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Jan. 14, 2011

Sarah Marquis

NOAA Releases Draft Management Plan for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Today NOAA released a comprehensive draft management plan and environmental assessment for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary for public review and comment.

Based on several years of scientific assessment and public input, the plan includes recommendations for revised goals and objectives, 20 action plans, a plan for implementation based on different funding levels and recommended performance measures.

"The draft management plan is the result of a collaborative effort that involved input from the public, Sanctuary Advisory Council and Intergovernmental Policy Council," said Daniel J. Basta, director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "We welcome further public review and comment as we go forward with the important job of managing this special undersea place for future generations to enjoy."

The draft plan includes action plans to address six priority topics: fulfill treaty trust responsibility; achieve collaborative and coordinated management; conduct collaborative research, assessments and monitoring to support ecosystem-based management; improve ocean literacy; conserve natural resources; and understand the sanctuary's cultural, historical and socioeconomic significance. Some minor regulatory clarifications are also included in the revision.

"The new draft plan is a revision to the sanctuary's original management plan published in 1994," said George Galasso, acting sanctuary superintendent. "It identifies actions to be undertaken by sanctuary staff within the next five to 10 years to protect and conserve marine resources in the Olympic Coast."

Periodic management plan review is required by Congress for each of the 13 national marine sanctuaries to ensure that they continue to conserve, protect, and enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources while allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities.

In related action, NOAA proposes to revise regulations to prohibit wastewater discharge from cruise ships within Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and update other language to ensure clarity and consistency with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and other sanctuaries in the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Comments are being received on both the draft management plan and proposed regulatory changes. All comments must be received by March 25, 2011. Written comments should be sent by mail to: George Galasso, Acting Superintendent, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, 115 East Railroad Avenue, Suite 301, Port Angeles, WA 98362; or by fax to 360-457-8496.

Comments may also be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Under document type, select "Proposed Rule," under Keyword or ID, type in 0648-BA20.

Public meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • Port Angeles, Wash.: Feb. 23, 6-9 pm, Clallam County Commissioners' hearing room (room 160), Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth Street, Port Angeles
  • Forks, Wash.: Feb. 24, 6-9 pm, Washington Department of Natural Resources Community Room, 411 Tillicum Lane, Forks, WA.

The draft management plan/environmental assessment as well as the proposed rule that addresses regulatory changes may be downloaded from the sanctuary's website.

It is also available for review at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary's headquarters office in Port Angeles and at public libraries in Aberdeen, Amanda Park, Forks, Hoquiam, Montesano, Olympia-main library, Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend, Seattle-main library, Seiku and Westport.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1994, spans 3,310 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline. The sanctuary protects a productive upwelling zone - home to rich marine mammal and seabird faunas, diverse populations of kelp and intertidal algae and thriving invertebrate communities. The sanctuary is also rich in cultural resources, with over 150 documented historical shipwrecks and the vibrant contemporary cultures of Makah, Quinault, Hoh and Quileute Nations.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook.

On the Web:

Draft Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

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