NOAA announces updated process for nominating new national marine sanctuaries

Jun 11, 2014
Black sea bass in Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

For 40 years, America's national marine sanctuaries have worked to protect sites ranging from a Civil War shipwreck to coral reefs and tiny atolls. Today, NOAA announced that beginning this week the American public can now nominate nationally significant marine and Great Lakes areas as potential new national marine sanctuaries.

The announcement was made by John Podesta, counselor to President Obama, during Capitol Hill Ocean Week. The community-based nomination process responds to numerous requests for new sanctuaries from interested communities and stakeholders around the country.

For 40 years, America's national marine sanctuaries have worked to protect sites ranging from a Civil War shipwreck to and tiny atolls. Today, NOAA announced that beginning this week the American public can now nominate nationally significant marine and Great Lakes areas as potential new national marine sanctuaries.

The announcement was made by John Podesta, counselor to President Obama, during Capitol Hill Ocean Week. The community-based nomination process responds to numerous requests for new sanctuaries from interested communities and stakeholders around the country.

Today's announcement will not result in the automatic designation of any new national marine sanctuaries. However, the nomination process will result in an inventory of areas NOAA will consider for national marine sanctuary designation, taking into account input and support from various local, regional and national interests and organizations. Consideration also will be based on a proposed area's national significance and the feasibility of managing it.

Diver explores schooner F.T. Barney in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

NOAA may designate new sanctuaries and implement their associated regulations only after a nominated site has gone through a separate, highly public process that typically takes several years to complete. More specific details about the nomination process are available online.

Humpback whale tail is displayed as animal dives in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

In 1995, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries deactivated the previous process for nominating new sanctuaries. Since that time members of Congress, state officials, tribal governments, non-governmental organizations and others have expressed interest in pursuing new national marine sanctuaries, recognizing their ability to protect treasured places and enhance local economies. NOAA received tremendous amounts of feedback from the general public on this new proposal (nearly 18,000 comments – the majority of which favored the move).

Explore further: NOAA identifies probable location of iconic Civil War-era steamer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NOAA bans commercial harvesting of krill

Jul 13, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today published a final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, ...

Recommended for you

Music festivals go cleaner, greener

2 hours ago

Every summer, tens of thousands of people across Australia revel in live outdoor music, staying for a day or pitching their tents for a weekend. When the music dies, however, what's left may be less appealing ...

Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?

20 hours ago

A new study says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. Researchers say ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.