Sea to Shining Sea Newsletter - December 2022

National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa Condition Report

A vibrant coral reef
Vibrant coral reef ecosystems are an important part of the sanctuary. Photo: Alexa Elliott/South Florida Public Broadcasting Service

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is pleased to share the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa 2007-2020 Condition Report. The report uses a standardized method to summarize the condition and trends of the sanctuary’s resources, habitats, and ecosystem services, as well as pressures on those resources and management responses to the pressures.NOAA reports that the overall condition of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa is good, however climate change effects, such as coral bleaching and coastal erosion, are threatening habitats, resources, and ecosystem services of the sanctuary. Despite this, coral reef habitats are recovering and are in overall good condition, but the abundance of important fish species is below desired levels in some areas of the sanctuary units.

NOAA Seeks Applicants for Proposed Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

an octopus and corals on the seafloor
An octopus, sea star, bivalves, and dozens of cup coral all share the same overhang. Credit: NOAA/BOEM/USGS

NOAA is establishing a Sanctuary Advisory Council for the proposed Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary. The advisory council will bring members of the local community together to provide advice to NOAA and help guide the designation of the sanctuary. Council members also act as liaisons to their communities, building a strong connection between the proposed sanctuary and stakeholders. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2023.

Marine and Coastal Area-based Management Advisory Committee

cliffs and rolling hills along a coastline
The Bixby Bridge on Big Sur Highway looks over Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: NOAA

NOAA is seeking applicants for the newly established Marine and Coastal Area-based Management Advisory Committee. This committee will advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on science-based approaches to area-based protection, conservation, restoration, and management in coastal and marine areas, including the Great Lakes. NOAA is accepting nominations for 20 members from a broad range of sectors, including those who represent resource management agencies, commercial and recreational fishing, ocean industry, recreation and tourism, conservation organizations, tribal and indigenous communities, youth serving organizations, environmental justices organizations, and individuals with natural and social science expertise. To learn more and apply, visit the committee’s website here.

The Results Are In! 2022 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

sea turtles make their way from the beach into the ocean
Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) at sunset on Maui's west coast. Photo: Leighton Lum

An orange sunset on a beautiful beach on Maui is quite a view. But to be in the right place at the right time while watching that sunset, and have an opportunity to witness and photograph sea turtles heading out to sea? Now that’s a spectacular view not many have had the privilege to experience. Why not capture it and share it? Natural outdoor spaces provide opportunities for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily routines and connect with themselves, nature, loved ones, and their favorite hobbies—such as photography. The National Marine Sanctuary System turned 50 this year, making this Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest an extra special one. The results are in and out of the over 700 photos submitted this year, here are the winning photos from each category. You can view the full 2022 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest results here.

Strategic Plan and Long Term Vision for America’s Treasured Ocean Places

In this strategic plan we set forth the first five years of a 20-year vision to fundamentally change how national marine sanctuaries and other marine protected areas contribute to meeting the challenges ahead, preserve places our nation entrusted to us, and leave the generations that follow a model to emulate for marine conservation. This document does not—nor should it—catalog everything we do. It is meant to guide us in our decision processes and in prioritizing the actions we will take following our 50th anniversary in October 2022.

Five Year Strategy for the National Marine Sanctuary System 2022-2027
NOAA has released a new 5-year strategic plan for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

NOAA announces award to better understand multi-stressor impacts on marine ecosystems under climate change

a person wearing fishing waders holds an instrument to measure the carapace of a dungeness crab
Dungeness crab is a valuable fishery resource that is culturally and economically important to West Coast communities. Photo: NOAA

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Office, and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, are allocating $4.2M over the next four years to support research on understanding multi-stressor impacts on marine ecosystems under climate change. The goal of this multi-year project is to help resource managers and tribes prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change by increasing their understanding as to how multiple stressors (ocean acidification, hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and increasing ocean temperatures) are likely to interact and affect these ecosystems, and the communities dependent on them.

2022 Status of U.S. Marine and Great Lakes Ecosystems Released

a diver swims above a shipwreck
A diver enjoys the shipwrecks protected by Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

NOAA is pleased to share updates to the National Marine Ecosystem Status website, including the 2022 Status of U.S. Marine and Great Lakes Ecosystems, which shows changes across many key indicators including sea surface temperature, marine species distribution, coastal economies, and more. This is also the first time NOAA has adopted an agency-wide indicator to measure marine heatwaves. The website provides a starting point for people to explore the status of U.S. marine ecosystems, the Great Lakes, and the nation.