures implemented by Pacific Fishery Management Council (in consultation with Cordell Bank sanctuary).

Monitoring the benthic habitats associated with Cordell Bank.

Outreach, education and monitoring programs increase awareness of the impacts of marine debris.
6. What is the condition of biologically structured habitats and how is it changing?
?
Prior fishing gear impacts, some activities now prohibited; sparse data. Selected habitat loss or alteration may inhibit the development of living resources and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality.
7. What are the contaminant concentrations in sanctuary habitats and how are they changing?
?
Sparse data available. N/A
8. What are the levels of human activities that may influence habitat quality and how are they changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Prior fishing impacts; some activities now prohibited. Selected activities have resulted in measurable habitat impacts, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
LIVING RESOURCES
9.What is the status of biodiversity and how is it changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Overharvest of some rockfish populations, but recent stock assessments suggest some overfished populations are increasing. Changes in abundance and distribution of many taxa linked to changing ocean conditions. Selected biodiversity loss has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some, but not all ecosystem components, and reduce ecosystem integrity. Rockfish conservation areas and seabed protection measures implemented by Pacific Fishery Management Council (in consultation with Cordell Bank sanctuary).

New sanctuary regulation prohibiting the introduction or release of non-indigenous species into the sanctuary.

Monitoring the ecological condition of pelagic community and habitats within the sanctuary.

Monitoring the ecological condition of benthic community and habitats within the sanctuary.

Monitoring programs record presence of non-indigenous species if they are observed.
10. What is the status of environmentally sustainable fishing and how is it changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Overfishing of some rockfish and prior fishing impacts; closures and gear restrictions appear to be effective. Extraction may inhibit full community development and function and may cause measurable but not severe degradation of ecosystem integrity.
11. What is the status of non-indigenous species and how is it changing?
?
No known non-indigenous species; but data are sparse. N/A
12. What is the status of key species and how is it changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Overharvest of some rockfish populations, but recent stock assessments suggest some overfished populations are increasing. Changes in abundance and distribution of many taxa linked to changing ocean conditions. The reduced abundance of selected keystone species may inhibit full community development and function, and may cause measurable, but not severe, degradation of ecosystem integrity; or selected key species are at reduced levels, but recovery is possible.
13. What is the condition or health of key species and how is it changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Changes in condition appear to be caused by natural events. The condition of key resources appears to reflect pristine or near-pristine conditions.
14. What are the levels of human activities that may influence living resource quality and how are they changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Influences on living resources include fishing and associated habitat disturbance, vessel traffic (discharge, noise, collision), and marine debris (derelict gear and plastics). Selected activities have resulted in measurable living resource impacts, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
15. What is the integrity of known maritime archaeological resources and how is it changing?
?
No documented underwater archaeological sites. N/A N/A
16. Do known maritime archaeological resources pose an environmental hazard and is this threat changing?
?
No documented underwater archaeological sites. N/A
17. What are the levels of human activities that may influence maritime archaeological resource quality and how are they changing?
?
No documented underwater archaeological sites. N/A