is System-Wide Monitoring?
The National Marine Sanctuary
System manages marine areas in both nearshore and open ocean waters
that range in size from less than one to almost 362,600 square
kilometers (140,000 square miles). Each area has its own concerns and
requirements for environmental monitoring, but ecosystem structure and
function in all these areas have similarities and are influenced by
common factors that interact in comparable ways. Furthermore, the human
influences that affect the structure and function of these sites have
many similarities. For these reasons, in 2001 the program began to
implement System-Wide Monitoring (SWiM). The monitoring framework
(National Marine Sanctuary Program 2004) facilitates the development of
effective, ecosystem-based monitoring programs that address management
information needs using a design process that can be applied in a
consistent way at multiple spatial scales and to multiple resource
types. It identifies four primary components common among marine
ecosystems: water, habitats, living resources and maritime
By assuming that a common
marine ecosystem framework can be applied to all places, the National
Marine Sanctuary System developed a series of questions that are posed
to every sanctuary and used as evaluation criteria to assess resource
conditions and trends. The questions, which are shown on pages vi and
vii and explained in Appendix A, are derived from both a generalized
ecosystem framework and from the National Marine Sanctuary
System’s mission. They are widely applicable across the
system of areas managed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
and provide a tool with which the program can measure its progress
toward maintaining and improving natural and archaeological resource
quality throughout the system.
Similar reports summarizing
resource status and trends will be prepared for each marine sanctuary
approximately every five years and updated as new information allows.
The information in this report is intended to help set the stage for
the management plan review process. The report also helps sanctuary
staff identify monitoring, characterization and research priorities to
address gaps, day-to-day information needs and new threats.
|Olympic Coast National
as a national marine sanctuary in 1994.
- The sanctuary extends 217 kilometers (135 miles)
along the Washington coast from about Cape Flattery to the Copalis
River. Ninety kilometers (56 miles) are shared with Olympic National
Park and include some of the last remaining wilderness coastline in the
lower 48 states.
- 29 species of marine mammals and over 100 species
of seabirds spend at least part of their lives in the sanctuary
- Three national wildlife refuges,
collectively called the Washington Island National Wildlife Refuges,
are located within the sanctuary. These refuges are part of the WA
Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex and protect over 600 named
and unnamed offshore rocks, seastacks and islands.
- The sanctuary has sustained human communities for at least 6,000 years.
sanctuary lies within the traditional fishing areas for four coastal
Indian tribes: the Makah, Quileute and Hoh Tribes and the Quinault
- Over 180 documented shipwrecks have historical association with the Olympic Coast.
seaward boundary of the sanctuary varies from about 40 to 72 kilometers
(25 to 45 miles) offshore. This covers the continental shelf as well as
parts of three major submarine canyons. Sanctuary waters include many
types of productive marine habitats, including nearshore kelp beds,
subtidal reefs, rocky and sandy intertidal zones, submarine canyons,
rocky deep-sea habitat, and plankton-rich upwelling zones, all of which
support the sanctuary’s rich biodiversity.