Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
2008 Condition Report

Photo of sea otter at Olympic Coast

Concluding Remarks

This condition report is the first attempt to describe the relationship between human pressures and the status and trends of natural resources within Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. By doing so, this report helps to identify the pressures and their impacts on marine ecosystems that may warrant monitoring and remediation in the years to come. Overall, the resources protected by the sanctuary appear to be in relatively good to fair condition. Of the 17 resources or questions identified, three appear to be in good condition, six appear to be in good/fair condition, and eight appear to be in fair condition. None of the resources identified was listed in either fair/poor or poor condition.

The Olympic Coast sanctuary has a history of collaborative scientific research among federal, tribal and state agencies, as well as academic and non-government organizations, with studies designed to develop an improved understanding of the ecosystem to inform management and protect the sanctuary's natural resources. In recent years, research conducted in the sanctuary has become focused less on simple characterization and more on oceanographic processes, biogeographic distribution, and sources and fates of individual organisms and their contributions to the ecosystem as a whole. It is important to understand the factors that help to structure the resources of the sanctuary, and how uses of its resources may affect their health, viability and longevity. The information presented in this report enables managers to look back and consider past changes in the status of the resources, and provides guidance for continued resource management as future challenges are presented. This is especially important since the sanctuary will soon begin the process of reviewing its management plan, which will enable us to better understand, protect and utilize the nation's marine environment.