Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: What is a Sanctuary Advisory Council?

ANSWER: National marine sanctuary advisory councils are community-based, volunteer advisory groups established to provide advice and recommendations to NOAA on issues including management, science, service, and stewardship. This sanctuary advisory council brings members of a diverse community together to provide advice to NOAA, to serve as a liaison with the nominating community, and to assist in guiding the site through the designation process.

QUESTION: How long do sanctuary advisory council members serve?

ANSWER: Applicants chosen as members or alternates should expect to serve three-year terms. Members are limited to three consecutive three-year terms on the council in the same seat, unless the Director has granted a waiver.

QUESTION: How are applicants for the sanctuary advisory council chosen?

ANSWER: Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; views regarding the protection and management of maritime heritage resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the site. NOAA seeks to create a SAC that is balanced in terms of points of view represented, geographic diversity, and advisory functions the council will perform. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries director makes the final selection for seats.

QUESTION: What happens to the SAC upon formal designation?

ANSWER: This charter remains in effect for a period of three years from the date of signature or until the area is either designated as a national marine sanctuary or a decision is made not to designate.

Six months prior to the expiration of the charter, ONMS, with input from council members, will evaluate the need for the council to determine whether to renew the charter. Revisions to the charter may be made once the sanctuary is established or as determined necessary by ONMS with input from the council. Revisions could include updating the makeup of the council, such as changing the type or allocation of seats.