Regulatory Review: Proposed Boundary Coordinate Points, Converted to Decimal Degrees

NOAA is proposing to make a technical correction to make all sanctuaries uniform in their representation. Currently, three sanctuaries list the geographic coordinates in degrees, minutes, and seconds (e.g., "35°00'23" N latitude and 75°24'32" W longitude"), five sanctuaries list the geographic coordinates in degrees and decimal minutes (e.g., "35°14.50" N latitude and "75°32.45" W" longitude), and another five sanctuaries list the geographic coordinates as decimal degrees (e.g., "31.362732; -80.921200").

NOAA proposes to convert the geographic coordinates to decimal degrees as calculated using the North American Datum of 1983. The conversion would also include updates to geographic coordinates for special zones of sanctuaries. NOAA believes standardizing the horizontal datum for all sites would lessen confusion arising from the current use of different datum among the various sites, reduce the risk of human error resulting from self-calculations performed by visitors to or those traversing the sanctuary, and it would make the geographic coordinates easier for navigators to write, plot, and read. NOAA also believes that standardizing all the sites to have consistent and uniform representation of boundary and zone coordinates will lessen any confusion that may currently exist between the sites, particularly where sites are geographically adjacent to each other. The shape, size, and location of the actual boundaries would not change.

American Samoa

Channel Islands

Cordell Bank

Florida Keys

Flower Garden Banks

Gray's Reef

Gulf of the Farallones

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale


Monterey Bay

Olympic Coast

Stellwagen Bank

Thunder Bay

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